How one VR studio sold 100,000 copies of its $20 game

Above: Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades.

In February 2016, Anton Hand emailed Valve’s Chet Faliszek with details about some of his previous work with Unity and experiments in VR.

Hand was one of the earliest backers of the Oculus Rift on Kickstarter, and earlier at the University of Buffalo, he spent time working with a CAVE VR system. One of the experiments he said he built back then was a shooter level with pistol, shotgun and a few other guns.

Faliszek sent Hand a Vive Pre for free, as he had done many other times for developers looking to explore VR. Using that previous knowledge and experience, after two days with the headset, Hand posted a video to YouTube showing the fundamentals of loading a gun and shooting targets in VR.

When the Vive launched two months later, RUST LTD. put the first version of Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades (H3VR) up on Valve’s Steam for $19.99. It has never been on sale and never been bundled with headsets, so when Hand tells me they’ve sold more than 95,000 copies of the game through Steam — the math is neat. At the current rate they’ll clear 100,000 copies not long after the game turns two years old. That’s roughly $1 million in gross sales per year, with Valve taking an estimated 30 percent cut.

The core team at RUST LTD. is Hand (CTO) with Lucas Miller (CEO), Luke Noonan (President), Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz (COO) working with a “network of friends, colleagues, contractors who have worked with us on past contract work and projects,” according to Hand. The gun models in the game come from a variety of sources, including licensed, commissioned and donated.

“We’ve had people just show up the past two years and just straight up donate to us AAA-quality firearm models,” Hand wrote. “Because they want them in the game, and…

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Peter Bordes

Exec Chairman & Founder at oneQube
Exec Chairman & Founder of oneQube the leading audience development automation platfrom. Entrepreneur, top 100 most influential angel investors in social media who loves digital innovation, social media marketing. Adventure travel and fishing junkie.
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