Valheim popularity grows as it hits 5 million in sales

by Andrew Kulp

Only a month and a day after its release, Valheim has officially eclipsed 5 million copies sold, developer Iron Gate Studio announced on Wednesday — and the indie sensation is showing no signs of slowing down.

While it took a little while to get noticed (a whopping eight days to serve its first million customers), Valheim is officially a runaway success, chalking up another million roughly every five days since. That works out to about 200,000 people buying Valheim daily.

Those would be impressive figures for most titles. For a Windows and Linux-only early-access release from an indie developer, that’s practically unheard of.

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It has certainly seized the attention of the gaming media as well. Guides for playing Valheim seem to be everywhere, whether you’re just getting started or want to learn some advanced techniques — that column from Farmhacker.com on how to tame wild boar was a bridge too far for me (kidding). But some of the fortresses people are building and sharing online are no joke, like the ridiculously extravagant exact replica of Sauron’s tower from Lord of the Rings.

Forgive the tired expression, but you had to have been living under a rock the last few weeks to not stumble across some Valheim coverage.

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In case you somehow aren’t acquainted, a brief introduction is in order.

Valheim is a survival game that drops the player, a Viking, alone in the forest of a Norse world with no supplies except the clothing on your back. You forage the land for food and supplies, craft weapons and tools, build fires and shelters, and maybe knock off some mythical baddies along the way for storyline purposes. You can play solo or in parties of up to 10 people. It was developed by a five-person team at Iron Gate Studio and published by Coffee Stain Studios, a pair of Swedish companies.

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The game is available on Steam in its early-access form for $19.99.

I had to see what all the fuss is about, so I actually bought the game last night — was I No. 5 million and, if so, what is my prize? While I’m not the person to give any sort of in-depth review right now, having mostly spent my time fiddling around with the settings and dying, I can see the attraction.

As survival games go, Valheim seems highly accessible. My Viking wasn’t at risk of starving or keeling over for some other mundane, not-easily-detected reason, nor was I plunged into a part of the map where I was immediately under attack. As long as you’re cautious, there’s an opportunity for some leisurely exploration to get situated in your new world — which, by the way, is massive.

Visually, the game isn’t exactly jaw-dropping, but it’s polished enough, especially considering the scope of the project. Plus, it’s worth reiterating this is an early-access release, not the final product. Even the budget price point makes purchasing Valheim a fairly easy decision.

Though not a genre I ordinarily gravitate to, Valheim didn’t have me launching my controller in frustration (that honor belonged to my ancient laptop). To the contrary, I will go back to it, probably soon, and I think it would be even more enjoyable with friends.

Regardless of what I think, the masses have spoken in force. Valheim is now ranked as the 39th-best user-reviewed game in Steam’s history, while Twitch viewers have consumed over 35 million hours of gameplay streams, per a news release. The game is a hit.

It’s safe to say Valheim isn’t going away anytime soon, which pretty much leaves everybody with two options: try to tune out the fad, or put on your Viking hat and hop aboard the next longship to this new world.

Lead image credit: Iron Gate Studio

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