Indie dev Stardock abandoning retail for digital

The success of Stardock's online-only Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is causing the independent developer to lean toward digital over retail for the future.

Rebellion marked the first time Stardock skipped the retail space entirely, opting to sell the game via Steam, GameStop's digital platform, and its own website.

The studio wrote on its blog that its sold 100,000 units of Rebellion since its launch in June, and in just 30 days, the game has exceeded the first-month retail sales of Sins of a Solar Empire, its predecessor.

"When we combine our direct sales of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion with the sales from GameStop, we see unit sales similar to what we've seen previously when at retail," said the president and CEO of Stardock, Brad Wardell. "This contradicts our projection that sales via Steam would share the overall digital pie we'd previously seen. Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion on Steam didn't cannibalize its GameStop or direct sales."

Stardock has decided to experiment with the digital-only model again with its two upcoming titles, The Political Machine 2012 and Elemental: Fallen Enchantress — choosing Steam and other online distribution services instead.

With a move away from retail, Stardock said it could work on products until they deem them ready, rather than announce a hard release date months in advance. The company is currently re-evaluating its overall strategy.

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