Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning has claimed that Oddworld: Soulstorm‘s inclusion on PlayStation Plus at launch was “devastating” for the game’s sales. Despite releasing to a mostly positive reception from fans and critics, the sales for Soulstorm were impacted by the decision to launch it for free on Sony’s PS Plus subscription service.
Speaking on the Xbox Expansion Pass podcast recently (transcribed by VGC), Lanning stated that his studio Oddworld Inhabitants expected between 50,000 and 100,000 copies to be downloaded when Oddworld: Soulstorm launched as a free title on PS Plus. Instead, it was downloaded over 4 million times. Lanning states that this potentially hurt profits for the developer.
“It’s kind of a double-edged sword… I’ll give you an example around Soulstorm. We were hitting a number of legacy technical debt issues and talent issues and you know, the game industry is emerging fast, huge companies are paying fortunes.
The most we could sell is less than the money we’re getting… We might sell 50,000 units at launch, maybe 100,000 units. It was pretty small numbers because there wasn’t going to be a lot of PS5s.”
Lanning goes on to state that despite losing out on sales, the decision to move the release date to April surprised the studio when they saw how popular Soulstorm was at launch on PS Plus:
“Because it slipped to April, we had the highest downloaded game on PS5 and it was, I think, approaching… close to four million units or something like that for free because they were all subscriptions. So for us, it was devastating.”
Oddworld: Soulstorm released last April on PS4, PS5 and PC, with an “Enhanced Edition” launching in November 2021 for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The game also released as a free download via Sony’s PS Plus service during its launch.
Other developers have claimed that PlayStation Plus deals actually benefitted them. Mediatonic’s Fall Guys, for example, launched as a free title on PS Plus during its release to massive popularity, apparently being downloaded over 7 million times. It also encouraged other players to purchase the game on Steam.
Source: Video Games Chronicle