Garry On Garry’s Mod’s Endlessly Rising Sales Figures

By Graham Smith on November 25th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

The face I would make all the time if I was Garry.

Last week, Garry Newman tweeted a sales chart that backed up what we already knew: that his game Garry’s Mod is extremely successful and that its sales have not slowed down since its release back in 2006. The extra detail was a little surprising though. July 2013 was the game’s best month ever in terms of copies sold, the number of copies sold doubles each year, and it has sold 3.5 million in total since launch.

Even accounting for Steam sales, those are remarkable numbers. I emailed Garry to ask him how this has happened, and also why, and also how, and what? Fwuh?

RPS: How? Why? How? What? Fwuh?

I think there’s been a few things over the years. I’m guessing here – I obviously don’t know for sure.

  • Steam’s ever increasing popularity.
  • User generated content plays a massive role. Some of the gamemodes in GMod are like games of their own – so when a new gamemode gets released more people buy.
  • Team Fortress 2, Portal content. People play the games and want to play with their contents… we made sure to allow that stuff as much as we could.
  • Team Fortress 2 going free to play must have attracted a lot of people to the universe.
  • When Source Filmmaker was released a lot of people said things like “Valve just KILLED GMod”. But I’m guessing a lot of people unaware of GMod played with SFM, made a movie – and wanted a stupid effect that they’d seen in another movie… which was made in GMod. So they got it.
  • YouTube and Twitch in recent years have had a massive effect. If 15 million people see someone having fun in your game it’s going to make them want to play.
  • Minecraft. You’d think Minecraft would kill GMod’s popularity… but it’s kind of the opposite. People play Minecraft to death – they love it.. so they go out looking for other games that are a bit like it. Minecraft has attracted a lot of people that aren’t really PC gamers too. They play the game on the 360 or the iPad and everyone tells them that the PC version is better.
  • And of course Steam Sales.
  • RPS: Does this put a different kind of pressure on Rust, your next game?

    We decided a long time about to not give that much of a fuck about sales. We’re never going to recreate GMod’s popularity – it would be stupid to try. If we can make a game we’re proud of, it pays for itself and allows us to make another game – we’re very happy.

If you’re wondering how much money all those sales add up to, the figure was around $22 million back in March of this year. Not all of that money goes into Garry’s pockets, but I asked when he expected to possess all the world’s wealth, and he said that they “have it penned in for 2019, but that date might slip up to 6 months.”

I’m glad that all this success has befallen a game which is about creativity in all its forms, from ambitious new game modes to the childish joy of taping a ragdoll to a rocket-propelled minecart.

For more on the past and future of Garry’s Mod, check out Craig’s trio of features from last year.

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46 Comments »

  1. Awesumo says:

    I bought a copy in… hmm.. July.. It was dirt cheap in the summer sale.. I spent an hour getting confused then drove a hovercraft to the hills in the distance… turns out that there was an invisible wall about half way there… oddly though I could still look back and see the chaos I had created in the starting area, even though it was miles away.
    I would all in all describe it as an intriguing confusing mess to a beginner… which isn’t a bad thing.

    • Leb says:

      With all the tool and tricks, I honestly get lost every time I get back to it. I usually end up sticking rockets up the ass of a ragdoll doctor kleiner and see if I can into space.

      If not that then trouble in terrorist town, if you can find a server with a mature community rather than 15 year olds it’s one of the best player driven type of experience out there IMO.

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      Cinek says:

      I played it for like… 15 minutes and gave up. No clue what ppl see in it.
      I also wonder how many of people bought it “just because it was dirt-cheap” and never played longer than an hour.

      • Apack990 says:

        I understand that it can be a bit hard to get to grips with but once you play around with it for an hour and two and explore the different things to do (e.g. make screen shots, mess about trying to make cool vehicles or jumping into the sea of user generated game modes) it becomes enjoyable to the point of addiction.

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          Cinek says:

          Nope, it’s not about controls. I didn’t have any problem with that. Just… in general… yea, blank space with tons of toys, but nothing really interesting to do with them. I found this mod completely uninspiring. Perhaps it’s more fun if you play it with friends, but even than – I prefer some games that got something fun to do than an endless cycle of building and destroying with no real sense of achievement or… well: doing something.

  2. Viroso says:

    I can’t get into it. I join a room and then have some fun but everyone’s doing cool things and I have no idea how to do any of it.

    • Williz says:

      I get the same issue too but then I get bored and start griefing everyone on the server… I’m the worst sort of person. This is why I stick to Zombie Survival, minigames and TT

    • Shadowcat says:

      It’s multi-player? Weird; I don’t think any of the videos I’ve ever seen suggested that. Is it just a shared space for people to do silly things in?

      • p14c3b0 says:

        I mean its a source game… you can play it alone or join a server.

  3. Robslap says:

    I wonder if the July sales spike coincides with the Yogscast putting out their gmod videos on youtube… ?

  4. Koozer says:

    For a surreal few moments I was sure you were talking about Gary Numan.

    • Shadowcat says:

      See the thing about Gary Numan right? Is he’s a pop star… but he’s also got a pilot’s license! Imagine that!

  5. Stevostin says:

    Note this: price is dropping year after year. So while copies sold increase, income probably doesn’t, or not that much.

    • garrynewman says:

      The price hasn’t ever dropped. It’s always been $10. (Unless you mean temporary sales).

    • ShowMeTheMonkey says:

      You just got sassed by the man himself.

      Oh. I once saw Garry at Vodka Revs many, many years ago. You actually hit on one of my friends and added her on Facebook.

  6. Piecewise says:

    Better turn the comments off on this article too, otherwise someone might bring up the fact that anita is a massive fucking fraud who doesn’t play the games she whines about and just steals footage from LP’ers. And that her research involves 10 minutes on TVtropes and another 10 furiously skewing the information to her own desires.

    • Shadowcat says:

      And Bernard; wow, does does he ever suck. He shoplifts chocolate bars, trips up dachshunds, and insults your favourite aunt.

      (This is the “criticise completely random people thread”, yeah?)

      • Shadowcat says:

        Ah, it really was irrelevant — I can see they posted the exact same comment in the FIFA article.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Oh, I see. This gentleman is angry because John’s put up another of his soapbox “nobody may reply” posts.

          (Honestly, the solution to those is to just not read them in the first place.)

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            DrScuttles says:

            But, but, but, how else will anyone know exactly how all-consumingly furious they are? Stop being blinded by reason and sense you scum gargling sheeple, you!

      • Bull0 says:

        I read that in a (probably offensive to somebody, so, sorry) monty python old woman voice as if you were Bernard’s grandmother, and it really brightened my afternoon. Thanks! :D

      • Dezmiatu says:

        Graham goosed my mother and she was disappointed with his technique. His unwillingness to answer her calls so she can help him improve his methodology is a big slap to the whole family.

    • NailBombed says:

      ^ To OP: Get over yourself and cop on.

  7. LionsPhil says:

    I finally grabbed this for next-to-nothing in a sale, and was somewhat disappointed to discover just how awkward it is to do anything in it. Even the UI for making ragdolls pull silly faces is lousy (unless I am seriously missing something—possible—you have to bring up a full-screen overlay to tweak the sliders, and thus see the face through this semi-transparent pane), and binding controls to the car I was building was misery. Plus it seems the only way to remove certain types of join is to undo, which has obvious ordering and savegame constraints, or disconnecting all of them and starting over.

    It makes that Concerned webcomic all the more impressive. The guy must have the patience of a saint.

    • ZackRoyer says:

      It does a lot of things, it’s you that don’t know how to do those things.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Given my complaint is one of interface, yes?

        • Malarious says:

          Serious question: did you check out any of the tutorial videos? The game’s interface is quite complicated, yes, but it’s explained quite well, and once you get the hang of it, it becomes a lot easier.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yes, some. But for a concrete example, is there one that tells me how to, for example, remove ropes that I placed many actions ago?

            These are maybe petty, little things, but that’s why I’m kind of surprised it has rough edges like this so many years and updates after release.

    • Kollega says:

      Protip: you don’t have to use the big wonky overlay menu. You can use the Context Menu (hotkey in my case, and maybe by default, is C) to bring up a smaller version of the face/finger-poser menu that lets you see what you’re doing. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!

  8. DickSocrates says:

    I’m at a time in my life where I get anxious if I feel I’m wasting what time I have left. I would have probably liked Garry’s Mod if it had been around when I was anything up to the age of 22. But now it just looks like a giant waste of time. I need goals, I need structure, I need to feel an author’s intent somewhere (doesn’t have to be storyline, just overall mood). Garry’s Mod has none of these things, in fact, it always feels labotomised and sterile. “Crazy” things happen in a neutral nightmare world where just outside the room is nothing. Ragdolls get flung around but nothing actually happens.

    I’d argue that 99% of what goes on in Gmod isn’t all that creative. It looks like creativity, but it’s just play. Play is never nearly as creative as people like to pretend to themselves. Messing about usually ends right there, nothing is created, there’s nothing to take forward or use anywhere else. Strapping a rocket to something or posing a funny face is not creative and doesn’t achieve anything beyond “LOL”, which serves a purpose but is gone as soon as it appeared. If you want to be creative, don’t flush all those impulses down the toilet of Gmod or Minecraft. They are fun but they are a dead end.

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      DrScuttles says:

      While messing around sticking rockets to chairs and shooting cars from rocket launchers is just playing around, what of webcomics, videos or pictures made from Gmod? Granted, I’ve seen my fair share of Gmod videos on Youtube that were just plain bad, but I’m reminded of messing around with video cameras as a teen; a bunch of friends with no plan and all day to spend filling a VHS tape with nonsense. Playing with these tools made me want to take those very amateurish skills further.
      Or maybe I’m just trying to justify the hours spent posing an Enterprise-E bridge scene.

    • helicomatic says:

      This is a long way to say “I don’t like this game or the people who play it.”

  9. Premium User Badge

    Clavus says:

    Garry’s Mod has been a major part of my gaming life, and a big influence on my path of game development. It taught me a lot about the inner workings of Source, and professional 3D engines in general. Like how maps are structured and optimized, how networking is handled and what is done to smooth the experience. All that without having to dive into the arcane C++ code provided by the Source SDK.

    Also the community itself is amazing. A Russian internetfriend of mine is working on a Hotline Miami gamemode for Garry’s Mod now (previously he developed ‘Stop It Slender’, which was quite a hit). Having seen his progress, I can not imagine how it’s not going to be downright awesome.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Ham Solo says:

    Well, the things about GMod that let me come back over and over again are some of the game mods (mainly Murder and Prop Hunt), and just dicking around. Like downloading some pack with 40 different, realistic bombs/rockets and a gib/gore mod, and then blasting the ever loving shizzle out of a horde of zombies.

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    strangeloup says:

    I really like the idea of both GMod and SFM, but in practice the path to actually doing anything worthwhile seems so tortuous that I never get anywhere.

    Either that or I am just really, really shit at the interface and such.

  12. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    The first two links that refer to a ‘trio of features’ point to the same article. I guess one of those is supposed to link to A Brief History Of Garry’s Mod: Community Contraptions.

  13. President Weasel says:

    I wish to register an Official Lack of Pun Complaint, to wit: this piece was not titled “Garry on my wayward son” or a riff on any number of Carry On movies. I was genuinely puzzled by the lack of punning in the title and spent a few seconds trying to find a pun that wasn’t there.

    Please do not let this happen again.

  14. frank3n says:

    So tired of seeing and hearing about this “game”. I mean, it has some dude’s name attached to it, with one ‘R’ more than necessary. Eww. Just let it die already.

  15. Furius says:

    My favourite thing about Garry’s Mod is the name. This nigh-on infitne world of creativity has the least crreative name possible. It’s genius.

  16. Darkhorse says:

    I was a moderator at counter-strike.net which bought me a job at csnation (a fansite) that was hosted there. gaRRy newman made a comedy subsite there (i just found out i used to hang out with a millionairre to be and now i’m jealous, thanks for reading)

  17. mda says:

    Played it a bit years ago, started by making a cart with wheels I could ride in, then a basket that I could stand in and float using balloons, then and a hover vehicle and eventually a space craft. Fun mod!