Rust Is Making Really Rather A Lot Of Money

By John Walker on January 20th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Over the years of the existence of Garry’s Mod, it’s been a fun game to try to admiringly calculate just how rich it’s made creator Garry Newman. Since he’s been especially open with sales figures, and since the game is selling double the number of copies with each passing year, it means that currently he has most of the money that exists. And as the sales continue to increase exponentially, he’ll soon have infinity money, at which point money will be declared Over, and we’ll have to start again with some new system, where finances are based on emotional exchanges or something. So bearing all this in mind, with his disclosure to GI.biz that in one month Rust has already made 40% of GMod’s lifetime profits, be prepared for a worldwide financial collapse. Oh, wait, hang on… 55% now.

Let’s try to get a grasp on the sorts of figures we’re talking about here. Gmod has sold about 3.4 million copies. It currently costs £6, and has in the past cost more than that, and lots less in sales, so let’s be woefully inaccurate and put the figure at that £6 tag. Take off Steam’s 30%, and that gives us a figure of… £14.3m (before tax). Good GRIEF.

You might want to argue that figure down, but actually it’s probably pretty close. In March last year Newman revealed that the game had made $22m (£13.3m) so far, but didn’t break down if that was before or after Valve’s cut. Assuming after, and then adding on a 2013 that proved twice as successful as 2012, that’s not an unrealistic number. The big discrepancy may be that Valve could be taking a larger than normal cut, since the game is essentially built on their own properties.

Anyway, the point is: GOOD LORD WHAT A LOT OF MONEY. Which makes the news that Rust has brought in more than half of that in A MONTH a touch eye-watering. It is, admittedly, now spread across a 15 member team, but it’s still absolutely stunning. And best of all, there were no expectations of this. When Graham asked Newman last year whether he felt pressure over sales, he replied, “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.” HELLO MR WRONG.

Newman told GI.biz,

“Yeah – we never, ever expected anything to dwarf GMod’s success. I did some rough maths this morning: in terms of profits, from sales and royalties, in a month Rust has made about 40 per cent of what GMod has made in about nine years. We can’t really believe it.”

What I love best about all this is that it’s entirely deserved. A very talented man worked very hard and has been stupendously rewarded. We get to sit and stare in wonder, and imagine what sort of cruise we’d be going on if it were us.

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69 Comments »

  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    Up with this sort of thing.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Careful now.

      That is an astonishing amount of money for Gmod, and incredible that Rust is set to blow it out of the water. I would imagine Gmod is seeing a bit of a revival with the excellent Prop Hunt mod.

    • gamezglitchz says:

      22mil for this WTF

  2. tasteful says:

    i really hate how that dude spells his name

  3. Noodle says:

    Amazing what a group of excellent programmers can do when given the tools and freedom to sell it themselves, But props to valve too, this is what Steam nurtures, it’s a fantastic enabler.

    EA is probably spending an equivalent amount of money hiring HR managers to try and ‘figure this thing out’

  4. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    What’s the skinny on Rust? Is it worth a ping?

    • satan says:

      Well… the videos/stories going around are neglecting to mention the elephant in the room… hackers. The most popular hack seems to kill everybody in x radius with fall damage (referred to in game as suicide hacks/hackers, you’re walking along then you fall over, with the kill message saying you killed yourself). When I finally got far enough away from the spawn area that I wasn’t being automatically killed as soon as I respawned, I took a few hours gearing myself up, decided I’d go adventuring… and bam, suicide as soon as I got near a populated area. But this is only the popular hack of the moment, what really surprises me though is, I’ve never in my online gaming life (started with Quake) seen so many hackers (haven’t mentioned the noclip, speedhackers, skywalkers), in one place.

      Full disclosure: you can play on an empty or low population server and generally won’t see any hackers, however without a decent population to interact with, the game quickly loses appeal.

      edit:
      Just to clarify, I wouldn’t recommend the game until they take some big steps to stamp out the plague proportions of hackers.

      • Tei says:

        You mean cheaters/griefers. Hackers are people that write hacks. Lets admit here that the people doing that sort of thing have created nothing, just download a .exe from the internet and doubleclicked on it. You are not a hacker for the ability of downloading a file to a computer, you need a little more than that.

        • Gargenville says:

          You also need rollerblades and a vigilant eye for pi symbols.

        • derbefrier says:

          you know most people are not gonna care enough to make that distinction. You tired of people taking credit for your work or something? :P

          • Tei says:

            Well. I care. So I correct people using the term wrong.

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            Devan says:

            Yeah, I agree with Tei. Hackers deserve some respect (for their skill and know-how if nothing else), but griefers do not.

        • satan says:

          I call them hackers for expedience…

          Griefing is corpse camping, cheating is taking advantage of something broken about the game (e.g. sticking your gun through a wall and killing somebody on the other side), hacking goes beyond that and interferes with the game proper.

          If you think I’m going to say “persons using a combination of security flaws and/or third party programs not of their own original design or creation” as opposed to hackers, you’re dreaming.

    • neonordnance says:

      In a word, yes: It’s bloody well done, and already far more polished than Day-Z could wish for.

      The “hackers” are actually people who are taking advantage of loopholes that lets clients run certain CVAR commands, like auto-killing people through fall damage. While the official servers are still riddled with these exploiters (as of a few days ago at least), most private servers with active admins have already banned most of these exploiters, and most have also temporarily disabled fall damage, closing the auto-kill loophole.

      Plus the Rust team is focusing very heavily on it.

      TL;dr: use a community server, and it’s great.

  5. Low Life says:

    He’ll have to spend all that money to build storage for all that money.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    I vote we build a wall around Newman’s house and lock it, then wait for them to starve and take all their money.

  7. Lenderz says:

    Disclaimer – This isn’t specifically about Rust, rather the current sate of PC gaming and early access, Rust making all the money prompted my musing.

    Deeply concerned about this kind of thing honestly, I don’t like the way that Valve handles “early access” to incomplete games.

    I am not yet convinced its good for PC gamers to get access to incomplete games, in the days that people had to release a complete game in order to get a return on their investment, and ensure it was good. We are in a situation where the big publishers are releasing incomplete games as AAA finished titles (EA and Battlefield 4, Sega and Rome 2 for example) and overcoming their quality issues by putting so much marketing behind it they get their money back from pre-orders. Not by producing quality titles.

    Kickstarters and Steam Early Access isn’t ensuring quality and isn’t encouraging people to ever complete their games as they get to break even, or even deeply into profit prior to release, thus far this hasn’t been a major issue. But I fear it may be further down the road. I think that Steam/Valve has a responsibility to ensure that all Early Access games hit certain “fit for purpose” quality criteria and currently they don’t.

    With regards to indies and early access the only people I’ve had a modicum of respect for are Bohemia with Day Z SA early access that specifically says something like “don’t buy me I’m broken, unless you’re really keen” which has an element of expectation management.

    I’ve been eyeing Rust myself (I’m the problem) but the lack of information out there regarding project plans has made me reluctant to take part yet.

    I’m the problem with all this, and I’m the cause, I’ve purchased Prison Architect on Early Access, I’ve backed Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen, Satelite Reign, Massive Chalice, Project Godus, FTL, Double Fine Adventure, Republique (possibly more just off the top of my head). And I’ve arguably only been stung on quality once (Godus), and I realise many of these things wouldn’t be made at all without backing but I think that Double Fine Adventure is a good example here, it got backed too much, made too much money and had to change in scope and scale as a result and now is incomplete until it can make more moneys to fund its completion.

    Lots of things can go wrong with this and I love Valve for all they’ve done for PC gaming, but I fear this whole early access thing is creating an atmosphere where people cannot or will not complete projects and that the financial incentive to deliver quality completed goods is being removed.

    I realise this a bit of a ramble, and I’m glad that Garry is doing well, but I think I’ll steer clear of Rust for now. Garrys got a lot of cash, now finish the game and we can talk.

    • garrynewman says:

      This is totally totally the right attitude to have regarding Early Access.

      I’m sure some developers will put their game on early access, get 100 purchases then abandon it. Which sucks for those 100 guys that bought a crappy game.. but at the same time maybe that’s better than working on that terrible game for 2 years, throwing out pre-rendered trailers and then having 100,000 people buy a crappy game at the end.

      I don’t think rallying against Early Access is the way to go. It’s new. We need to find out which games, which development styles work with it. We’ve been putting out regular updates for GMod for 9 years.. so this development style fits us perfectly.

      Being a responsible consumer (which is what you’re doing) is the best way forward. We need more people like you.

      • Premium User Badge

        slerbal says:

        It is good to hear your opinion on this directly :)

        Personally I love Early Access even though I avoid Kickstarters – the reason for me is that I get to try the game immediately and support development of something that is more than just vapourware. Gnomoria, Invisible, Inc, Kerbal Space Program, Take On Mars, Door Kickers, and Xenonauts are all examples of games that I am really pleased to have supported in Early Access.

        However I think Valve needs to find some way to more effectively communicate what an Early Access title is. Most folks just aren’t savvy about the development process (and nor should they be). It also doesn’t help that there are many games that are “finished” on Steam that seem more Early Access than Early Access. That lack of a consistent definition is problematic.

        Good luck with Rust – though you already have a big success on your hands!

      • Ich Will says:

        There are many trustworthy developers, you among them who as you rightly say can potentially thrive on early access – but I’m not certain it’s as simple as “it sucks for those 100 people”. Look at the War Z, it ripped off tens of thousands of people, a cynical cash in that has pulled every underhand trick in the book, even to the point of renaming itself and rereleasing on steam. This adds to the general inability for consumers to do their due diligence, there are no reviews of early access titles that can be trusted due to the fact that the game may have changed dramatically since the review was published. Likewise for LP’s which tend to take a less critical view of a game anyway.

        So given that you cannot get reliable information on whether a game is of the required quality, given that you can’t scry into the future to see whether the game will meet it’s promises, is it reasonable to offer this without the ability to get a refund.

        Do you have information on how many of your customers have played for less than an hour? I would suggest that for them, early access of your game, which will undoubtedly be excellent, has not worked. If they ever do pick up Rust again, they have essentially lent you money in advance and could have got a better deal in an inevitable sale. If they don’t, they have had a bad early access experience.

        I understand why you like early access, it’s great to get money earlier than you would have otherwise, but it’s a shame that it gives you that by eroding consumer rights.

        TLTR: I don’t mind people buying in early but could you offer a demo or automatic (within limits) refunds to balance the inability of consumers to get accurate information on what your game is and what it will become?

      • Lenderz says:

        Oh my gosh, a reply from Garry himself, thanks for taking the time to reply to me, and please don’t feel I was particularly pointing you guys out as “the problem” (I’m definitely the problem, also remembered I’ve Door Kickers and KSP on early access) or having anything untoward going on, I don’t doubt that my sensible side will be overcome eventually the more I hear about Rust. I’m writing the below as you were kind enough to reply to my comment and it seems to a good opportunity to ask a content creator directly.

        I just feel I’d like more communication and more idea of when something is going to be “complete” in future before backing projects or supporting early access.

        As PC gamers Early Access tends to present us with a “chicken/egg” type of problem, if you want to support a project to completion pay now… but in doing so you may burn out before the project is complete, and there is little information on the Early Access pages on Steam explaining how much work is planned and in what areas (you may have this on your website) but looking at the Steam page for Rust it states:

        ““We are in very early development. Some things work, some things don’t. We haven’t totally decided where the game is headed – so things will change. Things will change a lot. We might even make changes that you think are wrong. But we have a plan. It’s in our interest to make the game awesome – so please trust us.””

        I’d like to know more when purchasing about what changes are planned? when do you see the game being complete? Will you be developing this for another 9 years or will you complete it in 2 then balance/patch it after that? What is the vision for the completed game? People may back now, loving what Rust is, and then you as a developer have the weight of expectation, in 3 years when you decide that what Rust needs is more Unicorns and Hugs alienating a proportion of your playerbase than wants more naked men and building stuff around people to trap them. (I do love the stories that Rust is already generating so Kudos).

        With Kickstarter projects (which have problems themselves) you get a pitch, so you get a better idea of what the planned final product will look like, Early Access doesn’t provide this, doesn’t seem to provide timescales until done, and exactly what your vision is. I realise this isn’t the place to provide such things, but how easy/difficult would it be for you to present this information on your Steam EA page? Can you update that Ad Hoc?

        Reading through a list of patch notes to understand what is happening with a title isn’t exactly a fun exercise. I think that Steam needs better guidelines for developers in this regard and to give you the tools to talk to the “potentially interested” community better it appears than people are able. May I ask what tools does Valve provide in this regard?

        One thing I really like about Kickstarters is getting my backer emails with information about how far along things are, problems that have been hit/overcome etc.

        Hope you don’t mind me asking.

        (Also Garry having just come across your Twitter page, I just learned you live down the road from me apparently, if I owe you a beer for being a pain let me know would be a honour – I realise you’re not responsible for the weaknesses I see within Steam and around Early Access)

    • Ocki says:

      Early Access is a very difficult topic. It really depends on the game and the attitude of the developer. Especially sandbox games are a two-edged sword. On the positive side they can be a lot of fun even in an early stage. My favorites in this case are Minecraft Alpha and Kerbal Space Program. At the time I bought them, they were already so much fun, I wouldn’t have been angry, if they stopped the development.
      On the other side, when is a sandbox game finished? In theory you can add new stuff till the end of time. I can see games never leaving early access stage because of this. Or what if a developer don’t want to finish a project? They got a lot of money, why not leave it this way? The system can easily be abused. The potential of fraud is pretty high.

    • Premium User Badge

      lurkalisk says:

      …Or perhaps new things require adaptation and patience. There are lessons to be learned, and you can’t really expect everyone to get it right on the first go.

      Star Citizen would be a good example here. We won’t know for awhile whether they’ve overcome some of these issues, but they’re certainly trying. Unlike most of these pay-before-it’s-done titles, plans and precautions are in place in an effort to keep the game on track (particularly in the case of feature-creep). Whether or not their efforts are enough, or in any way effective isn’t really my point, but rather that we’re adapting as expected. I’m not worried. I don’t think the whole games industry is going to melt down and cause a boredom provoked apocalypse any time soon. At worst, a few mediocre games will be played by some (gasp!), but in the long run I can’t see why this would be deeply concerning.

    • cautet says:

      I feel you have a point there somewhere but you seem to be mixing too many disparate points together.

      Early-access is vastly different to pre-ordering an AAA title, even though in both instances you are purchasing a game that is not yet ready for publication. The reasons it is different are in terms of expectations, transparency, and allowances you are being asked to make up front in an informed manner.

      With early access, you are not usually buying number 20 in a franchise from an AAA developer. You are supporting an indie developer both with your money and also bug testing their product to ensure that when it is finished it is as good as it can be. You are going into this with our eyes open to support the type of game you want to be produced. You are an active participant in improving the quality and variety of games on offer on the PC.

      With an AAA title you know the publisher has the resources to deliver a bug-free product. You know the quality of the development team, and the style of the game in advance usually, as it is often number 20 in a series of identical games. You will have seen trailers and previews of the game. You are purchasing the game on the understanding that once it is finished it will be delivered to you. You are paying your money early to get the game as soon as it is finished and some pre-order in-game and out of game items. You are passive, in fact so passive that if the game turns out badly you can’t even withhold you money to send a clear message to the developer.

      There is also the kickstart affair you mentioned which is not a pre-order really, but instead buying into a concept which you want to succeed, indicating at the earliest stage the games you actually want rather than the type of games you are offered by the small number of game publishers.

      The difference is in what you expect and what you are promised. You can actively choose to support a project and help it come to fruition which may give you a sense of satisfaction. But pre-ordering an AAA game is very different – it means you are purchasing a game on the strength of promises sold to you by the developers and publishers.

      • Lenderz says:

        You’re probably right, and I am, but having thought about this further during my Lunch Break I think my issue is that all three situations you’re being asked for money up front.

        1, AAA Megamanshoot 20 Total War – you have expectations, they’re asking for your money early to get shiny version (don’t trust them, but you know what to expect roughly.)
        2, Indies doing a Kickstarter – they have to do a sales pitch to you, and if you believe in the idea and want to see it made, give them money, the risk is that you might end up with a dud (Godus I’m looking at you).
        3, Steam Early Access – Giving Indies the money they need to complete their game. But there is little in the way of a pitch, little in the way of expectation management, and little in the way of knowing what will be made and what you’ll get for your £.

        I think my issue is mostly, that with option 3, the communication doesn’t seem to be there to manage expectations that option 1 and 2 provides.

        I think Valve needs to provide stricter guidelines around Early Access to those who want in, on how long a project can be in Early Access, and what kind of information needs to be given about a project.

    • Lobotomist says:

      I think Star Citizen is best example.
      The game made more money than I think they ever hoped to make, already, before even proof of concept alpha is existing.

      For all we know , they can hit some major development obstacle. Something they thought will work simply doesnt. The game could simply not be released in state it was promised. And nobody would be able to do anything about it.

      And this is supposing the developers are honest…

      I mean, they could simply kill the project and enjoy the money other games get after completion.

      • Entitled says:

        I’m pretty sure tha contract law doesn’t work that way, you can’t take away someone’s money with the promise that you spend it on bringing them a game, and then spend it on something else without providing the promised product. That’s called fraud.

        • Ich Will says:

          It’s only fraud if the developer set out to deceive you. If they can show that they tried to deliver the game they promised, well that’s all that they ever promised they would do and your contract heavily implies, given the nature of kickstarter, that you are fully aware of the risks of the venture.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Star Citizen’s likely to take the path of broken dreams. They’ve discovered they can make about a million a month by continuing to sell the fantasy. They’re probably just throwing things out to keep that money rolling in, without a distinct plan on how to deliver.

    • Turkey says:

      I feel like everybody talks like there’s a ton of opportunities for these developers to ship finished products and they should just go back to doing that or something. I’m not going going to say there aren’t any problems with Kickstarter and Early Access, but if you want to see PC ass PC games with more than a shoestring budget, there’s pretty much no alternative at this point.

    • Entitled says:

      Meh. The times they are a-changin.

      Buying “finished products” made sense when games were really products lining up on the store shelves like toothbrushes or microwave ovens, but it’s getting weird in such an online world where we follow every step of development before it even started, and the whole thing is more about a long term process than an end result.

      Especially with Kickstarters, where backers might want to see a proof-of-concept propotype ASAP to confirm that development is happening, and where their early feedback’s influence was always supposed to be one of the benefits of the model, and with other indie games that are essentially crowdfunded by selling them early in alpha.

      Some AAAs are trying to get best of both worlds by still promising a shiny complete product-game, but delivering an unfinished one that still needs patches. Those suck. Don’t buy them.

    • neonordnance says:

      Rust is nearly feature-complete and extremely playable. When a game is released in such a good state, it certainly deserves money. I am 100% satisfied in my decision to back it.

      So although I see your point, Rust is a terrible example of the problems you are describing.

      • Lenderz says:

        Actually if what you’re saying is accurate then my point stands.

        If its nearly feature complete why doesn’t the Steam Early Access page tell me that, I don’t get a clue what I’m buying from reading the Steam store page?

        What it actually says according to whoever wrote their Steam blurb ““We are in very early development.”

        My point being, Steam doesn’t have strong guidelines on how information around how far along things are in Early Access, you don’t know when you’re getting a complete product.

        • Sharlie Shaplin says:

          Yeah, they really need to do a better job of showing what the current state of a game is at the time your purchasing on Early Access. I would like to see a current and planned feature list on each game, rather than just a vague paragraph about the game.

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    strangeloup says:

    Obviously I want good indie games to succeed, even if they’re not to my taste.

    But it makes me a little bit sad that an Online Bastard Simulator has made half as much already as Steam’s premier pissing-about title; GMod is one of the most fantastically light-hearted, downright silly things ever, and I’d rather have more of that sort of thing than GRIM SERIOUS SURVIVAL AND ALSO A WHOLE BUNCH OF GRIEFING PROBABLY.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I’m all for the grim, serious survival. But the griefing is what’s holding me back from buying this right now.

    • Archangel says:

      Online Bastard Simulator

      That is now the genre title of This Sort of Game. You may proceed, gentlemen.

  9. garrynewman says:

    The 55% figure comes from royalties. Not revenue. (So after Valve has taken their cut)

    It’s blowing past GMod because our royalty rate is different, and it costs twice as much.

    Rust has sold 595,171 copies GMod has sold 4,310,804.

  10. rustybroomhandle says:

    One would have expected him to quit the business after the 1979 UK success of the hit single “Cars”. I bet he’s glad he kept at it!

  11. Caesar says:

    I’ve been following Rust since it first appeared on Steam and must say that it just might be the first FPS survival game I’m going to buy. Mod-Z was so terribly clunky and ugly that I couldn’t bare to play it much. It was also a mod and I resent those with all of my heart.

    The stand-alone version of Mod-Z will be ready in a year and I don’t think many of the current player play it anymore by the time the official release hits the fans (pun intended).

  12. Mr Chug says:

    A combination of curiosity and trust in Garry inspired by following his blog has got me raring to pick this up. A new baby (born on the same day as Garry’s, as it happens) making my gaming time next to non-existent is the only reason why I haven’t. Glad to hear Facepunch has found further success after its first game is a unique act to follow (looking at you, Mojang)

  13. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Jealous.

    Not of the money, of the talent.

    Maybe a little bit of the money.

  14. Tei says:

    I think this game has made so much money because two things. First: it continues with the popularity and the community created by GarrisMod. Second: this game is youtube friendly… is easy for youtubers to make a nice video about it and inject his own personality. Also at this point is somewhat a very hardcore experience, and these are rare since most games are optimized somewhere near the casual tastes.

  15. TechnicalBen says:

    “It currently costs £6, and has in the past cost more than that, and lots less in sales, so let’s be woefully inaccurate and put the figure at that £6 tag. Take off Steam’s 30%, and that gives us a figure of… £14.3m (before tax). Good GRIEF.”
    Did I hear a whimper last week about not selling games at affordable prices? Something about “devaluing” them, because the speaker thought value only existed in monetary form. Yeah, reality strikes back. £14m is not something to be sniffed at!

    • Dezmiatu says:

      Think of those millions more of pounds he will never see because he compromised on pricing. Everyone who owns the game was always going to buy it, but Garry fostered a mentality of fishing for deep discounts. Now those millions are still in the pockets of peon; neglected, scared, in isolation. If they’d found their way to Garry, he would give them a lavish, warm bank account with a welcoming community of millions of other pounds to foster communal support.

  16. Scare Tactics says:

    So yeah,,,R.I.P. PC gaming…

    • Vinraith says:

      This is a Steam game. For the moment, that means it’s also a PC game. Once Valve has moved entirely to their own hardware and OS, though, the distinction between “PC game” and “Steam game” is going to become awfully important.

  17. tk421242 says:

    For me it is all about what style of game it is that determines if I will get involved with it thru Early Access, Kickstarter or some similar process. I have zero desire to play an RPG before it is completed so games like Wasteland 2 I intentionally stay away from. An open world game were crafting and experimentation are at the core though I see no issue in playing early and I have done so with Minecraft, Project Zomboid, 7 Days to Die, Cube World, Star Bound and now Rust. These are games I buy into knowing very well that things will be changing and I accept the risk that they may just dry up in terms of development one day. Thus far I have not really been burned by any of them when I weigh the initial cost vs the time I spent playing them… if anything they have been great deals for me.

    As far as AAA studios though taking this approach I do not see it being an option for me since those games tend to be more linear experiences and I have no interest in playing those early.

  18. Koozer says:

    “We’re never going to recreate GMod’s popularity – it would be stupid to try.” Ha! Making many times more money than he expected to? What an idiot!