Deep Rock Galactic sold millions of copies last year, and I reckon its wholesome community is to blame

An image of the dwarves in Deep Rock Galactic.
(Image credit: Coffee Stain)
Audio player loading…

What can I say? The people have spoken and they love dwarves. A week and a bit after Bay 12 shared news of bumper Dwarf Fortress sales figures (opens in new tab), Ghost Ship Games has come out and said that Deep Rock Galactic sold an impressive 2 million copies (opens in new tab) in 2022 alone. What is it with gamers, dwarves, and mining?

That's not to say I'm surprised. Deep Rock Galactic is a darn fine game, and boasts one of the few consistently chill player communities on the entire internet. In fact, the game's burly ore-mongers have most recently spent their time rolling out an incredibly welcoming red carpet to fans of the Hololive VTuber Shishiro Botan (opens in new tab) (via GamesRadar (opens in new tab)). Call me cynical, but I wouldn't generally expect the Venn diagram of 'anime catgirl fans' and 'grizzled dwarf mining game players' to have much overlap, and yet the community came out in droves to greet Botan's fans, and even whipped up some wholesome memes (opens in new tab) to mark the occasion.

The Hololive community took note of how welcoming DRG players had been. Commenters on a much-upvoted Reddit post highlighting the fanbase crossover were delighted by how warm their reception had been. "DRG is legitimately one of the best gaming communities I've ever interacted with," wrote AsaTJ (opens in new tab), "They're so upbeat and enthusiastic and welcoming." Another, H4LF4D (opens in new tab), said "I swear the community itself made me wanna try the game."

Shishiro Botan's recent stream isn't why Deep Rock sold so many copies last year, though. The co-op FPS has been selling gangbusters for years. But I do think having a reliably welcoming, non-judgmental community is crucial for keeping players hooked and, crucially, talking a game up to their friends. Regardless, even if the community had nothing to do with it and people were just flocking to Deep Rock for its highly-customisable beards, it's just good to see some measure of kindness finding success in the world.

We rather enjoyed the game ourselves when we reviewed it all the way back in 2020. Phil Iwaniuk scored it 79% in his Deep Rock Galactic review (opens in new tab), highlighting its thoughtful "asymmetrical class-based co-op," but noting that a lot of a player's experience relies on how well they're "watching and, most importantly, learning from better players." I have to imagine the community's positive vibe helps with that one.

If you're curious, you can check out Ghost Ship's full range of weird and wonderful Deep Rock Galactic stats right here (opens in new tab). Judging by the number of falling deaths, it sounds like someone should install some safety rails over there.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.