The Stanley Parable has sold more than 100,000 copies, much to the happy surprise of its developer, Galactic Cafe. Though the quality of the game undoubtedly had at least something to do with its success, so did a clever combination of free Stanley stuff.
In a postmortem, Galactic Cafe ruminated on the triumphs and failures of launching The Stanley Parable, including the demo, which dropped on Steam a week prior to the full game's launch and enjoyed an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 downloads. "Essentially we got the press equivalent of two video game launches," the post reads.
Then there was the cadre of Let's Play videos on YouTube and social media posts that bolstered coverage. "Give people a reason to talk, that's all we aimed for, and the rest sorted itself out. Release a whole bunch of things for free in fairly quick succession, then at the end of it put a price tag on the last one," Galactic Cafe suggested. "It was a lot of extra work, but the results feel very much worth it."
The Stanley Parable is a first-person exploration game in which players assume the role of Stanley, a worker drone who one day finds all his coworkers have upped and vanished. In our review, we called The Stanley Parable an "attempt to help you discover who you are" – a personal experiment conducted on players that is "something we should all celebrate."