Stardock's latest release, Ironclad Games' Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, has accumulated over 100,000 unit sales since June, making it their fastest seller ever.
This standalone expansion for their long-running Sins of a Solar Empire sci-fi RTS was released digitally a little over a month ago, on June 12, and marks Stardock's first major digital-only game. Previous Sins games have always been available via retail as well, whereas Rebellion was available through Steam, GameStop's online service, and directly from Stardock.
Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock, seemed pretty optimistic about the numbers:
"When we combine our direct sales of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion with the sales from GameStop, we see unit sales similar to what we've seen previously when at retail. This contradicts our projection that sales via Steam would share the overall digital pie we'd previously seen. Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion on Steam didn't cannibalize its GameStop or direct sales.
"Normally, when you get sales figures, the publisher is talking about overall sell-in, not sell-through. But that figure is largely irrelevant, other than sounding awesome because anything that doesn't sell at retail later gets marked down or returned."
He also notes that the community initially reacted negatively to Rebellion being digital-only, which is fairly understandable. The reason for this transition, Wardell explained, is because Stardock has mostly "moved away from having set release dates." Instead, they will now be planning release dates based on when a game is actually ready.
"I remember it was somewhat dramatic in the community when we announced that Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion wasn't going to be at retail. The reason was because we have moved away from having set release dates, which are largely announced for to kickoff presales, or for shareholders and retail distributors. Now we don't plan a release date until the game has reached a quality level where we feel comfortable doing so.
"Retailers require a six-month lead-in to reserve shelf space for indies, and that's if you can get in. By contrast, with Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, we didn't set a release date until after the public BETA feedback was universally positive."
We actually found Rebellion quite enjoyable, even if it didn't exactly make the series any more accessible than previous installments.