Yesterday I got a chance to speak with the lone developer of Stardew Valley, Eric Barone, about the sky-rocketing popularity of a game he says started out as a way to learn how to program. While it's clear to see from Steam's best seller list, the front page of Twitch, and all over the internet that Stardew Valley has been well-received, Barone revealed just how popular it really was. According to him, roughly 425,000 copies of the game have been sold across Steam and GOG as of March 9—only 12 days after launch.
For comparison, only a handful of games seemed to sell more than a million copies on Steam last year. Barone told me he never expected the game to be this popular. "I thought it would be popular with people who were fans of Harvest Moon or Rune Factory, and I thought that would pretty much be it," Barone said, "I never expected it to have such wide appeal. I mean, I'm super happy about it and I'm blown away by the reaction, but I'm surprised too."
Even with Steam being known to take about one-third of the cost, and publisher Chucklefish most likely taking a share as well, it's not inconceivable to assume that Barone has suddenly seen himself become a multimillionaire. But Barone made it clear he doesn't want Stardew's success going to his head, saying "I don't want it to affect my life in any way. My lifestyle isn't going to change." He also intends to keep the scale of development at a similar level, saying he'd consider hiring help for "more technical aspects of the game," but that he generally prefers to work alone.
You can read our full interview with Barone here, where he reflects more on the success of the game, what's coming to Stardew Valley next, and a secret he says no one has found yet. And if you're one of the many people playing Stardew Valley, we're currently looking for screenshots of your farm!