If there’s one thing that seems to be a recurring trend in the Early Access phase of development for many indie games, it’s that a quality game will net you a sizable profit, as evidenced by titles like ARK: Survival Evolved and Introversion’s Prison Architect.
GamesIndustry.biz did a brief write-up based on an interview that Eurogamer had with the studio’s founding director, Mark Morris and co-founder Chris Delay, both of whom acknowledged that despite their early success with games like Defcon, they did burn through their finances pretty quickly. According to Delay…
“We don’t take anything for granted anymore,”[…] “After Defcon’s launch we were in really rude health, really solid health, and within four years we were almost gone. You can blow your money very quickly in video games.”
However, in the case of Prison Architect they’ve managed to bounce back into the profit zone after selling more than 1.25 million copies since September of 2012. They have accrued more than $19 million while the game is still in Early Access. They plan on releasing the full version of the game on October 6th. However, they already have a strong following, a dedicated audience, tons of positive reviews and plenty of cash to roll around in like Demi Moore from Indecent Proposal.
According to Mark Morris…
“The company is very, very healthy,” […] “Also, we think that Prison Architect could be the biggest hit of the next 15 years at Introversion, so we’ve been very prudent with what’s happening with the resources that it’s generating, because we know that we can never run out of money again now. Not because we’ve made so much, but because it would be criminally negligent if we ever had to go back cap in hand.”
The game’s biggest draw is in designing prisons and sharing them via Steam Workshop. It’s a little like SimCity but for prisons and you can challenge other players to play through your prison and see if they can keep it going before the state shuts it down for one reason or another.
The concept may seem crude to some people but it’s an exceptionally in-depth game with a lot of layers and under-the-hood depth that greatly affects the outcome of a player’s prison and the prisoners residing in it.