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Valve releases Half-Life sales figures

Valve releases Half-Life sales figures

The original Half-Life has sold an average of 1 million copies every year, for ten years, without counting Steam.

There are some people who say that the PC gaming market is in jeopardy, that it can't survive competition with consoles and that it's too hard to publish a game on PC without it being pirated to hell and back. Those people are going to be proved wrong pretty quickly now.

Valve has today issued it's sales figures for it's games catalogue as it sold in stores (I.e. these sales figures don't count Valve's own distribution platform, Steam) and the results are absolutely astounding. Ready?

The original Half-Life, Valve's first game and one of the most critically lauded PC titles ever, has sold an average of one million copies every year ever since it was first released in 1998. That's an average of one million copies per year, for ten years, without counting digital sales. Wowzers.

Half-Life 2 meanwhile, which was the first game to launch predominantly on Valve's Steam service, has sold more than 6.5 million copies in just four years and is still clocking up retail sales. The Orange Box has managed to sell 3 million copies at retail ever since that was released just last year and Left4Dead is currently on track to beat that record by more than 500,000 copies.

A lot of the success of the original games has obviously come from the fact that both Half-Life games got excellent mod support from the start - but that only proves that you don't need to be Valve to make money off the PC. While Counter-Strike began as a free mod for the Half-Life engine and the developers later joined Valve more than 4 million people bought the standalone Counter-Strike package which doesn't come with any other games. Again, without Steam.

Just to prove that you don't need to be all shooter-riffic to make some money from the PC too the sales figures for Garry's Mod were released recently too. The game, which is essentially a Lego-kit for the Half-Life 2 engine, has made the independent team behind the game more than $3 million in sales in just two years, though that figure only counts Steam sales.

PC gaming is dead you say? Pfft. We can't wait to see the sales figures that include digital sales, how about you? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

40 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
p3n 4th December 2008, 11:58 Quote
Garry's Mod is one of the best LAN party mods; that and sourceforts!
phuzz 4th December 2008, 12:01 Quote
To be fair, I think I've bought HL at least three times now before loosing the disks again.
airchie 4th December 2008, 12:07 Quote
Hehe, goes to show if a game is good enough, it will sell.

CoD4, though it was one of the most pirated games ever apparently, I bet still sold a phenominal number of copies.
liratheal 4th December 2008, 12:14 Quote
Man oh man.

HL is what, ten years old now? A million copies a year isn't a bad sales trip.

That said, I don't see why they feel the need to tell everyone it's popular, when in most cases people are already aware of this?

Seems like Valve are just trying to inflate their testicle size.
steveo_mcg 4th December 2008, 12:16 Quote
I wish valve would release even indicative (since they wont release actual figures) steam sales figures it would very interesting.
Nictron 4th December 2008, 12:42 Quote
I think Valve is doing so well that they do not want to tell everyone about steams effectiveness. That might just cause competition for them in the marketplace.

While all the other publishers are thinking console only, valve and Blizzard are sitting back and develops for the PC communily and keeps that slice of the pie all to them selves.

Great sales tactic if you ask me.

GO VALVE!
perplekks45 4th December 2008, 12:48 Quote
Wasn't CoD 4 most sold game last year.
And I agree with above. Good game = good sales figures.
CardJoe 4th December 2008, 12:54 Quote
I still can't use my original copy of Half-Life on Steam, not since I leant it to a mate and he registered it on Steam...:(
[USRF]Obiwan 4th December 2008, 13:12 Quote
So basically all the whiners (EA and such) about PC sales are losers and morons at the same time. Here is the proof they are wrong. I wonder if they will get the message that a GOOD game will sell for years. And BAD games will sell a few weeks and then the whole internet family finds out the game is bad and sales drop like a stone. Then they blame piracy, get some government money for this. And try again with part 7 of bad game.

;)
impar 4th December 2008, 13:24 Quote
Greetings!

Well, in PC gaming, if Valve wasnt being successful, no one else would.
Tyrmot 4th December 2008, 13:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I still can't use my original copy of Half-Life on Steam, not since I leant it to a mate and he registered it on Steam...:(

And they were selling it for 99c the other day... If that's still going on it might be worth it, I bought it just because... well why not? I do have a box copy as well somewhere but for 60p you may as well have a nice shiny steam version too...
Paradigm Shifter 4th December 2008, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
That said, I don't see why they feel the need to tell everyone it's popular, when in most cases people are already aware of this?

Seems like Valve are just trying to inflate their testicle size.

Nah - more likely they're trying to present a different side of the story to the whining devs/pubs who say that PC gaming is dying, piracy is the cause, yadda yadda... when in reality, at least half the reason why the games made by those developers and publishers are doing so badly is because they're not very good games. They can be technically good in one area or another (usually graphics) but unless they hit the right balance of everything... they don't do too well in gamers mindsets.

Piracy is bad, no doubt about that... but devs don't help their own case when they release sub-standard rubbish then complain that it didn't sell well.

To be honest, I didn't really like Half-Life all that much at the time. It was made, later, by a great SDK and awesome mods. But even vanilla it's way better than some of the dross I've seen in recent years.
DragunovHUN 4th December 2008, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrmot

And they were selling it for 99c the other day

98 cents actually, to celebrate its 1998 release. I bought a copy for everyone on my Steam friends list who didn't already have it.
Lilliput King 4th December 2008, 13:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
when in reality, at least half the reason why the games made by those developers and publishers are doing so badly is because they're not very good games. They can be technically good in one area or another (usually graphics)

Crysis much? :D

But agreed. Its become something of a scapegoat for poor sales figures generally.
Bauul 4th December 2008, 14:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I still can't use my original copy of Half-Life on Steam, not since I leant it to a mate and he registered it on Steam...:(

...

who was that again?
Teq 4th December 2008, 14:16 Quote
Unfortunately the weak pound means I'm waiting for weekend deals to purchase things from Steam or go for the retail version instead :( Steam needs regional pricing imo, anyhoo, its nice to see such sales from Valve :)
Veles 4th December 2008, 14:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
HL is what, ten years old now? A million copies a year isn't a bad sales trip.

A lot of game companies would be happy with a million sales total
chimaera 4th December 2008, 14:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teq
Unfortunately the weak pound means I'm waiting for weekend deals to purchase things from Steam or go for the retail version instead :( Steam needs regional pricing imo, anyhoo, its nice to see such sales from Valve :)

Agreed - it was great while the dollar was in the toilet, but now that its a bit more on an even keel the price of new games on Steam is a bit of a rip-off - Left 4 Dead for example at release was $49.99 + VAT - which worked out at about £40. Doesn't really match up against the £20 I paid for it from Amazon and the only cost to me was waiting a couple of extra days to play the game (which since it was during the working week wasn't exactly a problem for me). In saying that though, Steam is still great for older games, especially with the weekly offers :)
Teq 4th December 2008, 14:37 Quote
Yep, I still get the bundles, old games and weekend deals, but its sad that I have to wait for retail because of silly prices
D3s3rt_F0x 4th December 2008, 16:16 Quote
Like ive always said when Epic games has had a moan about piracy, make a great game and they will come.

Plus steam rules and I said that from day one.....even when it took me 24 hours to download counter-strike 1.6 lol
perplekks45 4th December 2008, 16:35 Quote
I hated Steam on day 1 but I had to admit there's nothing better out there (at the moment).
steveo_mcg 4th December 2008, 16:46 Quote
And thanks to r* and MS for pushing games for windows live we get to see just how superior steam is.
DragunovHUN 4th December 2008, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aon`aTv.gsus666
I hated Steam on day 1 but I had to admit there's nothing better out there (at the moment).

Why do you hate Steam? I have well over 30 games on it and never once did i have a problem. Except for when a damn tornado took their HQ down. Even then it was back online the next day. And the features are awesome. Like gift purchases.
CardJoe 4th December 2008, 18:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
...

who was that again?

YOU!

But m'eh, I just play it without Steam. Or on my Steam press account.

Besides, you let me play HL2 on your (then) better PC, so I think we're even. ;)
C-Sniper 4th December 2008, 18:34 Quote
So really the only reason for poor sales is poor quality games... sounds about right to me. Don't see why all the publishers are bitching about it. Make a innovative new game make it good and you will see sales.
StephenK 4th December 2008, 18:59 Quote
Its easier to blame piracy for poor sales than to admit that the quality of some games is just below acceptable. Doubt you can expect most companies to come out and say 'Yeah. The game was kinda rushed and rubbish', much easier to say 'It's the Pirates. Oh wont somebody stop those evil people!'
pendragon 4th December 2008, 19:03 Quote
blizzard and valve easily show that PC gaming is hardly 'dead'. Those figures are impressive.. and I would add that when the Black Mesa Project is completed next year I'll totally be playing that :D
mooseguy 4th December 2008, 19:18 Quote
Quote:
Just to prove that you don't need to be all shooter-riffic to make some money from the PC too the sales figures for Garry's Mod were released recently too. The game, which is essentially a Lego-kit for the Half-Life 2 engine, has made the independent team behind the game more than $3 million in sales in just two years, though that figure only counts Steam sales.
Just to be pedantic, but Garry's mod is only available on Steam...

It is awesome though =D
CardJoe 4th December 2008, 21:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
Its easier to blame piracy for poor sales than to admit that the quality of some games is just below acceptable. Doubt you can expect most companies to come out and say 'Yeah. The game was kinda rushed and rubbish', much easier to say 'It's the Pirates. Oh wont somebody stop those evil people!'

Part of it I imagine is frankly also imagining that the best that you can do is the same as the best that anyone can do. There are some VERY talented people at Valve.
HourBeforeDawn 4th December 2008, 23:45 Quote
Valve I would say is one of the better gaming and business companies out there, sure they may take longer but typically its well worth it.
Grinch123456 5th December 2008, 03:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
Man oh man.

HL is what, ten years old now? A million copies a year isn't a bad sales trip.

That said, I don't see why they feel the need to tell everyone it's popular, when in most cases people are already aware of this?

Seems like Valve are just trying to inflate their testicle size.

If they get any bigger, they'll blot out the sun!
Matticus 5th December 2008, 09:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooseguy
Just to be pedantic, but Garry's mod is only available on Steam...

It is awesome though =D

I think you used to be able to get it straight from the garry's mod site, gmod9 I think you could. Maybe be wrong.

I bought the orange box from tescos for £15. I would have already had it on steam for ages but I don't have a credit card, and refuse to get one just for steam.
sub routine 5th December 2008, 09:39 Quote
aye, piracy is ruining the industry yeah?

OKOK it doesn`t help anything, but then neither does over inflated prices and sub-quality games.
StephenK 5th December 2008, 10:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Part of it I imagine is frankly also imagining that the best that you can do is the same as the best that anyone can do. There are some VERY talented people at Valve.

Yeah! I do wonder if part of it is just as simple as 'How come we don't sell as much?'. Valve has some amazing people in the game making end of things. Maybe this is why the Valve sales and marketing people don't need to make excuses for poor performance. I know piracy is a problem but it seems that some companies think it's the only reason for poor sales. I also fond of the notion some companies come out with that 'We predicted sales of this much. We sold less. The difference is clearly from piracy'... amazing stuff really.
D3s3rt_F0x 5th December 2008, 12:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
Why do you hate Steam? I have well over 30 games on it and never once did i have a problem. Except for when a damn tornado took their HQ down. Even then it was back online the next day. And the features are awesome. Like gift purchases.

He said when steam first came out on day one like I said it took 24 hours to download cs 1.6 everytime there was an update it got hammered to death and pretty crappy. Although I could see where they were coming from and where it was going and knew it would get better.

But it was bad when it started.
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
Man oh man.

HL is what, ten years old now? A million copies a year isn't a bad sales trip.

That said, I don't see why they feel the need to tell everyone it's popular, when in most cases people are already aware of this?

Seems like Valve are just trying to inflate their testicle size.

Possibly but why not? It's not like their making bad games and bragging about the sales.

But on the other hand they could also be bitch slapping all the companies that complain of poor sales and high piracy for poor quality games.
perplekks45 5th December 2008, 13:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D3s3rt_F0x
He said when steam first came out on day one like I said it took 24 hours to download cs 1.6 everytime there was an update it got hammered to death and pretty crappy. Although I could see where they were coming from and where it was going and knew it would get better.

But it was bad when it started.

Thanks. That was exactly what I meant. Back when Steam was new I hated it because it replaced a working system (WON) with a halfway-working system that kept crashing during updates and was just so much slower and complicated in comparison.
Today I have to say Steam (or look/feel-alikes) will be the future and given they introduce regional pricing anytime soon they improved on everything. Though I still miss the integrated MP3 player or is one available that I just can't find?
liratheal 5th December 2008, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinch123456
If they get any bigger, they'll blot out the sun!

But I like the sun :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by D3s3rt_F0x

Possibly but why not? It's not like their making bad games and bragging about the sales.

True enough, it is nice (In a way) to hear news not bleating on about piracy. I just hate Gabe Newell something awful, so when his company starts parading stuff that everyone pretty much knew anyway, it annoys me.
E.E.L. Ambiense 5th December 2008, 18:21 Quote
I would give congrats to Valve for this, but it's not needed. Their work on the product is enough to stand on its own.
Daveoh 27th November 2009, 17:28 Quote
Quote:
[Garry's Mod] has made the independent team behind the game more than $3 million in sales in just two years
The team (Team Garry) did not make $3million, here's why:
* 312,541 sales equates to 3,125,410 USD (assuming everyone paid in USD at $10 each, which doesn't happen now on the Steam store)
* Valve take a 50% cut, leaving 1,562,705 USD
* This gets converted into GBP at whatever exchange rate (let's say averaging 1.8USD per GBP)
* This leaves 868,169 GBP, which would probably be taxed at about 40% as an individual or 20% as a small company (from a quick look on HMRC), leaving 520901.4 GBP or 694,535 GBP respectively.

Admittedly it's still a lot of money to make from something that wasn't a job.
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