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Stardock to skip retail launches following SoaSE: Rebellion's success

The digital-only launch of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion has been so successful that independent developer Stardock is considering getting out of the retail game all together.

Stardock revealed in a blog post that Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion has shifted over 100,000 units since launching in June, to become the company's fastest-selling title to date.

More pertinently, the space sim's release exclusively on digital distributors instead of at retail did not seem to harm sales at all; in fact, sales on Steam alone out-performed all physical retail sales of first game Sins of a Solar Empire.

The interesting numbers don't stop there; Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said that the Steam sales figures came on top of projected digital performance. Releasing via Valve's platform didn't eat into Stardock's more traditional channels of digital distribution - directly from the developer, or through GameStop's sales platform, which Stardock itself created as Impulse.

Stardock is so pleased with Rebellion's performance that it's decided to skip over retail launches for its next two games - The Political Machine 2012 and Elemental: Fallen Enchantress - and re-evaluate for future titles thereafter.

One of the upshots of eschewing retail is that Stardock can publish on its own schedule, and at short notice. That means it doesn't have to set a release date months an advance and meet it regardless of whether a game is ready. Stardock - bless it - has a bit of a reputation for letting games escape before they're quite finished, so hopefully the added flexibility will be a boon in that regard.

Thanks, Gamasutra.

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