Gone Home is a genuinely interesting, engaging experiment in interactive storytelling that we reviewed very positively upon its original release -- and it seems that it's something that people are interested in exploring for themselves, too.
Steve Gaynor, co-founder of developer The Fullbright Company and subject of our first ever Ask Me Anything LiveTopic, announced yesterday that the game has sold over 50,000 copies since its launch back on August 15.
At $20 a pop, that equates to a million dollars in takings for the game -- though a proportion of this will go to Valve for sales completed through Steam as opposed to direct sales via Fullbright's website. Valve is notoriously coy about revealing exactly what its revenue-sharing agreement with those who publish on its platform is -- at least partly due to the fact that it's somewhat flexible -- but even assuming an industry standard split of 70/30 between Fullbright and Valve, that's still a very healthy $700,000 in takings in a month, which Gaynor and the team are sure to be happy about.
Gone Home's success is encouraging, not because it is the definitive future of video games, but because it has proven itself to be a viable direction for the medium to go in. Despite vocal critics of Gone Home describing it as "not a game" -- much like similar criticisms The Chinese Room's Dear Esther endured -- it seems that there are enough people out there interested in exploring what it is that Gone Home and its ilk are doing to make it a worthwhile endeavor. Interestingly, the fact that Gone Home was widely criticized for its $20 pricetag while only offering three hours of gameplay at most doesn't seem to have hurt its sales too much.
Gone Home's not an experience I would recommend to everyone -- there's little there for people who prioritize action and reflex-based gameplay over story, for example -- but for those interested in the different ways the interactive medium can tell stories, it's well worth a look. Similarly, it's also a positive example for other developers to follow in that it discusses and explores a number of mature themes that we don't normally see touched on in modern video games. To talk too much about those themes would be to spoil your exploration of the story for yourself; suffice to say, it's an interesting, thought-provoking story that isn't what you might expect from the game based on a blind first impression.
Fullbright is taking the game on the road in the coming weeks, appearing as part of the Fantastic Arcade at this year's Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX from September 19-22, and as a finalist at IndieCade in Los Angeles in October.
As for what's next for The Fullbright Company? Gaynor and the gang are keeping tight-lipped at present and note that there will be "more exciting news soon" -- though whether said news involves a new project or something else Gone Home-related remains to be seen.