People Can Fly’s Outriders released in April 2021 and was a rather interesting looter shooter due to not being live service. It seemed to be successful all the same with Square Enix proclaiming over 3.5 million players and the potential for it to be the company’s “next major franchise.” However, People Can Fly has yet to receive royalties for sales on the game from the publisher.
Revealed on its investor website, the developer was supposed to receive royalties from the first quarter that Outriders was on sale by August 16th. Since there’s been no transfer of funds, it believes that this could mean “according to the Publisher, the revenues from the sale of the game are lower than the total costs of its production (including Quality Assurance), distribution and promotion.”
Executive Sebastian Wojciechowski further noted (translation by IGN) that the company didn’t have any firm data on sales figures. “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.” The lack of profits could be due certain partnership deals like the Xbox Game Pass release (which had paid off, as per the publisher) or because Square Enix spent more than expected to launch the title.
For now, Wojciechowski confirms that Outriders is still being supported and that royalties should arrive later in the year. Square Enix should also have more promotional work since “the sales tail” of the game “is ahead of us.” Though People Can Fly has other titles in the works for Square Enix and Take Two Interactive, it has a third title that’s currently being planned.
Due to the Outriders situation, the company may self-publish it instead. “Working with the Publisher has many advantages, but also its disadvantages. One of them is the low impact of [People Can Fly] 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,” said Wojciechowski.
Square Enix has yet to officially comment on the situation so we’ll have to wait for more details. Outriders is currently available for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Google Stadia.