According to a recent operations report from the development studio People Can Fly, the online loot shooter Outriders didn’t make any profit by the end of 2021.
As originally reported by TweakTown, the report stated that the publisher Square Enix did not pay the studio any royalties as a result of insufficient sales. Despite the dismal financial situation, PCF intends to continue development on post-launch DLC, as originally agreed upon with the publisher.
From the document: “The Group received no royalties from the publisher for the period to December 31st 2021, which means that as at the reporting date net proceeds from the sale of Outriders were insufficient to recover the costs and expenses incurred by the publisher to develop, distribute and promote the title.” It also stated that there would be no ‘assurance’ that the game’s sales would be enough to generate royalties in the future, either.
The day-one deal with Game Pass wasn’t enough to put the game’s profits in the black. The studio’s CEO said in August 2021: “Despite this disappointing news, we believe that the first royalties from Outriders sales will come ... this year.” His statement turned out to be an overly optimistic prediction, despite Square Enix’s announcement that Outriders was “on track to become the company’s next major franchise.” Kotaku reached out to Square Enix and People Can Fly, but was not able to get a response by the time of writing.
Outriders seemed to have a promising future at first. The demo became the top downloaded game on Steam because players wanted to pre-farm the game for rare loot. However, Outriders’ official launch on April 1 was significantly more troubled. It had debilitating online connectivity issues, and items disappeared from player inventories. The first patch didn’t actually fix either of these problems, and nerfed the ‘best’ class in the game. One of the major patches released in May would kill players instantly. In the end, the loot shooter wasn’t able to make a comeback.
Square Enix recently sold off many of its western studios and their associated IPs, but it still holds the Outriders IP as per the original development agreement. The publisher still intends to publish the DLC Outriders Worldslayer sometime in 2022.