Amnesia: The Dark Descent becomes a million seller

When is a game too successful to be considered indie? Frictional Games' indie horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent has become a million seller.

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When is a game too successful to be considered indie? Frictional Games' indie horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent has become a million seller.

Oddly, figuring out the exact sales numbers actually takes some work due to the game's inclusion in the Humble Indie Bundle and Potato Sack. Without accounting for these bundles, the game has managed to sell over 700K units. Admitting that a number of bundle purchasers likely own Amnesia already, Frictional's Thomas Grip calculates that the game could have sold almost 1.4 million units.

"The figures themselves are far beyond any guesses we would have made two years ago," Grip explains in a blog post (via Joystiq). "It is also insane, because this number is actually higher than it was around three months after initial launch." Certainly, word of mouth has helped propel the game's status and sales well after its initial release.

Reaching a million sales is an accomplishment for any game, let alone a game that cost only $360,000 to make. "It has since earned more than ten times that. Take that investors we talked to in 2009!"

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 10, 2012 3:45 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Amnesia: The Dark Descent becomes a million seller.

    When is a game too successful to be considered indie? Frictional Games' indie horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent has become a million seller.

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      September 10, 2012 4:12 PM

      Never. Independent should mean independently developed and published, not unknown, unpopular, or unsuccessful.

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        September 10, 2012 5:09 PM

        This. So many times this.

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        September 10, 2012 5:16 PM

        Heck, indie is whatever you want to call indie, there's really no firm definition (the one above, arguably, puts things like Bastion out of that category) It's more that we can tell what games are certainly *not* indie.

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        September 10, 2012 5:27 PM

        Yarp.

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        September 10, 2012 5:42 PM

        Well said. Before Bethesda was id "indie"?

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        September 10, 2012 7:06 PM

        I agree.

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        September 10, 2012 7:22 PM

        Is Nine Inch Nails now indie?

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        September 10, 2012 10:39 PM

        Yep. Exactly. My first thoughts on reading Andrew's article... ??? hmmm.

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        September 11, 2012 2:06 AM

        Therefore Valve is indie.

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          September 11, 2012 4:22 AM

          Valve's game are published buy EA on consoles though.

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            September 11, 2012 6:03 AM

            They have (had?) a publishing agreement on consoles. They were still indie, as EA had nothing to do or say about the content or direction of the games.

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          September 11, 2012 6:11 AM

          Let's not be obtuse and shoehorn valve as in indie, but they certainly have many of the same charming qualities that makes an indie.

          otoh it really is just a label

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            September 11, 2012 6:16 AM

            I one of the people who thinks size is irrelevant for "indie" label. Indie is a state of mind, a will of making your own thing, your own way. Valve definitely fits the bill in that respect.

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              September 11, 2012 6:32 AM

              yeah, I mean they're personally responsible for a publishing infrastructure that nigh singlehandedly rebuilt the 3rd pillar of gaming, so I can't think of them as indie, but sure, very very indie-esque. Like I said, it's splitting hairs, we agree that Valve is awesome and has freedom to do awesome stuff

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          September 11, 2012 6:39 AM

          Yup.

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          September 11, 2012 7:41 AM

          SEMANTICS!

          In my opinion, "indie", by way of the cute abbreviation, implies a small developer, possibly only one person or a team of less than five (although it can be more, but I'd say having a hundred employees or more disqualifies you), and possibly doing this either on the side or not as your day job. Especially if your game falls under a nontraditional genre.

          By this token, Valve is not indie, Valve is independent. Gearbox is independent. No one owns them but to put them in the same category as the small team that made Amnesia is not really fair. Not to say that one is better than the other - although if anything indie developers aim to become independent developers - but I'd say there's a difference.

          Part of it also has to do with the origins of the company. Valve was founded by Microsoft millionares. Gearbox was formed as a traditional boxed product company whose creators' main claim to fame was being former 3DR employees. Not that this takes anything away from their success - look at Ion Storm for an example of a developer that had every advantage in the world and still screwed it up - but there's a big difference between a developer founded in the 90's who had to make a go of it in retail or else, and a developer who gets on Steam first or releases their game on their own website first and then gets in retail if successful.

          In any case it's a great time to be a PC gamer.

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        September 11, 2012 6:24 AM

        That's why I hate that word. People are using to say "dev you probably don't know about"

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        September 11, 2012 9:53 AM

        Mostly agree with this, although I'd qualify that it's not really necessary for the publishing component to be independent, in order for a game to be considered "indie." Just so long as the developer retains complete creative control over what the player ends up playing--without publisher or corporate moneyhat interference--it's "indie" in my book.

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          September 11, 2012 10:20 AM

          Yeah, I agree. If development is independently funded then that's enough. Self publication is good for extra credit.

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      September 10, 2012 4:23 PM

      I'm very happy for them! Incidentally, they are talking about >$3.6m revenue total. That's just a little more than we gave Tim Schafer to make us a new adventure game. If independent studios can do well at these kinds of revenue numbers, the next 5-10 years is going to be a very exciting time to be a gamer!

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      September 10, 2012 4:32 PM

      They just need to make sure they always stay self published and not subject themselves to publisher constraints. You have proven you can take your time to make a game and make money doing it. Stick with what works.

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      September 10, 2012 4:38 PM

      Congratulations Frictional Games! Well deserved!

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      September 10, 2012 5:38 PM

      Big congrats to those guys. Amnesia was a helluva ride.

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      September 10, 2012 7:11 PM

      Great news for a great game - I actually played this game on a dark and stormy night. Never again!

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      September 10, 2012 7:12 PM

      I was hoping one day I would hear this. Just proves that talking about good games is worth while and you should never stop.

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      September 11, 2012 2:11 AM

      Always nice to see efforts like this being rewarded. Hopefully the new game will deliver as well, but next time I wanna see them trying something more radical, like a full co-op campaign game and/or a game with similar mechanics but set on a spaceship.

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        September 11, 2012 5:58 AM

        Kind of like a true spiritual successor to system shock 2 only you get no weapons? Sold!

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          September 11, 2012 6:13 AM

          Something like that. Instead of wooden barrels and block & tackle, you'd get to deal with the navigation systems and ion thrusters of a derelict ship. I imagine the plot would be based around working to fix everything up so you can go to place X, but in the course of doing so you enable some kind of system as well, and then it's ON.

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      September 11, 2012 4:06 AM

      I bought and love the game, but will never play it!

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