Frictional Games, the studio behind last year's well-received horror title SOMA, reveals that the game is finally profitable after selling nearly half a million units.
Every year, there are many underappreciated games that slip by the radar for many gamers. Unfortunately, that was the fate of SOMA, the 2015 horror game from the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We included it on our list of Best 2015 Games You Didn't Play because its sales were slow, and the game was struggling to turn a profit for developer Frictional Games. Now, a year its release, it is finally profitable, with almost half a million copies sold worldwide.
Frictional Games confirmed as much on its blog page, and also explained why it took so long for SOMA to be profitable. For one, the game experienced a five year development cycle, making it the most expensive title for the studio to date. Combining the costs of the developers' salaries, paying the voice actors, and outsourcing the animation, Frictional estimates that SOMA took 10 times the budget to create than Amnesia did.
Speaking of Amnesia, some would have expected that award-winning game to give a boost to SOMA's sales, but that wasn't necessarily the case. Frictional theorizes that since SOMA was more of a psychological horror game than it was an intense jump-scare fest like Amnesia, that the game didn't appeal to quite as many gamers.
Something else to consider regarding SOMA's slow journey to profitability is the current horror gaming landscape. When Amnesia launched, it was during a time when horror games were few and far between. SOMA, meanwhile, released in a year that had a number of excellent horror games, which meant that fans of the genre simply had more options than they did when Amnesia hit the digital marketplace.
It will be interesting to see if Frictional's experience with SOMA and its struggle to be profitable influences the company's future projects. We know that Frictional has two new games in development, and it's probable that both have horror themes of some sort, considering the company's previous efforts. Perhaps Frictional's next games will be closer to the jump-scare experience that Amnesia delivered, as opposed to the slower horror style seen in SOMA, in an attempt to make them profitable at a quicker rate.
In the meantime, there are ways Frictional can attempt to increase SOMA's profits even more. Whether that's done through a special sale on the game that coincides with Halloween or by bringing it to other platforms like Xbox One remains to be seen, but the company has a numerous options it can pursue to help make SOMA as successful as Amnesia.
SOMA is available now for PC and PlayStation 4.
Source: Frictional Games