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Conan Exiles points to brighter future for Funcom

Survival game has recouped idev costs to date after selling 320,000 in its first week on Early Access

Funcom has recouped its investment in Conan Exiles within a week of launching the game on Steam Early Access, where the open-world survival MMO has already surpassed 320,000 sales.

Conan Exiles is priced at around $30, putting its total revenue before Valve's cut at around $9 million. Funcom, the developer behind The Longest Journey and The Secret World, said it was "deeply humbled" by the positive reaction the game has received in its early days.

"Funcom has gone through some challenging times in recent years, and seeing the game we have poured so much time and effort into gain this amount of traction so quickly is very invigorating for everyone who works here," said CEO Rui Casais in a statement. "This is just the start of the Early Access adventure and we will do whatever it takes to make sure Conan Exiles turns into a fully-fledged game that has something to offer new and old fans of both Conan and survival games."

Challenging times is a fair description of the last few years for the Norwegian studio. Like many MMO specialists, Funcom struggled as the online market shifted from premium to free-to-play, a difficult period that come to a head when its Lego MMO, Minifigs Online, didn't perform as expected.

When GamesIndustry.bizspoke to Casais in August 2015, he made it clear that the company was seeking an acquisition or investment to regain stability. That arrived in May 2016, when a combination of careful debt management and a $6.3 million investment left Funcom with $4 million with which to start development on a new project,

"This investment is a major turning point for the company," Casais said at the time, and how right he was. That money allowed Funcom to proceed with the development of Exiles, which Steam Spy estimates has now exceeded 360,000 owners on Steam. It is still early days, of course, but games like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved are case studies in just what can be achieved in the survival genre in Early Access.

To that end, Funcom has now released a Conan Exiles Dev Kit, which will allow its users to create mods for the game - a vital component in the success of other survival games.

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