Amnesia Studio Reaps the Rewards of Making a Good Game

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Amnesia Studio Reaps the Rewards of Making a Good Game

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Frictional Games' Amnesia: The Dark Descent has sold a horrifyingly large number of copies.

Swedish developer Frictional Games might be entering the best year of its life. Its latest title, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, has sold more than double what it dreamed it'd sell, making the company yet another beneficiary of digital distribution and strong word of mouth.

A week after release, Frictional Games called Amnesia a "make or break game." Sales were initially good, and a month later Frictional announced it had beaten its goal of 24,000 copies sold with sales of 36,000, allowing it to stay in business to keep on trucking. The credits do not roll there, however. Today, four months after Amnesia's release, the horror game has sold more than 200,000 copies.

Frictional's success with Amnesia is an example of how the expansion of digital distribution is able to keep more types of studios in business than ever before. When brick-and-mortar sales were the only way for a developer to earn its keep, first week or month sales were staunchly relied upon. Now, a game can be released on a platform like Steam to "fair" initial sales, but those sales might later grow into an inferno with good PR and the benefit of consistent availability at the click of a mouse.

This is apparently exactly what happened with Amnesia. The incredibly scary game got a continued smattering of free, positive press, and combined with a recent Steam sale ended up moving more copies than Frictional had ever dreamed. Heck, even I bought Amnesia on word of mouth, and I'll probably be too afraid to ever load it up.

Frictional's dream was 100,000 sold, and the game has already doubled that. Many of those copies were sold at as much as 75% off the regular price of $19.99, but 50,000 in sales at $7 generates more revenue than 10,000 sales at $20, so Frictional isn't complaining. The studio says it's now financially stable and has enough operating funds to fully complete its next game without worry.

For that next game, Frictional says it wants to take "experience based gameplay" to the next level, but in a different direction that should have "delightfully disturbing results." It'll likely be another game that I won't have enough guts to play, but that doesn't mean I won't buy it anyway if it gets enough buzz.

Source: Frictional Games Blog

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Glad to see it work out for a small indy company... I want to play Amnesia, but the demo wont work unfortunately... Also, I'm not sure how well it could run on my Macbook... Probably not to well...

The game wasn't actually all that fun, and I never finished it.

But every single gamer should buy this game and try it, so they know how REAL horror is done properly in a videogame.

I really enjoyed this game, and it is easily worth 20$. I'm not surprised on how well it sold (the Steam sale was pretty cheap)

I still have the demo siting in my Steam, unopened.

I watched Mangaminx's Let's Play, and there's NO WAY I'm gonna have the guts to open even the demo.

Company makes good game, subsequently makes piles of dosh.

THAT'S how it should work. /glares at Nintendo and Activision

It's not like they didn't get recognition with Penumbra.

I don't think my PC can run it. I want to try it.

Heh, glad to see these guys doing well - did a brief bit of Beta testing for there first game.

MinionStarwind:
It's not like they didn't get recognition with Penumbra.

I still have to play through that game (got the Collection). Have a gigantic backlog now, though, so it'll have to wait at least until after I finish Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

Good for them, they deserve it. It's scaring the crap out of me. I still haven't beaten penumbra, I keep getting a little further in each time before I freak out.

I, too, got that game on Steam's Christmas sale...yesterday I played it for the first time. At 3 AM. Oh boy, that game is fun, in a horrifying way.

I'm looking forward to their next game!

JediMB:

MinionStarwind:
It's not like they didn't get recognition with Penumbra.

I still have to play through that game (got the Collection). Have a gigantic backlog now, though, so it'll have to wait at least until after I finish Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

If you haven't played Amnesia, or for that matter Penumbra. Do it. Those two games were what Call of Cthulhu was supposed to be.

Good for them, and I mean that with all sincerity.

Amnesia was a wonderful game.

I got Amnesia in the sale, however I have not played it, not because i'm scarred to, but I just got a lot of stuff in that sale, although when i start to play it, I think I will get scared. Hopefully this will encourage horror to be done right, rather than action games set in a horror inviroment... Dead Space. Now while it is a good game it is not a horror game.

they deserve it. i bought it during the steam sale for 4.80. worth every penny. i havent beaten it yet though :P

I'm not a fan of horror games, so I never bought it (or penumbra for that matter), but from all I've heard, it sounds like they deserved it. Something about being actually scary (why anyone would want that is beyond me) and a good game.

YES! I can't wait to play their next game. Amnesia was a masterpiece, and I'm glad to see they made a good profit from it.

I'm glad that they had massive sales, they *definitely* deserved it.

I usually say how good the game was by telling a story. I saw the monster stumbling around the jail cells, he saw me. He screamed, I panicked and ran into the nearby but well lit kitchen. After hiding behind some rotting meat, I started counting down from twenty until I'd chance moving out. It was at about "15" when I realized that I had shut my eyes in terror during the hiding sequence. Awesome.

Now that I think about it, this really WAS the year for indie games. Minecraft, Recettear, Amnesia, Super Meat Boy... huh.

Those who make good things reap the benefits. Glad to hear everything worked out for them :)

Glad to hear it. I picked it up on sale (not the Christmas one, a different one) and i can't play it too much at a time because i'm horrible with horror games and this one is definitely the most fear inducing games i have ever played. Congrats Frictional, you've earned it.

Well i bought it at 7 dollars. Best fucking horror for the money i payed i've ever played. And I've pirated stuff.

Mhmm. Proof that good, different, risky games ARE profitable. Also, good to see a return to more old school survival horror. Shows there is a market for survival horror.

Onyx Oblivion:
I don't think my PC can run it. I want to try it.

If your rig could run something like say Oblivion or other wise circa 2005 games, it will run amnesia. I ran amnesia on a netbook with the equivilent of a 1ghz processor, 2gb of ram. Honestly the graphics are not that intensive, They remind me a LOT of World of warcraft with a darker palette.

As for the games sales. Kudos. Im glad to see it. I know I pushed word of mouth on anyone I knew who even remotely played games for it.

And as much trash as I have a tendency to talk about Steam and Digital distribution, this is perhaps one of the best arguments in favor of both. Its presence on steam this year certainly helped to make it as big as it is getting. So I do bite the bullet and in this instance give kudos to steam for help propping up the type of studio that NEEDS to succeed for the betterment of all gaming.

I'm not sure if it'll run on my netbook (only thing that worries me is my graphics card...some inbuilt P.o.S) and I don't have a mouse, but nce I acquire one I will get it.
Good job for them though, this makes me happy ^^

Witty Name Here:
Glad to see it work out for a small indy company... I want to play Amnesia, but the demo wont work unfortunately... Also, I'm not sure how well it could run on my Macbook... Probably not to well...

depends on the MacBook graphics chips. A GMA940 will NOT work, I tried it.
An X3100 gfx will run the Penumbra Series well. Anything better than that will be no problem for Amnesia.

Frictional Games are so friggingly cool and scary. for me they redefined the whole genre of horror where only VERY few games can copare to.

lax4life:

JediMB:

MinionStarwind:
It's not like they didn't get recognition with Penumbra.

I still have to play through that game (got the Collection). Have a gigantic backlog now, though, so it'll have to wait at least until after I finish Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

If you haven't played Amnesia, or for that matter Penumbra. Do it. Those two games were what Call of Cthulhu was supposed to be.

I am just playing Cthulhu DCOTE and can very well say YES, you´re right! Cthulhu has great visual and atmosphere and is good game (if you act according to the script but Frictional created the far superior counterpart.

And for todays GFX demands Amnesia is still very polite.
An ATI9600 come on guy for Penumbra, that´s nothing. ;)
and an Radeon X1000 / GeForce 6 series for Amnesia.
How much are these cards these days $20?

Good to know they were rewarded for making such a great game. Even better to know that this means they'll be able to continue making great games uninhibited.

Witty Name Here:
Glad to see it work out for a small indy company.

What he said.

danpascooch:
The game wasn't actually all that fun

Depends on your idea of fun...
I thought it was great fun, if a weeee bit terrifying.
Go them, I can't wait to see what kind of nightmare they will unleash upon us next.

I do have to wonder how the sales were after our boy Yahtzee said it scared the piss out of him, in a good way.

s0m3th1ng:

danpascooch:
The game wasn't actually all that fun

Depends on your idea of fun...
I thought it was great fun, if a weeee bit terrifying.
Go them, I can't wait to see what kind of nightmare they will unleash upon us next.

I definitely support them, the game just started to feel a bit repetitive to me after a while, that doesn't mean I didn't think the horror was AWESOME

BloodRed Pixel:

Witty Name Here:
Glad to see it work out for a small indy company... I want to play Amnesia, but the demo wont work unfortunately... Also, I'm not sure how well it could run on my Macbook... Probably not to well...

depends on the MacBook graphics chips. A GMA940 will NOT work, I tried it.
An X3100 gfx will run the Penumbra Series well. Anything better than that will be no problem for Amnesia.

Frictional Games are so friggingly cool and scary. for me they redefined the whole genre of horror where only VERY few games can copare to.

Just checked, it said my Chipset Model is a GMA X3100, though for some reason amnesia still never gets to the starting menu.

i watched the playthrough of it in the first level, and it looks pretty solid.

i personally however, do not like to play horror games, at all. (when i play games, i play them for fun and the great story involved) not saying that you can't have fun with horror, just not my kinda bag.

i might just have to buy this game though just to support the developer and maybe open it someday..

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