Hey guess what everybody: You know that super evil thing that big publishers complain about but never release any grounded statistical data on and we're just supposed to assume that super evil thing really is super evil? Well, in plain terms, that super evil thing also known as piracy, is not as much of a sales impediment as some companies would lead you to believe. Frictional Games, the makers of Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent have been profiting greatly from their games, more-so now than when they originally released. The best part about it? They're profiting enough where piracy has become a non-factor.
I love indie success stories. I know that a lot of game companies fail and a lot of indies never get off the ground. No one ever said the gaming industry was a business where you could hop-skip and jump to success. However, in the case of Frictional Games they managed to overcome nearly going bankruptcy and have garnered steady sales thanks to word-of-mouth talk of their 2010 release Amnesia, which is now selling a steady 10,000 units per month.
According to the Official Frictional Games Blog...
That a game can still be going this good two years after is truly remarkable. This success is due to many factors, some of which are the uniqueness of the game (horror games without combat do not really exist on PC), the large modding community (more on this later) and the steady flood of YouTube clips (which is in turn is fueled by the modding community output).
Actually I should have used that last line for the headline: sensationalist but true.
The also go on to talk about how the game only cost them $360,000 to produce. They've made back that money and posted profits so that they no longer need investors or third-party financing. It's good news that this small team managed to make a game without a publisher, gain some notoriety and make enough to work on their next game, A Machine For Pigs.
I like how Frictional praises the community for helping keep Amnesia on the sales charts. The light modding capabilities and “Let's Play” sessions have really worked wonders for the game, and it just further proves that modding has always played a much bigger role in a game's success than many publishers would give the community and their own developers credit for.
Frictional's main focus now is on a new super-secret project that will incorporate a lot of what made Amnesia popular but will also explore much deeper themes. One thing that excites me is that the technology they're working on will play a big factor in how players will interact with the game. I'm curious to see how this will work.
You can read the entire post over on their Official Website.