Try to wrap your head around this: A mod that's still in alpha testing, has zero promotion, no marketing and is attached to a niche military sub-genre shooter from indie company Bohemia Interactive, has managed to rack up 500,000 unique players on word of mouth alone. Insane. Simply insane.

Just to add a little bit of perspective, DayZ has managed to move as many copies as Prototype 2 on the Xbox 360, according to VGChartz. And remember, Activision has been promoting Prototype 2 for the past year.

VG 24/7 picked up a tweet from the official DayZ development team Twitter account, where they gloat over the milestone achievement that very few other big publishers even achieve despite dumping millions into focus group testing and advertising, saying...
Congratulations everyone, with your support through tough times, mistakes, troubles, and technical problems, we now have over 500k users!

The official DayZ website shows that there are 510,861 unique players who have given the mod a test run (as of the publishing of this article). It wasn't but a few days ago that the game was only at 430,000 unique users. So the game isn't just picking up steam it's turned into a full blown locomotive.

The popularity of the mod comes in the form of its brutal realism. It's an unforgiving game where player decisions will affect the persistent world in a real way. Players are neither rewarded nor penalized for their actions, they simply survive. The experience is ridden with unprecedented tension and the fact that you only get one life and you could lose absolutely everything makes it both frightening and fun.

For those of you who played the mod but find it lacking in polish, substance or cohesiveness, don't worry. Lead designer on the mod and contract worker for Bohemia Interactive, Dean "Rocket" Hall, has recently expressed that the game is scheduled to get a major overhaul by September with a potential standalone release.

The idea is to keep the game evolving like MineCraft and eventually add in features such as towns and structures that players can build and defend from the zombie onslaught.

You can pick up a digital copy of DayZ right now by purchasing Arma II: Combined Operations. For more information on the mod be sure to pay a visit to the Official DayZ Website.

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