How Games Make Money: Out of the Park on sports sims and subscriptions

Out of the Park Developments makes some of the most beloved sports games in the world. But Out of the Park Baseball and Franchise Hockey Manager have little to do with actively swinging bats or sticks. Instead, you control stats and spreadsheets in an effort to make high-level decisions for your club. It might sound weird and boring to you, but the games have a dedicated and adoring following. On this week’s episode of How Games Make Money, OOTP Developments chief operating officer Rich Grisham joins host Jeff Grubb to talk about how business models are changing for the company’s games

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Grisham notes that Out of the Park’s games make money from three primary sources: unit sales, microtransactions, and subscriptions. But that’s new for the developer. Previously, it relied almost exclusively on unit sales.

Subscriptions are especially new. The company worked with publisher Electronic Arts to add Out of the Park Baseball to the EA Origin Access membership program. If you subscribe to that program, you get a library of games including OOTP. Grisham says the deal came about because of the company’s good relationships and because EA subscribers are the kinds of players who may enjoy want a sports-management sim.

“All of this is experimental for everybody,” said Grisham. “Subscription services, whether it’s by the platform holders or by the publishers, are sort of new and evolving.”

Grisham couldn’t talk specifics about numbers, but he said that he thinks subscriptions are a successful pillar for Out of the Park.

“Yeah, I think that it’s successful,” said Grisham. “We had a great year…. But you wish that when you’re doing the math you could point to by us being on this subscription service we raised our awareness by X which generated Y amount of new unit sales. But there’s no throughput for that. So to say it’s an experiment … it’s sort of accurate. But I don’t think subscription services are going anywhere anytime soon.”

You can hear more about Out of the Park Baseball, working with EA Origin Access, and more in my full conversation with Grisham. Just press play on the audio or YouTube players at the top of this story.

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