I Expect You to Die‘s cheeky debonair humor has paid off. Developer Schell Games announced today that the escape-the-room virtual reality game has earned more than $1 million since its December launch. It’s available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.
Founder Jesse Schell has been working with virtual reality since the ’90s, when he was the creative director of Walt Disney Company’s VR Studio. Under his leadership, the Schell studio has developed six VR games so far. In an interview with GamesBeat, Schell said that I Expect You to Die was their first serious VR project. It put players in the stylish shoes of a James Bond-esque secret agent. Over the course of four missions, they solve puzzles, escape death traps, and thwart villains. Schell Games will also be releasing new content for it later this year with a project called First Class.
“Our top priority with [I Expect You to Die] was to make a game that looked and felt great in VR, and that meant tremendous attention to every little detail of how things looked, interacted, and played,” said Schell in an email. “I think the combination of fun escape-the-room mechanics, immersive gameplay, and highly stylized atmospheric environments are something that people really get into, even when they are brand new to VR.”
VR is starting to see some breakout hits. Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator passed $3 million in revenue. SteamSpy estimates Google’s Tilt Brush has made around $3.6 million, with approximately 182,500 people owning the app at $20 a pop. I Expect You to Die can also be counted among the successes.
According to industry analyst SuperData, the VR industry generated an estimated $1.8 billion in 2016, with 6.3 million headsets shipped. SuperData also predicts that the market will grow to $37.7 billion in 2020. Schell has disputed these predictions, asserting instead that the it will likely only be a “$7.5 billion to $22.5 billion market by 2025.” He’s cautious about how quickly it can grow, but he’s a big believer — particularly in social VR.
“I think developers are learning that that VR worlds must be richer and more thoughtfully designed than normal game worlds,” said Schell. “The most noticeable place the VR will be going in the next year or two will be into the realm of multiplayer. Schell Games deeply believes in the emotional power of multiplayer VR, and our next project will have a heavy focus in that direction.”