The racing game aficionados at Bugbear Entertainment, of FlatOut
fame, made over $1 million in revenue from a week of selling access to their unfinished Next Car Game
across both Steam's Early Access channel and Bugbear's own pre-order website.
the news today and cited the financial success of Next Car Game
as evidence that bypassing publishers and selling games in niche genres directly to fans via services like Kickstarter or Early Access is a viable business strategy.
"We pitched the game to numerous publishers in the hopes that the game would eventually get released," reads a statement issued by Bugbear. "Unfortunately we receive the same response all over again – there were no market for a game like ours."
Bugbear also launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $350,000 to fund the development of Next Car Game
on November 1, 2013, but cancelled the campaign on November 22 after raising just $81,722.
Development on the game continued, however, and the studio released a playable version of the game shortly thereafter through both Steam Early Access and its own website to drum up player interest.
"We were literally awe-struck by the great response the sneak peek received," stated Bugbear. "The pre-order sales skyrocketed, and we reached and actually topped our original Kickstarter funding goal in just week! And most importantly: the success showed us that the players believed in the game."
Bugbear isn't alone in finding unexpected success on Early Access -- Facepunch Studios sold more than 150,000 Early Access copies
of their new game Rust
in just two weeks, while Dean Hall recently sold more than a million
Early Access copies of DayZ
in a month.
Speaking with Gamasutra
creator Dean Hall called his success on Early Access a 'shots fired' moment for traditional game publishers.