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Garry's Mod breaks ten million copies sold

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Garry's Mod

Garry's Mod was originally released as a Half-Life 2 mod in 2004, before being re-launched as a standalone sandbox physics games in 2006. Over the next eight years, it rang up a cool six million copies—an impressive achievement by any measure. But in the year and four months since then, it's sold another four million copies.

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With all due respect, I share Newman's apparent surprise and confusion. Four million unit sales of any indie PC game in a single year is remarkable, but to do it in the ninth year of standalone release is unexpected, to put it mildly. Strange, even. Garry's Mod is clearly very good at what it does, but it's been doing it for almost a decade now. So the obvious question is, “Why?”

Newman attributed much of the surge to “YouTube, Twitch, and Steam sales,” which he said have been having a snowball effect on sales over the past few years. “The more players, the more videos and streams, the more people watching, the more people buying and playing and streaming,” he said. “The steam sales really boost that effect. On a pretty average day it sells about 3000 copies. On Christmas Day [this year] it sold just over 75,000 copies.”

He also pointed out that the age of Garry's Mod, which is built on the Source Engine, can actually work to its advantage. “Most Source Engine games run on anything, from the shittiest ten-year-old windows XP laptop to the latest Alienware monstrosity. And it doesn't just run on the shitty laptop, it runs really well. I think that's something we overlook as game developers—awesome performance should be considered a feature, with higher priority than graphics,” he continued.

“There was a lot of outrage and negativity when we announced that we were going to charge for it so I wanted to show people that this was a good thing. That the money would be used to develop the mod further and allow me to concentrate on it full time. People are amazed that a ten-year-old game is still selling really well—but I guess Windows is over 30 years old, and it's still selling. The only real difference is that I didn't bundle up and re-charge people for the updates we made. Hopefully people don't see it as such a bad thing now, in retrospect.”

I'd say it's sure looking that way.

Thanks, GamesIndustry.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.