DayZ by Bohemia interactive has sold a million in 4 weeks of its early access release. Creator Dean Hall in an email to Polygon said that DayZ selling a million it’s a bit of a “shots fired moment” against the traditional publishing model, favouring a non-traditional system.
“…. we’re just blown away with the success of it. We obviously knew that there was strong interest in the concept, but we we’re sure whether that interest was just ‘hype’ or whether it would actually translate into real sales. I remember when we finally pushed the button, I had this moment of panic when I wondered if many people would really buy it.”
DayZ started as a mod for Arma 2 which came out in 2012. Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel showed in December that the first standalone alpha of DayZ sold over 172,500 copies within 24 hours of release, totalling 5.17 million in sales. Hall pointed out that DayZ and Rust held the top two positions on Steam as of writing.
“Previously with the mod I think traditional publishers could write DayZ off as a kind of anomaly. It was possible to think that this would not fully translate to the retail game in terms of real sales. This has got to be a ‘shots fired’ moment for those in the traditional publishing model, and their investors.”
“The concept of Kickstarter and early access games is not without problems, though, and I think we’ve yet to see the full extent of that. But what this says to me is that gamers crave real creativity in their games along with engagement in the process, and that the ‘indie’ way is not just restricted to small projects in fringe games. It’s big and serious business now.”
DayZ is a huge success story for something that is still for all intents and purposes, a mod. The crowd funded success stories are becoming the norm, especially in the indie scene. I think of games like FTL and Risk of Rain when I think of early access and crowd funded gems. Is there any other industry where you can buy a work in progress version of a product? It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but DayZ shows that it can truly work.