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PlayStation Plus Was the Best Option for Mercenary Kings, Says Developer

Posted by Kell Andersen

No regrets

As you're no doubt aware, this month's PlayStation Plus freebie on the PlayStation 4 was Tribute Games' indie shmup Mercenary Kings. Originally released on the PC last year, the title joins a growing number of games being given away via the premium subscription service at the same time that they launch. It goes without saying that Sony provides reparation for providing a release in the Instant Game Collection, but the question of whether or not this is a good business move for small indie studios still remains.

Luckily, the Montreal-based developer behind this month's giveaway is satisfied with the outcome. "While it may keep some from buying your game day one," studio co-founder Jean-Francois Major said in an interview with Gamasutra, "in the end, it doesn't really kill sales – it allows you to reach a bigger audience that might not be willing to try your game at the premium price."

However, Major is quick to point out that his team is unlikely to pursue this strategy with its next title. "I'm happy we traded a bit of risk for a PlayStation Plus deal," he continued. "Maybe we could've done better on our own, but the PlayStation Plus deal was a safe bet. We'll gamble a bit more on the next project!"

What do you make of these intriguing comments? Do you think that releasing a game on PlayStation Plus is a smart way of securing a profit, or does a regular release make more sense? Pretend to be Pachter in the comments section below.


Game Screenshots

User Comments (13)



sackninja said:

Just started this after 100% infamous. It's pretty fun so far. I'm awful at it though.



Epic said:

I heard that the PS4 version is a glitch fest so yeah, their name would totaly be on the ground if someone payed for this game and didn't get their money worth of content.



ztpayne7 said:

Pretend to be pachter? Blah blah aaa game with no customization blah blah ps4 will not reach 8.5 million sales by the end of the year blah blah Nintendo should come out with a new phone and Microsoft should become a baking company.



Demi_God said:

I think it was a smart move. For Tribute Games to make a game for free on the Playstation plus, it will get their name out there. They are a retro indie developer so their name gets out there with a move like this. Their next game may just get that decent bump in sales because of that. You know, the guys behind mercenary kings making another retro game, I'd buy it if it sticks to the retro style or if it's just flat out cool to begin with.



ToOGoodOfAPlaya said:

As far as ps plus goes it may give them a boost in the long run.

But as far as the game goes, trash.
My friend came over to try it out and just stopped playing, said hes happy he didnt waste his time downloading it.

I hope they do well, but I for one will not be contributing to their sales like I have before, with Scott Pilgrim, previous trash.



General_Spiller said:

I would wager that PS Plus is definitely a safer bet if you are not too sure about how you think your game will do.

I have no idea how PS Plus works, but I would imagine it is along the lines of "we'll pay you Xmillion (£/$) if you put this on PS Plus for X amount of months". The developer then has to gamble on security vs potential runaway success. Tough, tough decision.

Kell, would be interesting to get your thoughts on this, any insider knowledge of how PS Plus works?



k_andersen said:

@General_Spiller Alas, they don't give me any insider info From what I can gather, though, you're pretty much spot on. Obviously no developer would be able to actually tell us how much this payment amounts to, but we can assume that it'd be a fair amount. I think in this case they probably made the right decision, only because Mercenary Kings is so expensive, and I doubt it would have sold hugely well, at least initially.



odd69 said:

Well developers add the option to "buy" the damn game when we have a psplus subscription and you'd have more sales. Atleast that's what i'd do, But yea dont release a dowloadable game at 20$ not to many people were going to buy it anyway at that price.

scott pilgrim was awesome, trash is soooo not the term id use



jgrangervikings1 said:

Mercenary Kings is not a crap game. It's very good and surprisingly deep with many upgade and customization options. It's a lot of fun, especially when friends come over and you're looking for an inclusive couch co-op experience.

It's a good thing for the dev that the title is free through PS+ because it gets the game into gamers' hands at a time when those gamers are salivating for new content for their new system. It also positions the developer for a successful sequel opportunity: Lots of people have now been introduced to the Mercenary Kings IP, so they'll be more apt to check out the next game...and pay for it, too.

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