Mediatonic and Devolver Digital have an unequivocal mega hit on their hands.
Earlier this month, Medaitonic and Devolver Digital’s Fall Guys took the internet by storm. Upon its launch, the party/battle royale game commanded impressive viewership on Twitch, and a giveaway on Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service helped get it into the hands of an enormous audience. This week, we got an idea of just how big that audience is as the official PlayStation Twitter account announced that Fall Guys has become the most-downloaded PS Plus game of all time. Additionally, Fall Guys has sold more than 7 million copies on Steam as of yesterday.
"We are both happy and astonished at the rate of success, and look forward to continuing to support the game with as many yellow team-based games in the future," Robbie Paterson, marketing manager at Fall Guys publisher Devolver Digital, told GameDaily.
For Jeff Tanton, creative director at developer Mediatonic, success on this level is something developers can only dream of.
“We are so happy to see fans continuing to love the game,” Tanton told GameDaily. “You dream of success like this, and even when you know--or think you know--that you have a good game, it’s always out of your hands the minute you hit the ‘publish’ button. So that it worked out and is going really well, we have plans for supporting the game and are constantly being inspired by fan feedback, so look forward to more to come!”
The exact cause of Fall Guys’ historic launch can only be speculated upon, but the free PS Plus giveaway is almost certainly one of the primary catalysts. This is a strategy that Psyonix employed in 2015 with the launch of Rocket League to enormous success. The stellar performance of the game has earned Psyonix a place under the Epic Games umbrella, and has allowed it to transition Rocket League to a free-to-play business model.
“Rocket League owes much of its success to being a free PlayStation Plus title at launch in July 2015,” SuperData principle analyst Carter Rogers told GameDaily last month. “Without that initial boost, the game would not have become the long-term success that it has been, so the shift to a true free-to-play model is a return to form in some ways.”
"When you launch a mass multiplayer game, one of the things is you just don't know how many people are going to show up. And you can't start a game because you need at least 60 people," Tanton told CNN. "It seems ridiculous now when you look at the numbers we've got."
Also contributing to the Fall Guys zeitgeist is the game’s impressive social media presence. The official Twitter account surpassed 1 million followers just a couple weeks after launch, and has been an active part of drumming up enthusiasm and engagement. The creative posting strategy has resulted in a number of memes and unexpected revelations, ensuring that Fall Guys is constantly lurking on the periphery of social media discourse.
It’s not just fun and games, though: Medatonic and Devolver have leveraged the popularity of Fall Guys and its social media presence to do some good. Since the game has been getting mainstream attention, many brands have been looking to grab onto its coattails for some significant ad exposure. The developer and publisher have turned this attention into a contest of sorts, with prospective brands offering donations to U.K. charity SpecialEffect in exchange for an in-game costume.
The launch of Fall Guys has certainly been an impressive thing to watch. This level of success is incredibly rare, especially for a new IP in an untested genre. But perhaps this is one of the reasons the game has taken off like it has. In an industry dominated by shooters, a party game like Fall Guys is a breath of fresh air. Especially in a year like 2020. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the game manages to retain this level of popularity.
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