As platform owners step up the importance of subscription services, Oddworld Inhabitants bigwig Lorne Lanning has outlined the PSPlus treat as “devastating”. The industry veteran, whose company released Oddworld: Soulstorm on Sony’s sub on the PS5, was speaking candidly as part of a xbox podcastsand while he clarified that PlayStation was not to blame, he is clearly dissatisfied with the way things turned out for his team’s game.
In the meandering interview, explains that the developer needed financial support to finish his remake of Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus, so he signed a deal with Sony to release the game on PS Plus on day one. He doesn’t reveal the financial details of the deal, but reading between the lines it appears the team was paid a flat fee, ultimately giving him a monetary security blanket to wrap up production.
However, when he signed the deal, he was confident that the PS5 was still relatively new when it hit its planned January 2021 release window; It turns out that a global pandemic drastically affected global workflows, and the game was pushed back to April 2021. This gave Sony an extra three months to sell PS5 consoles, which meant that in the end there were more consoles, and therefore , PS More subscribers: In the market than the inhabitants of Oddworld had anticipated.
The result is that a whopping four million people downloaded the game as part of Sony’s subscription, but full-price sales were significantly lower than anticipated. As such, the developer was devastated, because while it did receive a satisfactory lump sum payment from PlayStation, it appears that the PS Plus period directly impacted launch sales. Of course, it is worth remembering that the Japanese giant also heavily marketed this title, perhaps more than some of its own releases.
The original interview is a bit all over the place, and we think Lanning has a bit of a hard time getting his point across. Four million downloads sounds like a good thing, but it’s worth remembering that critical reception for Oddworld: Soulstorm was weak, and there probably wasn’t much positive word of mouth after the giveaway. Furthermore, it would be naive to assume that four million people would have paid full price for the game, even if they had downloaded it with PS Plus.
But it is interesting to hear someone speak somewhat negatively about subscription services. While Sony has been more mum on this front, Microsoft’s PR has only painted Game Pass as a positive for developers, promising that it pretty much guarantees higher sales and engagement. This rosy outlook is predictable given how important the business model is to Xbox, and it would obviously be unfair to compare PS Plus directly to what the Green Team is doing, but here’s a developer who is perhaps a little more skeptical about subscriptions, with first-hand experience of it all.