The many woes of Friday the 13th, from ongoing technical issues to fears that it's been abandoned, have been well documented and discussed. But in spite of its many travails, it turns out the game has actually been pretty successful: Wes Keltner, head of publisher Gun Media, recently told GamesIndustry that the Jason-goes-camping game has already sold more than 1.8 million copies.
Keltner attributed part of the disconnect between the critical reception of Friday the 13th and its commercial success to his belief that influencers—that is, YouTubers and streamers—have a greater impact on game buyers than traditional media. "I think it's less about a mismatch and more about a complete upheaval of how consumers research and ultimately decide on purchasing a game. Metacritic scores used to be the lifeblood of games. For today's consumer, it's not as relevant," he said.
"I think there are two reasons for this; Early Access and Content Creators. In my opinion, these are the two biggest disruptions in our industry, with Twitch probably being the biggest game changer. Five years ago publishers would be frantically hiring mock reviewers to try to get a good estimate of what their Metacritic score would be. Today, they have meetings where they ask the entire team: 'Does our game stream well?'"
He also pointed out that many of the negative reviews and comments didn't take issue with the gameplay, but rather the performance and server issues—something we took note of in our review, which was on the whole quite positive. It's still far from perfect, but Keltner said the studio continues to work on it.
"Our number one priority right now is stability and squashing bugs. That's what all of our engineers are focusing on. We've also nearly doubled our team size to help with this issue," he said. "But our content/art teams are free to work on new content, and that's what we've been doing. Players can expect new maps, characters, Easter eggs and other great updates in the near future."