In a refreshing turn of honesty, Ooblets developer Glumberland talks about the financial incentive behind Epic Games Store exclusivity.
When Xbox announced its acquisition of Double Fine during E3, Ooblets wasn’t included in the deal. The indie game about fun, friendship, and farming weird creatures left the Double Fine stable and struck out on its own.
And when Tim Schafer spoke about the Xbox acquisition, he was honest and frank about the decision-making process. Microsoft offered them lots of money to do it, and in turn, that allows them to develop the games they want without financial stress and pressure.
Birds of a feather flock together, so it’s no surprise to see that Glumberland, the developer behind Ooblets, being as frank and open about its decision to make Ooblets an Epic Games Store exclusive. (On PC, at least. Ooblets will still be available on Xbox One as originally planned.)
“We asked Epic if we could talk frankly about the situation and they were like, ‘whatever’,” begins the post on the Ooblets website, before acknowledging some of the controversy around, and touching on some of the key benefits of, Epic Games Store exclusivity.
“We got some cash money upfront from the deal so we can make the game we always wanted to with fewer compromises,” the post continues.
“Because Epic doesn’t yet have the same market share as their competitors, they offered us a minimum guarantee on sales that would match what we’d be wanting to earn if we were just selling Ooblets across all the stores. That takes a huge burden of uncertainty off of us because now we know that no matter what, the game won’t fail and we won’t be forced to move back in with our parents.”
That’s a particularly interesting tidbit of information because, to date, we’ve known precious few details of how Epic exclusivity works mechanically. We always assumed that sizeable sums of money were involved. They’d have to be for developers and publishers to agree to exclusivity and risk the blowback from angry punters. But a ratchet mechanism based on predicted sales without exclusivity, like a book publisher’s advance, makes sense.
The important thing, though, is that it allows the Ooblets team to make the game they want to, with the pressure valve released.
“Now we can just focus on making the game without worrying about keeping the lights on,” continues the post. “The upfront money they’re providing means we’ll be able to afford more help and resources to start ramping up production and doing some cooler things.”
And really, in a world where games are difficult and expensive to make and so many indie studios struggle and close, that’s all that matters.
That also includes a mocap rig, which, thus far, they’ve used to record some bad flossing. We can’t promise they’re spending their Epic exclusive money wisely based on this early evidence.