Sales skyrocketed after 'Rust' added female character models

Player count nearly doubled and sales jumped 74 percent for the open-world survival game.

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When Rust creator Garry Newman introduced female character models to the open world survival game, he said the idea was rooted in a social experiment: He wanted to see if lady characters would be attacked more or less because players might perceive them as being weak or vulnerable, respectively. What actually happened caught him off guard. Despite internet rage about gender being randomly -- and permanently -- assigned to Steam usernames, it's actually increased the amount of players.

According to a tweet from Newman, sales increased by 74 percent when the update was released and overall player count nearly doubled for a period, "which is the opposite of what many said would happen," he tweeted.

Typically when updates roll out, like last year's that introduced randomly assigned skin color and faces, there'd be a slow but steady increase over months, rather than a sudden uptick. Newman tells Kotaku that outside of Steam sales, he's never witnessed these types of numbers before.

"We're seeing a lot more positivity around the change than negativity," he says. "It's still a bit of a novelty right now, but I'm guessing in another couple of months it will just exist without acknowledgement just as the skin color stuff." Let's hope he's right.
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