Sins of a Solar Empire cost less than a million dollars to make, and recently passed its 400,000th unit sold full-price at retail -- and has racked up over 100,000 units sold via digital distribution, it's been revealed to Gamasutra.
"People were so surprised at how well Sins of a Solar Empire did," explains Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, who published the sci-fi real-time strategy title on PC -- although Ironclad Games is the developer, Stardock (Galactic Civilizations series) had a high level of involvement with the game's process and design.
Long-time 'core' PC game supporter Wardell has been discussing with Gamasutra his passionate opinion on the PC gaming industry, its problems and some possible solutions in a series of recent news stories.
Wardell says that system reqs and compatibility issues mean the PC gaming biz has "damaged itself... That definitely hurts the PC, because it's frustrating."
Part of Sins' success, Wardell says, is that it was designed to ensure a wide potential audience. "Sins of a Solar Empire was explicitly designed to work on a wide variety of machines," he says. "It will run on a four-year-old video card, and it looks great."
For example, he says, ship turrets don't move in the game, although many people might prefer they be mobile. "Sure, we could have done that, but that requires higher-end hardware, and most people don't even realize it doesn't have that," he says.
"You make those kinds of design decisions, and you greatly increase the number of people who can play your game. You lose out on some piddly super-mega effect, but you get those units. The results come in sales."