Friday the 13th: The Game has sold over 1.8 million copies in its first two months on Steam Early Access. Not bad considering the myriad technical issues and many negative reviews it’s had from players.
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Developers Gun Media announced the sales figures when speaking to GIBiz. Studio boss Wes Keltner is very open in the interview, admitting that the inexperienced team “weren’t ready for the huge influx of players that hit us day one.”
“We looked at our player numbers from the beta, along with pre-orders and then added a 30% cushion,” Keltner continues. “That’s how we set up our servers and database for launch. We were soooo wrong. 100,000 players hit us in the first 20 minutes, and our servers melted. Our first weekend was chaos. The entire team slept at their desks trying to keep up with demand. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. With our small budget, we couldn’t afford a large scale QA effort. We did a PC beta, and gleaned a lot of great data from that. But again, we weren’t ready for the tidal wave of players.”
Keltner also talks about the lack of budget Gun Media had to make Friday the 13th: The Game, saying that the total money spent on it before launch “would only cover half the animation budget for AAA games.”
With the game’s popularity and subsequent profit, Gun Media focused on reinvesting in it, working on new maps and characters released for free, but the biggest chunk of it has been put into QA in an effort to flatten out server issues. After all, it’s those technical problems that have caused the game to attract bad reviews. At least, according to Keltner, who says “many of the low scores and negative impressions were based on performance and server issues, and not gameplay.”
Keltner seems confident that, one day, Friday the 13th: The Game will be performing at the level it needs to be. It’s not there yet, but the profits the game is making are being used to eliminate server problems and other technical issues.