Dave the Diver: Nexon's Approach to "Fun First"
MintRocket was publicly announced as a sub-brand of Nexon in May 2022. A few months later, in October, the studio released Dave the Diver (DtD) in Early Access. Nine months after that, the game launched globally, at the end of June this year. Since then, it has sold more than 1.7M units and received generous critical acclaim. It topped the global Steam charts for two weeks after its release and reached 1M unique players 10 days after its global launch.VGChartz summarizes the game as a mix of the following:
- An adventure, RPG, management hybrid
- Casual combat and gathering gameplay with rogue-like elements
- Eccentric characters with a lighthearted narrative
- A beautiful sea environment with attractive 2D/3D Art
- Ample additional content to complement the main gameplay loop
It is reported to be one of Nexon's best-ever sales results for one of its PC/Console games, the same source even reports the game could trigger a small revolution in the Korean game development industry with the potential to start changing rival companies' game portfolios.
DtD can best be categorized as a simulation game, and it has done very well this year when compared to other games in the genre. It has strongly outperformed genre competitors like Kerbal Space Program 2, Undisputed and Dwarf Fortress, but the recently-released Cities: Skylines II is in a different class – its cumulative revenue surpassed DtD's lifetime revenue in week one.
Line up all games that share Simulation and RPG as their main genre released in the last five years and DtD can be found at number six in the revenue top 10:
In short, DtD's commercial success is definitely one to applaud for an estimated <$10M development budget. Today, we'll dive deeper than Dave himself into the company that created him, how it pulled off this success story, whether it can replicate it, and what the industry can learn from this.
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