SOMA has almost made its money back; two new games coming


Frictional has posted a detailed breakdown of SOMA’s post-release performance, revealing among other things that while not performing as the studio had hoped, the game is on its way to breaking even.

The post, which you can read in full here, states that SOMA’s current sales sit around the 250,000 mark — some 20-30 thousand away from Frictional’s break-even point. After that, the game’s officially in profit.

While those numbers aren’t mindblowing, as Frictional readily admits, they do show there’s potential for the studio to build on what it’s already accomplished with SOMA — and other ambitious projects aren’t off the table as a result:

“SOMA was a really ambitious project which took 5 years to develop, used a load of external help and had a big chunk of money spent on a live action series and so forth, making it a very costly affair. Yet SOMA is well on the way to becoming profitable after just 6 months, despite not being a runaway success. This makes us a lot less worried about making another game of similar scope.”

The post also discusses SOMA’s relative failure when it comes to growing a modding scene, with robust tools and an openness to modifications being met with just a few bits of player-made content, as well as the general perception of what the game is and how it has impacted on sales of Amnesia since release (clue: negatively).

For what it’s worth, Andy really enjoyed SOMA back when he reviewed it, calling the game ‘atmospheric, cerebral, and occasionally frustrating’.

Frictional goes on to say in the piece that in future it will aim to differentiate its releases more from one another, in order to avoid a situation like this where its audience has been almost forced to go for one horror game (with sci-fi) or the other (sans sci-fi). Oh, and it’s working on two more games right now:

“Related to the above is our new internal development strategy. For the first time in company history we're now developing two games at the same time. This will require non-trivial changes in how we manage the team, but in the end we're very sure it'll be worth it all. By having two projects going at the same time, we can release games at much higher frequency. In turn, this let us be more experimental as we don't have to rely as much on each new game being a big money generator. We're still in the early phases of this transition, but it's shaping up really well so far.”

The entire piece offers a sober, straightforward discussion of elements in and around SOMA’s release and subsequent (relative) successes and failures. It’s really nice to see Frictional being so up-front about these things, as well as just being damn interesting — plus, of course, it might actually encourage more people to make mods for the game...