"It's a marathon, not a sprint," says CliffyB on LawBreakers' low player count

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Update August 11, 2017: As we reported in our original story a couple of days ago, LawBreakers' PC launch has been pretty disappointing, despite critical praise. It has fewer players than Battleborn did at launch, and it's ranking lower on Steam than a random CPU overclocking program. 

BossKey studio head Cliff Bleszinski isn't worried, though - he's convinced those numbers will pick up as word spreads. 

While desperately trying to find a match, read up on all the roles, weapons and abilities in Lawbreakers.

"It's a marathon not a sprint," Bleszinski tells Eurogamer. "I'd rather be the underhyped game that slowly ramps up into something that people adore than something that comes out with way too much hype that there's a backlash for, which is why I think the Steam reviews are so positive."

Bleszinski points to League of Legends as a reference. The biggest game in the world right now started its life as a mod for Warcraft 3. Now it's this global phemomenon. He'd rather keep supporting the game than just churn out a sequel, too. 

"It's one of those things," Bleszinski continues, "we're not doing the traditional pop of what triple-A is. We're feeling out this new space, much like Hellblade is, for what for lack of a better term is double-A. That flash-in-the-pan pop, to be frank, comes from those traditional publicly based publisher companies that are addicted to their earnings on Wall St, and that works for many of them - for your Activisions and EAs - but we're trying to forge a new model here, which is the tortoise versus the hare."

We've had Phil playing the FPS - here's the PCGamesN LawBreakers review-in-progress

Original Story August 9, 2017: Despite getting decent reviews, gravity-bending FPS LawBreakers is struggling to keep an active player base just days after release. It failed to launch within the top 100 games on Steam, and even Battleborn, the poster child of launch flops, had higher player numbers at this point in its life.

According to GITHYP, the final release for LawBreakers saw a whopping 60% reduction over its initial beta player count. Launch night saw only a peak of 3k players, which is pretty bad when compared to Battleborn’s 12k.

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like it was just a rough start, as since then the numbers have only gone down. Daily lows are already dropping to below 1,000 players, and the peaks are also going down as the days go by. Tuesday, the day after launch, saw a reduction of 300 people, giving a peak of only 2.7k.

For most players, this might not be too big of an issue in the short-term, as 1,000 is more than enough to find at least one match going at any given moment. In the long-term, though, it doesn’t bode well for continued support, as that number is almost definitely going to fall even lower without some major work from developers Boss Key.

Considering Battleborn performed better than LawBreakers and still went free-to-play, maybe the future for Boss Key’s shooter is already set in stone? After all, the game was initially meant to be free-to-play before an early change to being a premium title.

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Ananym avatarYesIAmTheSpaceman avatarPædrö avatarRock1m1 avatar
Ananym Avatar
94
1 Month ago

It's a shame. The game itself plays wonderfully - I had forgotten arena shooters could be this much fun. However, the marketing visuals with painful hashtags (#SkilledAF anyone?), combined with bad rap music and excessively edgy character writing, make for an extremely unappealing product. I don't know who they thought their market was, but I hope they're not surprised by these numbers.

It's a shame it's such a disservice to what is, marketing aside, a great product.

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Rock1m1 Avatar
371
1 Month ago

Sounds like Cliffy B did the marketing to target himself.

1
YesIAmTheSpaceman Avatar
10
1 Month ago

Unfortunately it's inevitable - most fps gamers have hit a brick wall when it comes to team shooters. Also, are we talking at Battleborn's launch or Overwatch's launch in terms of Battleborn player count? Because Lawbreakers had a peak concurrent player count of 3000 as of yesterday. After Overwatch released, Battleborn dropped to below 1000 within 2 weeks, so the player count for Battleborn was much lower than LawBreakers

Basically, Battleborn hit 12k concurrent for one sole reason: it was 'lucky' enough to be the one team shooter that got to beat Overwatch to the draw. I say 'lucky' with quotations because if you asked Gearbox if trying to rush to beat Blizzard to the gate was a good idea, I'd imagine you'd get a resounding 'no'. LB has that one thing going for it: people may be potentially looking for a new team shooter, since Overwatch has essentially hit a Destiny level of stagnation at the 1 year mark and is even recycling Lucioball (which made sense due to Lucio being, y'know, Portuguese: makes zero sense when we're talking about Australia)

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Pædrö Avatar
3
1 Month ago

I totally agree with both your points. I found Lawbreakers appealed to the arena shooting fan in me in terms of game mechanics but everything else is just... wrong. Besides, even though it's not really an arena shooter (at least as I see them), I find that I can scratch that itch somewhat with Titanfall 2, which is also a very skill heavy game and one that also was affected by a lower than expected population according to reports but that has been properly supported and has seen an increase in player count as of late, no doubt helped by the Origin Access integration.

The thing is, there are just way too many games and most of the multiplayer focused games are designed to draw in players for as many hours as possible. Hopefully these kinds of games manage to survive and not fall into obscurity because we need fresh experiences.

And by the way, just for the record, Lucio is Brazilian and not Portuguese. As a Portuguese myself, I'd love to see how a Portuguese character would be designed though, be it in Overwatch or any other character heavy game.

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YesIAmTheSpaceman Avatar
10
1 Month ago

My mistake on Lucio: would you believe me if I said I might be the first person not thorough in their OW lore? Say what you will about it, that's a fanbase that knows their character backstories

With Lawbreakers even if it ends up going f2p, I have to admit I'm enjoying it

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Pædrö Avatar
3
1 Month ago

Hehe, I totally believe you. I'm not that much of a lore person on non-story games as Overwatch, although I understand people liking that aspect of it when a company like Blizzard goes to such great lengths to develop it. In this particular case it just so happens that, being Portuguese and not knowing a single game that has a Portuguese character in it (apart from FIFA), well... :)

Glad you're enjoying it. Hopefully the game will continue to be supported for a long time.

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Rock1m1 Avatar
371
1 Month ago

1000 players is nothing when you consider regions. It is impossible to play this game if you have to play with someone in another region and accept the server latency in between.

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