Outriders Dev Hasn’t Received Royalties, Speculates “Partnerships” Like Game Pass the Cause

Nathan Birch

It really seemed like Outriders had got off to a good start. The looter-shooter garnered solid reviews and over 3.5 million players in its first month, but apparently, it wasn’t enough for publisher Square Enix to actually pay developer People Can Fly, who haven’t received any royalties from the game’s first-quarter sales. People Can Fly will only receive royalties once Square Enix’s costs related to Outriders have been covered, despite PCF estimating the game has already sold 2 to 3 million units.

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.

So, why hasn’t Outriders turned a profit? Well, People Can Fly speculate the cause may be partnerships with “distribution platforms or entities offering Outriders as an addition to their products.” PCF don’t come right out and say it, but it sure sounds like they’re talking about Xbox Game Pass (Outriders was one of the first big third-party Day One Game Pass releases).

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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. 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.

The nitty gritty of how publishers are paid for putting their games on Xbox Game Pass is one of the big secrets of the industry. There have been hints it’s based on engagement and time played, but the specifics are unknown. Regardless, it seems like the Day One Game Pass release gambit didn’t pay off for Outriders (it certainly didn’t for People Can Fly).

Following its solid debut, the playerbase for Outriders has fallen off, but People Can Fly remain committed to the game, so hopefully they have some royalties coming in the future…

The sales tail of the Outriders game is ahead of us. 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.

Outriders is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and Stadia.

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