DayZ’s “Official” Alpha Was Even More Popular Than You Think

It’s a rarely discussed truth that it’s hard to sell a lot of copies of a PC exclusive. For every Diablo III, there’s a hundred games that don’t reach a very wide audience. So when an alpha is as successful as DayZ‘s, it’s worth sitting up and taking notice.

Keep in mind, this is, quite literally, an alpha; the game is buggy as hell and updates are coming thick and fast as the mod for ArmA II is turned into its own, standalone game. Oh, and you have to pay $30 or so to buy a copy. Not that this stopped, apparently, anyone, according to the DayZ Tumblr:

It has been a very busy week for the DayZ team: hree DayZ patches released; over 400.000 survivors have entered Chernarus; and over 40.000 concurrent users pushed DayZ Alpha servers to their limits…

For those unfamiliar, DayZ is a zombie survival simulator, in the truest possible sense of the word. It takes its cues from ArmA II, the game it was built on and a very strict sim: You won’t be headshotting somebody a mile away with a pistol. DayZ is similarly hardcore: You wake up on the coast of a massive island full of zombies, other players, and loot. You have to kill the first, kill and/or work with the second depending on whether they’re team players or bandits, and collect the last without dying. Oh, did we mention the zombies are crafty and dangerous? And that you’re unarmed? It’s the kind of game where you can die a slow, lingering death from blood loss as easily as getting eaten.

An entire subculture has sprung up around the game: There’s an in-game version of Ghandi who will heal any player, there are in-game slavers, and nobody will give you a high-five. If you want to give it a shot, it’s on Steam now. Just be ready to die horribly, and not because of the bugs.

DayZ Tumblr