Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Afterfall: InSanity is an indie shooter horror post-apocalyptic (it actually started as a Fallout mod) thing developed by Intoxicate Studios. It's set to be released on the 25th of November. Here, have a trailer!

Looks decent. Nice production values, particularly graphics, especially for an indie game, and the enemy design has certainly piqued my interest. That's not the most interesting thing about this. What is intriguing about  this game is the way it is being marketed, and sold.

Right now it's being sold at (as opposed to the 'real' price, which falls just short of 35 bucks) $1. That's not a typo - one dollar is the price. And some of it is going to charity. A single dollar for a game that looks to be somewhat entertaining at the very least. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, it is. There's a fairly major catch here. The developers are aiming for 10 million preorders, 10% of which will go to charity (every additional sale from then will be split 50/50 between developer and charity)., and the $1 preorders are fine and valid. However, if they don't meet that target, all the money goes to charity and the game is then released for a one dollar discount (between thirty three and thirty four dollars). And those preorders you made? Gone. Perhaps this video, from the developer, can explain it a bit better:

It's an ambitious goal. Mainstream titles across multiple consoles rarely breach the 10 million copies sold mark, never mind preorders (read: not sales) of an obscure indie horror title limited to the PC. If they somehow make this mark, it will be the 5th best selling PC game in the history of gaming - falling just behind the first two Sims games, World of Warcraft and Starcraft - and will be up there as one of the best-selling games of all time. Let's put things into perspective a little more, shall we? Minecraft, undoubtedly one of the most popular indie titles out there, reached the 3.5 million copies mark recently. Yes, InSanity is only a dollar, but is that enough to balance out its obscurity, genre (horror games tend to either be extremely popular or complete unknowns, with little in-between), and the fact that this desired 10 million is in preorders?

But what if the developers aren't just being optimistic - what if they have a more cynical reason for this. Imagine, if you will, they hit their target. That's nine million dollars for them, another one million for a thus-far unannounced charity and a massive playerbase for whatever sequels (though not DLC, which they claim will be free) the devs produce. And if they don't reach it? Well, that's a bunch of money thrown to charity and the game being sold for a substantially more profitable amount. And the playerbase will still be there. Not all those who preordered it will fork over 30 dollars or so, and there will be some outcry but with the publicity this will, presumably, generate, and the act of giving a lot of money to charity hardly counts as negative publicity. So, it's a win/win for the devs.

So, what do you think? Is this pushing the envelope? Baseless optimism? Or cynical publicity generation?


  1. This is way to optimistic. Sorry, but I don't think they'll have even hit half of that goal by the end of October.