There were a lot of highly anticipated videogame releases in May. Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3 both hit the shelves. Against this background the top seller on Steam was ArmA 2 – a game that was both 2 years old and at full price.
The reason for Arma 2‘s runaway sales figures was the release of a mod known as Day z. While Arma 2 was a fairly straightforward tactical shooter. the mod changes stuff up a bit by introducing an exciting new element: Zombies!
Zombies are everywhere in videogames. They are good go-to bad guy. As with Nazis, you can keep blasting them all day long and not get the pangs of guilt you might in a more morally ambiguous scenario.
There are a lot of interesting features introduced by the mod. One of the most being a persistent game world. That means that progress a player makes will continue after they log off.
The mod is all about survival. There are a great number of games where you need to shoot things – very few where you need to find food to eat. Fail to find enough to eat and drink in Day Z and you will die.
On the subject of death – in Day Z it is handled very differently from most games. Put simply, when you die, you die. That is it for your character. No respawn, no savepoints, back to square one. Hardcore.
There were many custom animations added to the game, as well as lots of items. There are practical items such as food and weaponry, but also lots of miscellaneous junk to add flavour.
As a multiplayer experience the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with servers apparently well able to handle the loads placed on them without annoying lag. And the server loads have been very heavy.
Getting the base game to number on the Steam charts was an achievement in itself – but there are some other stats that tell the full story. At the time of writing there were 101655 characters alive in the game, out of a total of 1450008 since the game launched.The average life expectancy for a character in the world of Day Z is just 27 minutes.
Hopefully the success of this mod will send a clear message to games developers. By actively supporting the modding community through providing tools and so on they are opening up the possibility of long tail sales.
What mods for popular games would you like to see? Drop us comment and share with the class.
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