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1m DayZ alpha builds sold is proof indie is “big and serious business”

Tuesday, 14th January 2014 08:42 GMT By Matt Martin

Indie success is no longer an anomaly, according to Dean Hall. Big sales are “shots fired” at traditional games publishing.

As the alpha build of Bohemia Interactive’s DayZ flies past the one million sales mark, creator Dean Hall has told Polygon that huge numbers from early access to indie games can no longer be labelled an anomaly.

While he admitted that early access to content will throw up its own set of problems, the sales success is evidence that gamers want new and exciting experiences and are prepared to accept unfinished projects.

“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,” he said. “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.”

“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.”

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4 Comments

  1. UuBuU

    More importantly DayZ has proven that games don’t need to be dumbed down and rife with handholding to appeal to large audience.

    There’s no way on earth one of the big publishers would have backed a game like DayZ that has such a big open world without fast travel, or a game that has pitch black nights, or a game where the player spawns without a weapon and on the brink of starvation/dehydration; because heaven forbid the players should be frustrated in any way while playing a survival game. The masses don’t want realism and simulation according to publishers, they want cinematics and hordes of slow moving harmless zombies to slaughter. They don’t want to have to walk for more than a minute without something happening or have to use their brain to find a location when they can just teleport everywhere. And they certainly don’t want to have to look for medical supplies to stay alive when they can just let their health regenerate automatically.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. xXNapsterManXx

    DayZ SA is hardly indie it’s made and published by Bohemia Interactive Studios the people how make ArmA, Is ArmA indie now?
    ?

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Jerykk

    @2 Bohemia Interactive is not owned by any publisher. They self-publish their own games too. So technically, yes, they are indie.

    That aside, I think you’re missing the point here. The point is that a low-budget game with no marketing can easily outsell a big-budget AAA game with a $50+ million marketing budget. When publishers are failing to profit even after selling a million units, you know there’s something wrong with their business model.

    There are a lot of things publishers could learn from the success of games like Minecraft, DayZ and Starbound. Firstly, game development does not need to be a secret. Communicating with your audience and opening up the development process has proven to be a successful way to generate word of mouth. Secondly, games don’t all need to be bloated, big-budget affairs. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, choose a target audience and cater to them. Come up with reasonable sales expectations based on that demographic and then base your budget on that. Trying to be the next CoD will end in failure 99% of the time. Finally, diversity is key. You can still make $50 million games. Just don’t put all your eggs into one basket.

    Oh, also, PC exclusives can still be very successful. Not every game needs to be on consoles too, especially when it hurts the overall product.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. Harrow

    @1 +1

    #4 8 months ago

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