Most of the biggest success stories from new or up-and-coming developers these days are, understandably, primarily digital.
The low barriers to entry, the ability to self-publish and open marketplaces of PC and mobile have opened up a world of new opportunities for developers – but OlliOlli developer Roll7 says there’s still something to be said for getting your game on shelves.
The team has today revealed that both OlliOlli and its sequel will be released in stores this summer – something the team never expected to announce.
“It’s not something we had initially considered to be honest,” director Simon Bennett told Develop, “but when you consider that its still a bigger market than digital, it's quite the no-brainer.
“I guess its about prolonging the lifetime sales cycle of our series and also bringing the games to a new audience that might be more retail focused than PSN.”
OlliOlli 2 and OlliOlli: Epic Combo Edition, which features both games, will be published by indie label Badland Games UK, complete with bonus content such as making of documentaries. Bennett reveals that it was actually the publisher that approached them.
“After this, we did some more research into other publishers in the space, then went back to them,” he says. “It’s quite a new play for them – OlliOlli: Epic Combo Edition is their flagship boxed title, so we are hoping that it does well for both of us.”
When you consider that retail is still a bigger market than digital, it's quite the no-brainer.
Bennett describes Roll7’s past approach to publishes as “somewhat promiscuous to say the least”. The trio worked with a series of companies to help bring the OlliOlli games to market and maximise revenues, but on reflection the team realises it would have been far more sensible – and profitable – to work with just one partner.
“Our approach moving forwards is looking at the best partner for the long term success and commercialisation of the game, not for the short term,” Bennett says. “Someone that can do and platforms and physical if need be.”
And the Roll7 director is quick to encourage more developers to look at considering boxed releases for their games. Unlike his studio, however, he urges devs to think about this from as early as pre-production if possible.
“It makes sense to go day one on physical as well in order to make the biggest splash,” he says. “If your title can get to a £14.99 price point at retail, then its definitely worth seeing if you can find someone to work with. There are quite a few teams in the UK that can help if the game is right.
“Also, it’s a case of how well your game has done on digital – the OlliOlli series is approaching three millions units, so its an easier decision for a publisher if you have traction and a ‘name’.”