Dwarf Fortress released on Steam on December 6th and by the end of the month it had sold half a million copies. That's according to the monthly Bay 12 Games report, in which its developers traditionally share their revenue figures from player donations. Now they have Steam sales figures to share.
"Thanks to everybody that helped out in December," writes Tarn Adams in the update. "The launch went great - we won't have all the specific numbers until mid-February when everything has been processed through Valve and Kitfox, but the game sold almost half a million copies in December, which is awesome."
The infamously complicated (and wonderful) colony sim has been in-development for 20 years, and for the duration has been free to download and play but supported by players who donate via PayPal or Patreon. Its Steam release was co-developed alongside Kitfox and costs £25, for which you get a version of the game with a better UI, mouse controls, tutorialisation, an official tileset and more.
It's still possible to download the original version of Dwarf Fortress for free and to donate the old ways. Bay 12 Games received $15,635 this way in December, for a total of $164,666 for the year of 2022. That's more than in any previous year, stretching back until 2007.
I don't normally write 'look how many copies this game sold' stories, because unless you're a shareholder, why should you care what a thing sells? We're not a business site. I care in the case of Dwarf Fortress, because the game and its development have brought me tremendous joy for over a decade, and because its success now should guarantee that the humans behind it can continue its development for decades to come.
The December report also says that more bug fixes, quality of life features and the Arena mode are on the way to the Steam release. After those, they'll start work on bringing Adventure mode to the Steam version. Adventure mode turns Dwarf Fortress into a roguelike played upon the same generated world as the colony sim mode. It's great and an approachable way to start playing the game.