Contrast Developer Talks About What Happens When A Game Is Given Away For Free On PS+

Contrast was one of the PS4 launch titles that you might remember for its unique visual style or wonderful music. Or you might remember it for being the thing that ruined your PS4 launch day memories because it just wasn’t very good. We didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about it other than, “meh, at least it was free.” One of our main problems was how the whole game was marred by various technical issues including numerous annoying glitches. Compulsion Games, the studio behind Contrast, took to reddit the other day to perform an AMA and promised a patch for the game would be coming out soon that should resolve all of these issues. They also stuck around to answer various questions, with surprisingly only about half of them asking for a platinum trophy to be patched in.

One of the more interesting questions concerned the Instant Games collection that comes as a bonus for PS+ members. While I am always too happy to just jump on the latest offering because free games just happen to be my favorite kind of games, I never really put much thought into what occurs on the developer’s end of the deal. I just assumed Sony waved their magic money wand and everyone lived happily ever after, but after some quick fact checking I found out that magic money wands aren’t a real thing, and I was a fool to buy one from that guy on Craigslist. Contrast happens to be one of the games being offered through PlayStation Plus as a “we’re so sorry Driveclub was delayed” consolation prize. What exactly does it mean for a developer’s game to be offered for free through Sony’s premium service? Well, according to the developer:

“Honestly, I’m not 100% sure what I can or can’t say, so I’d like to err on the side of caution.

Basically, every deal is different. However, they’re all based around Sony saying “Well, we think this game is cool and we want to give it away for free. What would it take for you to agree to that?” Maybe some devs get lump sums, maybe others have royalty shares (this is a little uncertain, commercially, though), maybe others do it just for the publicity. It really is pretty varied.

What I will say is that Sony are not dicks about it. The deal is pretty fair, but it isn’t a gold mine. We’ll still need people to buy our game once the PS+ promotion ends, if we’re going to be able to make the next project without selling our souls 🙂 We hope you guys will recommend it to others, if you like it.”

I really hope their aren’t too many developers out there that are just giving their games away for the publicity because that would make me feel a bad for them (not bad enough to stop padding my Instant Game Collection every chance I get, though). And I’d also have to question their business model. It is encouraging that Sony aren’t acting like dicks about the situation, although I don’t know what that would even entail. Maybe sending out a text message just saying “lol we’re giving your game away don’t be mad bro”? It is interesting to get some insight from an actual developer, because while I know gamers love the deal (myself included) it is similarly important that developers reap some sort of reward as well. The suggestion they have is a good one: if you like the game you received for free from PlayStation Plus, tell your friends to help the developers out!

…just not Contrast though. Seriously, that game is bad. Or at least wait until the patch.