Outriders developer in the dark over sales and suspects title hasn’t broken even yet

Outriders developer People Can Fly has taken the unusual move of posting a public statement to its website concerning the sales and profits of its title, published by Square Enix. 

The message, spotted by IGN, notes primarily that the developer has received no royalty payment from Square Enix, despite it being 45 days from the end of the calendar quarter of the title’s release. To that end the post concludes that the title did not break even after its first quarter of sales, and there must still be costs to cover.

And People Can Fly can only make guesses, as Square Enix hasn’t shared any sales figures with the developer to date, the post claims.  

“We don’t have any sales figures for Outriders – we estimate it at between 2 and 3 million units and assumed that this was a result that would ensure profitability for this project in the first quarter of sales. The lack of payment by the Publisher probably means that, according to Square Enix, this is not the case. ” Commented Sebastian Wojciechowski, president of the management board of PCF Group (all quotes translated by Google).

Wojciechowski continues: “Perhaps it was caused by some elements of Square Enix’s sales policy, the details of which we do not know, such as partnerships concluded by the publisher with distribution platforms or entities offering Outriders as an addition to their products…” Which looks to be referring to the games inclusion in Xbox Game Pass. With the service being namechecked later in the post in reference to the title’s 3.5m unique users in its first month.  

Wojciechowski continued: “Failure to achieve the level of profitability may also mean that the costs incurred by the Publisher are higher than expected. But I don’t want to speculate; we will analyze the situation further. It is worth noting, however, that such explanations take time and our influence on the Publisher’s position is limited. His role is leading here.”

With such high initial engagement figures being touted by Square Enix it looked that all was well with the game, although it obviously wasn’t a cheap production, and if many of those players came via Game Pass, and its deal with Xbox wasn’t a great one, then it’s wholly possible that the game hasn’t yet turned a profit, marketing costs and all. 

At launch it certainly didn’t set the world alight in retail sales, launching at number six in teh UK charts, with little in the way of competition bar the perennial crowd of FIFA and Nintendo titles for company, according to GI.biz

Of course this may not be a reflection on the games sales, but instead another problem with the payment, a simple error possibly. Although even that would not reflect well on Square Enix. And of course the game’s lifespan is far from over. 

“The sales tail of the Outriders game is ahead of us. We mentioned in the brochure that we are working on further development support for this game, and I hope to be able to share some details soon. We are also counting on further promotional activities on the part of the Publisher. Despite this disappointing information, we believe that the first royalties from the sale of Outriders will be received by the Company this year. 

“We will try to maintain the most detailed and open communication with investors on this matter, because I know that this is what they expect from us. At the same time, please remember that our information policy is closely related to the business model based on cooperation with a global Publisher. ” Said Wojciechowski.

The experience certainly hasn’t left the developer keen to enter another publishing agreement. With preliminary work having begun on titles with the intention to self-publish them. Although how those titles are being funded is not discussed. 

“Working with the Publisher has many advantages, but also its disadvantages – one of them is the low impact of PCF on sales activities and the incompleteness or – as in this case – the lack of data obtained from the Publisher in this regard. This is one of the reasons why, apart from working with Publishers, we have decided to develop projects whose IP will remain the property of the Company and which will be published by the Company. From the point of view of calculating the profitability of game production in the production segment at the request of the Publishers, we always take into account only the current revenues obtained from milestones delivered to Publishers,” finished Wojciechowski.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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