The time may have come for developer Stardock to say goodbye to boxed retail releases, the company has stated.
Recent digital-only release Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion has “crushed” the studio’s previous sales records, selling over 100,000 units. It’s the first game from the developer to skip retail upon its release.
It was only available on Steam, direct from Stardock or as a code from GameStop. And the Steam sales alone in the first 30 days bettered the combined lifetime physical sales of the previous game across the whole of physical retail.
"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,” Stardock president and CEO Brad Wardell stated.
“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.
"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 kick-off 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."