The game is the first major release from Stardock that hasn't been sold at retail, it was only available from digital distribution stores like Steam, GameStop, and directly from Stardock. The developer also revealed that Steam sales of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion in the first 30 days beat the combined sales of all physical retailers during the same period for the original Sins of a Solar Empire.
"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. This contradicts our projection that sales via Steam would share the overall digital pie we'd previously seen," said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. "Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion on Steam didn't cannibalize its GameStop or direct sales."
Wardell continued, "Normally, when you get sales figures, the publisher is talking about overall sell-in, not sell-through. But that figure is largely irrelevant, other than sounding awesome because anything that doesn't sell at retail later gets marked down or returned."
Stardock now plans to completely skip retail and will release The Political Machine 2012 and Elemental: Fallen Enchantress digitally through Steam, GameStop and other digital distributors.
"I remember it was somewhat dramatic in the community when we announced that Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion wasn't going to be at retail," said Wardell. "The reason was because we have moved away from having set release dates, which are largely announced for to kickoff presales, or for shareholders and retail distributors. Now we don't plan a release date until the game has reached a quality level where we feel comfortable doing so."
He continued, "Retailers require a six-month lead-in to reserve shelf space for indies, and that's if you can get in. By contrast, with Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, we didn't set a release date until after the public BETA feedback was universally positive."
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion was given a score of 8.5/10 on, when it was released back on 12th June, 2012.