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Indie Game  Amnesia  Sells 36K In First Month As Dev Ponders Piracy Concerns
Indie Game Amnesia Sells 36K In First Month As Dev Ponders Piracy Concerns
October 26, 2010 | By Kris Graft

October 26, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Swedish indie game developer Frictional Games this month said it was pleased with first-month sales of the unique Windows, Mac and Linux horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, selling enough units to continue with development of its next game.

Studio co-founder Thomas Grip wrote in an October 8 blog post that sales of the game were "Better than expected on all accounts! As of today we have sold a total of 36, 000 units (including preorders, but excluding boxed sales in Russia). [Emphasis in original] " He said the studio has recouped all expenses for developing the game.

Grip said that the sales exceed the studio's goal of 24,000 units, the threshold for whether or not the studio would create another game. Frictional, which also develops the first-person horror adventure series Penumbra, sells Amnesia via digital distribution for $20 a copy.

The co-founder said that 42 percent of first-month sales – or about 15,000 units – came from preorders. Grip said that a 20 percent preorder discount likely helped boost pre-release sales. "We also believe that people are more inclined to buy a preorder. With perks such as Steam pre-loading, people seem to think it is worth putting up money before release," he added.

The game released to strong reviews on September 8 this year, earning a Metascore of 86 on review aggregator Metacritic. The game's atmospheric sound and light vs. dark game mechanics led some reviewers to deem Amnesia the most frightening game in recent memory. Grip looked for possible correlations between review scores and sales trends, saying that it "turns out there is pretty much none."

At the time of Grip's blog post, the game was selling 350 units daily, although that number had reached as high as 600. As sales trend downward, the co-founder hopes that the game will settle at around 70 copies sold per day, an amount that would cover the five-person studio's meager monthly salary costs.

The next game will take an estimated two years to complete, Grip said, "So right now, we have to stick to having low salaries and see how sales pan out."

Even though Frictional is happy with the sales, Grip said that "compared to the response we have gotten, [sales] still feel kind of low." He said that half of the web search results for Amnesia lead to piracy sites.

Grip attributed the piracy rates of the game to the fact that it's a single-player experience with little replay value -- pirates have no reason to return after they've pirated and finished the game, he said. Also, the game has no copyright protection, and it isn't constantly updated through a server connection like indie sensation Minecraft.

But Grip acknowledges that piracy is just a reality of the space, and Frictional doesn't want to create games that conform to piracy workarounds, although the studio is looking at non-PC platforms. "What we want to continue doing is to create single player games that try to evolve the way in which video games tell stories and evoke emotions," Grip said.

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Samuel Batista
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I wish you guys the best of luck, I haven't had the chance to finish the Amnesia game because my home Laptop can't handle it. I really hope you guys manage to strike a deal with Microsoft to bring the series to Xbox LIVE, it would definitely boost your sales, and I would be able to enjoy this terrifying adventure from the comfort of my couch.

Lance Burkett
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I have a saying, "Fuck Microsoft".

Tomiko Gun
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Go F yourself

Tomi Hanzek
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This game is terrifying, certainly one of the scariest game I've ever played. Good job everyone over at Frictional Games.

Kris Graft
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I concur, this game is scary as hell.

David Kaminsky
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I played the Demo but was frightened off. It was too terrifying for me to handle.

Martin Danger
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As the others have said, hurry up and bring this game to XBLA! I think that you could do a fantastic job with the controller.

This game was terrifying - it was the first game that I've had to take a break from to get my heart rate back down.

Mark Harris
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I might have to buy it just for the hell of it. I'm not big into horror games but I would love to help these guys keep going since it seems like they've done a wonderful job.

gus one
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You got to feel sorry for these guys. They are getting royally f%%ked by pirates and yet they keep a positive brave face. All the pro pirates on this forum (and there are many of you as you like to remind us) should hang their heads in shame.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Tomiko Gun
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Downer quote of the day:

"Grip attributed the piracy rates of the game to the fact that it's a single-player experience with little replay value -- pirates have no reason to return after they've pirated and finished the game, he said. "

Gaymers put more emphasis on the number of hours they can flush to a game instead of a solid gaming experience. "How many hours of gameplay? Can I have no life when I play your games pretty please?" F**k the parasites that infest this medium.

James Hannon
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I gotta say, Amnesia was probably the first game I've ever had to stop playing because I was too scared. Loved the Penumbra games, loved this. Go Frictional! As for the article on your site, I'm sorry that you estimate lost sales due to piracy, but I find your attitude towards this quite refreshing and well thought-out. There are many other companies who would simply condemn piracy outright, but you recognize it as a symptom from the same technology allowing you to distribute. Your analysis of game design and why piracy might actually hurt the sales of a first person experience with no updates or add-on content is spot on. Yet you seem commited to continuing to make your style of games and that shows true character. I wish you all the best of luck.

Mark Harris
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Not that it was expensive in the first place, but GamersGate has it for 50% off this week. So, if anyone thought $20 was too much, find yourself a $10 bill and pick up the game.