There was a time when AAA studios would announce that a game sold a million copies and everyone got excited “Wow, X game sold a million copies. So cool.” Now these days we all recognize that a million copies for an AAA game that isn't contained within the first day (or first week) of sales is considered a failure. Indie games don't quite have to live up to such grandiloquent expectations.
Games like Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs managed several million but not fast enough and not within a short enough time span. Over a longer tail-end both games are now considered a “success” by Square Enix, but you wouldn't have figured that during their initial release windows.
On the opposite side of the spectrum we have indie games... games with $0 budgets, lots of ambition, a hint of innovation and lots of “fun” resting at the core of their design intentions. These games don't have the budget overhead of AAA titles and by proxy they don't have the same kind of sales expectations attached to them. Funnily enough, it's always surprising when indie titles hit a million copies because you don't see it coming, like DayZ or Starbound... or in this recent case, the 2012 indie title Thomas Was Alone.
Dual Shockers picked up a few tweets from the designer of the game, Mike Bithell, who tweeted the following...
Even if you don't count what the game sold at its normal price, the young Englishman still carried away a fine bit of coin in his coffer whether the game was priced at $1 or $10.
Also, what's more, the game wasn't being counted as part of free digital giveaways through the PlayStation Plus monthly promotion. So however many millions of copies gamers grabbed during the PS Plus free game event when Thomas Was Alone was up for the taking, doesn't apply to the million copies Bithell is talking about in his tweets, saying...
Thomas Was Alone is a minimalist puzzle game with an amazing soundtrack. I never would have pegged it to be the kind of title that would hit the one million mark, but lo and behold, it has managed to do it and do it with flying colors and without any obsequious market tactics of a controversial manner.
You can still grab Thomas Was Alone from the PlayStation store or Steam. In fact, it's discounted on Steam right now for only $4.99.