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How we were able to offer a free EARTHLOCK upgrade to all customers

by Bendik Stang on 05/22/18 10:05:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


In the previous post I talked about how we improved Earthlock so ratings increased from mid 60s to 80. This is a post about how we finally were able to ensure that all our customers who bought the initial version could get the new extended game for free.

So for the digital version on Steam, Playstation 4 and XboxOne it was done by manual work on the console owners side. A warm thank you to the staff at Microsoft and Sony who helped out with this — all who own the original version can now download the new version for free.

But for those who own the physical disk on Playstation 4 and Xbox One, it is another matter. There is, as far as I understand, no way for Sony nor Microsoft to allow the disk function as a key for another game.

We thought about how to get around this for a long time. Patching the original game would have caused all saved games to be broken as the difference between the original version and the new extended release is too big.

We finally concluded that we should offer the opportunity for anyone to send us their disc and give a digital key by email in return.

The problem here is that the digital keys cost money. Sony and Microsoft charge their cut of the sales price for such keys. At the same time, we as a developer only get a tiny part of the revenue from a physical sale. So if we were to pay for such keys we would end up paying more for each digital key than we earned on each physical copy we sold.

Even though we really like to do right by our customers, this is simply something we can’t afford.

We have approached Sony and Microsoft and asked if they would be willing to give us keys for this specific purpose free of charge. We are super happy to report that both Sony North America and Microsoft have made an exception for us and helped us out with free keys.

Unfortunately, at Playstation Europe they were not willing to make the exception, but at least we will be able to offer either a Steam key or an XboxOne key as a replacement.

So here is what you need to do to swap the physical disk of Earthlock: Festival of Magic (PS4/XBO) with a digital download code:

  1. Write your email address on a piece of paper.
  2. Write on the paper if you want a digital key for PS4(North America), XboxOne or Steam.
  3. Put the paper with your email in an envelope.
  4. Put the Earthlock disk in the envelope.
  5. Send it to our office, remember postage. (See address below).
  6. Be patient and eventually you will receive an email with a game key.


This will give us a lot of manual work and we will have to destroy all the lovely disks, but at least we treat all our customers the same.

Lastly we can only offer this swap for a year. So if you want to use this offer, please do so before May 22nd 2019.

Bendik Stang
Snowcastle Games

Company address:

Snowcastle Games
Dronningensgate 16
0152 Oslo

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