DayZ’s origin story has been a long and incredibly public one since the early days of the survival-themed ARMA 2 mod’s popularity. The fan-created slow, intense horror mod for the shooter ended up outshining the game it was built upon and took on a life of its own. After a series of seemingly countless delays, supporters of DayZ are finally one step closer to seeing a finished product.
Well over a year after a stand-alone version of the mod was green lit, fans are finally able to get their hands on a early prototype of DayZ. Despite the incredibly unpolished nature of the Early Access version, consumers are more than willing to take advantage of the reduced price and alpha experience. And 800,000 of them already have.
Steam customers have been able to purchase the Early Access version of DayZ since mid-December. Although the game boasted a $30 price tag (which is fairly expensive for an alpha experience), DayZ still stood its ground and brought in nearly 800,00 sales. Considering all the incredibly cheap, complete, and functional games available at steep discounts thanks the holiday sale, it’s pretty amazing that the DayZ alpha stayed at the top of the Steam sales charts.
DayZ creator Dean Hall used Reddit to address the overwhelming first few weeks of sales…
‘We (bohemia and I) had very ambitious plans for 2014 already, however this amount of sales was completely unexpected. Honestly, 250k within a quarter was what I would have considered a success. So to move nearly 800,000 in under a month is crazy.
“We’ll be finalizing our roadmap in mid January, but it is safe to say that this kind of result will be having a very positive effect on that roadmap.’
When the Early Access alpha was first announced, Hall warned potential participants that going into the experience with high hopes was a ‘recipe for disaster.’ Anyone who has spent some time playing the Early Access version 0.3 of DayZ knows he wasn’t joking around.
The game is filled with incredibly disruptive bugs and glitches, and while some aesthetic problems are easy enough to report and overlook, many times the gameplay is completely hindered. There’s no denying that consumers were warned and this is what we should expect out of an alpha experience, but 800,000 units is a serious amount of product to move solely on the promise that a complete game will eventually be delivered.
It seems impossible to overlook the last year of repeated delays from Hall and Bohemia. Hopefully, the high number of participants in the alpha help speed things along, but there is still no official time frame for when customers can expect the finished product. Skeptical parties can hope that in addition to the extra 800,000 sets of eyes capable of spotting and reporting bugs, all that Early Access income should help fuel development.
In many ways Minecraft pioneered the business strategy of selling an unfinished video game, but thanks to Kickstarter and Steam’s Early Access program the controversial strategy is growing more and more popular. Nobody is twisting the arms of consumers to shell out cash on unfinished games and the cash continues to roll in (take a look at Star Citizen’s latest totals), so apparently the business model is viable.
As the year moves forward and we see how much progress is made on DayZ, and other unfinished games that were crowd-funded in 2013, we should have a better indicator of whether or not the trend will continue.
Are you comfortable committing $30 to a game without knowing what the finished product will look like? Sound off in the comments.
The DayZ Early Access alpha is currently available for PCs.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.