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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Way Out Outsells Expectations

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We discuss the Friend Pass, and why EA is even funding this game.

I remember two things about Hazelight Studios, but they are the most important two things:

  1. Their founder, Josef Fares, is a coarse jackass, judging from his appearance at The Game Awards 2017.
  2. They were making and have now released their two-player mandatory co-op game, A Way Out.

A Way Out was actually very memorable from the Electronic Arts E3 2017 press conference. I cited it as the “most cool, innovative concept from EA's conference”. Usually I don't remember random games from E3 conferences I don't care about, but I remember A Way Out. Well, it released at the end of March, and has since sold over ONE MILLION COPIES.

I take issue with Mr. Fares's math, claiming that two million people have played A Way Out.

A Way Out has a fairly innovative concept on how it handles multiplayer: As I mentioned, co-op is mandatory. Rather than requiring that both you and a friend buy the game, only one person has to buy it, and your friend can have a “Friend Pass” allowing them to join in your session. They'll first be prompted to download a “free trial” but you can play the whole game together. (It's apparently around 17 GB in file size, so have fun waiting for your friend to download the thing.)

You can actually use the Friend Pass with as many people as you want, so it isn't a one game purchase equals two people playing it relationship. It could be one person purchases it and ten people have played the game off that one purchase. Alternatively, one person could buy it and zero people might play it, since lots people buy games only to never touch them. I doubt the number is two million people! They should know based on how many people downloaded the free trial, though!

So why is Electronic Arts going along with this EA Originals stuff, especially since all game profits go to the independent studio, in this case Hazelight? (Not all revenues, though, so EA gets to recoup their costs.)

A WAY OUT EA Originals Hazelight pre-order now prison chainlink fence EA Account friend pass
Take a look at the fine print in this trailer for the Friend Pass.
(Obviously, you can't pre-order A Way Out since it's already...out.)
“Footage rendered in engine. Representative of game experience. Trial available from launch. Requires A Way Out on applicable platform, (sold separately), persistent Internet connection, EA account, friends on same platform and (for console players), an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus Account.” 
Besides the bizarre usage of commas in that, note the EA Account part. That's what Electronic Arts really wants you to do. A Way Out is the enticing way to get a bunch of new people to get EA Accounts that wouldn't otherwise have it. Once you get that, you're in their ecosystem, hooked to EA Origin, and then you'll be paying for EA Access even if you don't really want the thing. All thanks to that one friend.

That friend is EA's way in.

And that makes A Way Out profitable for EA in the end. The game broke even for EA, and then they get all the upside potential.

Is A Way Out fun, at least? Have you played it with anyone, or maybe many someones? As always, feel free to make a comment about it, and then that'll be YOUR way in... into the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program, which will never cost you a cent. Quite the opposite, actually. A reminder that Round 19 ends in less than two weeks, so if you want to win a $10 eShop gift card code (which cost KoopaTV a thousand cents, and you absolutely nothing), you better be participating on KoopaTV per the information at that hyperlink!


  1. People hate on EA but still begrudgingly supports them anyway. The Star Wars Battlefront game still sold despite people hating on it.

    It is so hard to say no sometimes.

    1. It's Star Wars. It sells. Even if it shouldn't.

      Alternatively, people had to already buy the game to find out they hate it, and one of the bad things about these digital download platforms is that many don't allow for refunds or returns.

      I mean, EA Origin has a return policy, but it's a total anti-consumer joke.

      A Way Out seems to be good on its own merits, but it still happens to be published by EA, who is using that game to push people (with opt-out e-mails, instead of the best marketing practice of opt-in) to its ecosystem.


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