Knockout City looks fun. But it also looks like a game that should be free to play.
It reminds me a lot of Rocket Arena, another EA-published game. Rocket Arena was a 3v3 arena combat game that released at a discounted price of $30, as opposed to the traditional $60 that a new game costs. The discount was probably warranted given the scope of the game, but many also thought it should be free-to-play.
And it probably would’ve been a lot more successful if it had been. With no barriers to entry, as we’ve seen with games like Rocket League (which launched for free on PS Plus), you can build up a larger player base at launch. This is critical for ensuring players stick around because nothing is more of a turn-off than launching a new game and having to wait around in a lobby because there aren’t enough players.
This brings me back to Knockout City, a team-based dodgebrawl title from Velan Studios. It’s basically another arena combat game, although with a dodgebrawl twist. This is the type of game I probably wouldn’t spend money on but would be interested in checking out if it were free or included in one of the current subscription passes.
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That’s why a release on EA Play and Xbox Game Pass is the smart decision. WHen Knockout City releases on May 21, it will be free for all EA Play members. Through EA Play, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC members will also be able to play for free (with their subscription). So right off the bat, you’ve got a massive potential audience. With streams and positive word of mouth, this audience could actually convince those who aren’t EA Play subscribers to purchase the game.
This brings me to the price. Knockout City is only priced at $19.99, which is actually surprisingly fair. EA has been pretty smart in acknowledging the scope of some of their games, including Star Wars Squadrons which despite the big name only cost $40 at launch.
These days, publishers aren’t always honest with themselves when it comes to pricing a new game. EA seems to know exactly what Knockout City is and has priced it accordingly. That’s not a knock on the game, just honest reflection.