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For  DayZ , selling a game before it's done pays off
For DayZ, selling a game before it's done pays off
January 6, 2014 | By Kris Graft

January 6, 2014 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

The popularity of online zombie apocalypse game DayZ continues to rise, as the standalone version (it's also a mod for Arma II) has racked up sales of nearly 800,000 units, according to Dean Hall, the game's project lead at Bohemia Interactive.

"We (Bohemia and I) had very ambitious plans for 2014 already, however this amount of sales was completely unexpected," said Hall in a Reddit thread. "Honestly, 250,000 within a quarter was what I would have considered a success. So to move nearly 800,000 in under a month is crazy."

That's a significant haul for a game that is still in alpha as a paid Steam Early Access game. The alpha of the game sells for $30, meaning the game has grossed around $24 million.

We figured the game's sales trajectory would be steep -- on day one of its release last month, the game made sales of over 140,000 units in 24 hours.

The success of DayZ standalone is an example of a new way in which people buy games, and how developers sell them. While it's certainly not the first game to be sold while in alpha (Minecraft is the most notable example of a game that did this), it shows an growing trend that will be pushed in part by Steam's wide reach and its Early Access program.

Hall originally released DayZ as a very successful mod for Bohemia Interactive's military shooter Arma II. With the mod's success, he's now working at Bohemia as project lead on the standalone version.

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Ron Dippold
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Well it's nice to see the whole War Z scam/grab hasn't hurt them.

John McMahon
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It's great to see a guy get employed for the work he did as a modder. I know it does happen, but it's alwasy great to hear that in this economy.

SD Marlow
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Well it's an established brand, and a bit of a darling as far as coverage, so I'm not THAT shocked by high sales numbers. My concern is how something this popular, and this unfinished, will burn-thru the whole alpha-pre-sales-not-a-finished-game-yet-but-we're-OK-with-it thing. Just as we are talking about the onset of Kickstarter fatigue, there may be a time a year or so from now that we are talking about "the alpha bubble."

Kyle Redd
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We'll see what happens when some of the early access games become abandoned by the developers before being finished, and the resulting outcry. There are definitely several candidates already that will likely suffer that fate.

I do think Valve should be a little more selective on which games are allowed to be released in alpha, or at least have some sort of refund offer for games that never reach gold status.

Dan Jones
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I don't know that any non-discounted game has ever retained the #1 spot on the Top Sellers list quite as solidly through a Steam Holiday sale as DayZ did. Despite being surrounded by tons of games with deep discounts and greater promotional coverage, DayZ only slipped from #1 a handful of times.

Also, it's worth noting that it is still in that #1 spot right now, so I expect the sales numbers will continue looking good for some time.

Jesse Tucker
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The Day Z mod also stayed in the top 5 for sales on Steam for much longer than many other games that were released at the same time.

Maria Jayne
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@ Jesse - Probably Arma II, I don't believe they ever sold the Day Z mod.

Jesse Tucker
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@Maria - You're right, now that you mention it, it was Arma II. Still, due to the popularity of the mod, Arma II's sales jumped back up long after release and stayed in the Steam top 5 sales for quite a long time.