Lawbreakers seems to be doing very poorly on Steam

Lawbreakers seems to be turning into another one of those sad reminders that even renowned game designers have their failures from time to time.

The magic touch of Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal Tournament, Gears of War) hasn’t been enough to save this online shooter. Lawbreakers pretty much limped out of the gate and hasn’t been improving its numbers since release last month. In fact, VG247 notes that the game’s Steam Chart shows that the title has crashed from a peak of 7,482 players during testing to a mere few hundred gamers on any given day.

Keeping a critical mass going is important for PvP shooters, so it’s obvious that something needs to be done to bolster the population. One possible approach would be to make the game free-to-play and look at other revenue streams instead of box sales.

On the plus side, the game did get a shot of free publicity with a recent Penny Arcade comic strip, so there is that. It’s also possible that the PlayStation 4 numbers are much higher and capable of sustaining the game if PC cannot.

Source: SteamCharts via VG247
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37 Comments on "Lawbreakers seems to be doing very poorly on Steam"

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James Mock

Weird, it is like the market is oversaturated or something.

MrEllis
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MrEllis

He is going to be very upset with PC Gamers…

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Jack Pipsam

It’s doing worse than Brink lol

Not that I am complaining, it’s been a blast playing Brink again.

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Bannex

Weird, a #pvp4lyfe #madskillz #twitchordie #ultrafastpvp #getwrekt #wtfpwnleet isn’t doing very well? Odd I thought everybody wants a hardcore no punches pulled pvp experience.

Oh wait that is just the vocal minority that has been driving games in the wrong direction for the last 10 years finally showing their true numbers.

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Mr Poolaty

I didn’t see this one coming…
I mean hello COD went down this path one too many times and failed miserable with their last hey let’s fly off walls and through the gd sky…
I mean who thought a FPS in a futuristic setting with Peter Pan type physics sprinkled on was going to work?

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Siphaed

So let me get this straight: Cliffy B. leaves EPIC mid-development of Fortnite in order to go create his own little game studio and basically make an Unreal Tournament clone? And now Fortnite is doing okay/well in a paid Alpha state while his UT clone Lawbreakers is doing badly in a launch state. Is that about right?

Buahahahahahahahhahaha!.. oh, well sorry for the other developers attached to this project, anyways.

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Ryan Keilhofer

I really love this game. I play it pretty much once a day for about 3-4 rounds. Its the only one out there that has this level of intense action in my opinion.

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Nater

The market is over saturated with these types of games right now. It’s like it was a few years back with MOBAs and ARPGs. No point in having two pair of the same shoes. You know?!

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Sorenthaz

Kind of hard to justify buying or even playing it over Overwatch which basically does the same -core- stuff buthas like 3-4x thecharacters (half are mirrors in LB). Also LawLawbreakers tries to get away with doing the lootbox stuff too that OW does.

So literally they tried to jump in and compete with Overwatch with not enough stuff to set it apart. They also had the balls to sell it with only a $10 price difference vs Overwatch IF you get the standard edition.

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Droniac

This is the problem. Lawbreakers is actually very different from Overwatch, but neither their trailers nor their other advertising highlights this. Instead they tried to hitch a ride on the Overwatch train with their marketing despite not belonging there at all.

Lawbreakers actually plays most like Unreal Tournament 2004: Bombing Run. A game which, obviously, plays nothing like Overwatch. Lawbreakers has the same game mode (Blitzball), similar verticality and map design, similar zero-g zones (but far more common), similar emphasis on movement and mobile gunplay, similar emphasis on individual skill over teamplay, similarly short matches, similar non-stop high-intensity gameplay, etc, etc, etc. All elements that aren’t present in Overwatch at all. Lawbreakers’ only real point of comparison with Overwatch are the classes, but again this is misleading: in Overwatch classes fit strict roles for a team-oriented game, in Lawbreakers your class is a loadout that primarily affects your movement and combat ability: every class has the DPS role.

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Sorenthaz

I definitely like the feel of Lawbreakers but I feel like with all that it has, it should have just been an F2P game even if that would bring a horrible stigma while under the Nexon flag.

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Mike Pieniaszek

game would have been great as a f2p shooter, even if they had gun rentals.

but there are too many name brand series shooters within the price range they are asking to be succesful. for example battlefield one recently went on sale for 21 usd

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Armsbend

Overwatch, Battlegrounds, CoD, Battlefield…I get if there was one or two but 4 mega quality shooters for a good price is just too hard to compete with. I wonder if the recent BF price slashing is to gear up for some major dlc. Battlefield still has the greatest dlc of all time with BFBC2: Vietnam.

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Droniac

I think there were other factors that were significantly more influential in this result.

Call of Duty is a non-entity on PC. Advanced Warfare has 1/3rd of Lawbreakers’ current player base and Infinite Warfare has only 3x Lawbreakers’ current player base. Neither of those games would’ve shifted units, even on sale, for their multiplayer over Lawbreakers which didn’t drop below Infinite Warfare until a little over a week ago.

Battlegrounds and Battlefield 1 would likely have very little overlap with the crowd that’d be interested in a new arena FPS. These are methodical modern-military shooters, while Lawbreakers is a fast-paced sci-fi arena shooter.

There were various other games that would have had a more significant impact:
– Lawbreakers released in the middle of an Overwatch event, while (incorrectly) marketing itself towards Overwatch players.
– Lawbreakers released mere days before the early access release of Quake Champions, which was boosted by a World Championship that had between 20k-40k concurrent viewers across Steam and Twitch.
– Lawbreakers released two weeks prior to a major Dirty Bomb overhaul, which saw an immediate 2k concurrency uptick. Dirty Bomb has relatively similar pacing, gunplay and intensity to Lawbreakers … and it’s free to play.
– Lawbreakers released two weeks prior to Brink being released for free, which also saw an immediate 2k concurrency uptick. Brink also has relatively similar pacing and intensity to Lawbreakers and emphasizes movement in similar ways.

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Mike Pieniaszek

im sorry but i think competing shooters are a major disadvantage to this games success.

in the past 3 months you have had

the battlefield one price cut, with sales lowering the price even further

Overwatches price cut due to the game of the year edition releasing

then you have the star wars battlefront goty edition going on sale several times for 10 dollars in the past 2 months

you also had the steam summer sale. which discounted all the cods as well as almost every other shooter including arma 2 arma 3, the medel of honor franchise, the quake games as well as various others

with all these various sales, which include newer bigger name games that have proven to hold a player base. why would the avrg gamer try a new franchise that costs the same or more than these goty award winning games that have proven there worth already.

i played the beta, and yes its fun. 30 dollars fun… No. 20 dollars is the most i would pay for this game.

like i said in my previous post. with so much competition with AAA games for around the same price or cheaper, this game would have done much better as a f2p games with various skin dlcs and gun rentals/purchases in game.

yes it would have taken more balancing, but they would have a much larger playerbase, and seeing as the game has gotten positive reviews so far, they would likely hold that playerbase

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Droniac

@Mike

As I said, the shooters you named are almost certainly not notable competition for this one. You seem to be treating every kind of shooter under the sun as exactly the same thing, when in reality that’s just not true. There are many sub-genres of shooters with their own distinct communities and not a huge amount of overlap, exactly like the MMO genre.

Do you believe a perma-death PvP MMO is competition for a story-driven PvE MMO? No? Then why are arena FPS competition for modern military / methodical shooters? After all, that’s a very similar divide.

You’re also making the blind assumption that people weren’t buying Lawbreakers because of sales for other games. That’s not true. Many people have bought Lawbreakers: it’s sold more than 70.000 copies on Steam and that number is still growing. That’s way more than enough for it to have 3-5k daily concurrency peaks right now, as a new game. It had 3k concurrency peaks with just 20k copies sold at release. I explained why it doesn’t have those numbers anymore, because of actual games that compete with it, based on steam’s statistics that show drop-offs when those games had events/releases.

You’re just blindly stating it didn’t sell when it actually did. Or are you now going to say people aren’t going to play a good game they did buy, a game that had thousands of players, in order to buy and play another game that isn’t at all similar? This when there are free games that actually are similar to Lawbreakers and had events that could’ve drawn those same players away? How is it that that first scenario seems to be the only possibility to you when it is so much less likely? It’s quite literally like saying WoW or SWTOR lost players because EVE was on sale.

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bobfish

You’re assuming that the core fans UT style FPS games is sufficiently large to support a game in it’s own right.

Where there are those of us who believe that core is insignificant in size and that the majority of people who enjoyed UT back in the day have more broad tastes in FPS games and are likely currently engaged in a different style of FPS game at this time.

I personally also believe that Overwatch has managed to hold onto people who otherwise would be playing something else. One of the strengths of Blizzard’s games in general is their ability to appeal beyond core demographics, convert them to it’s cause and retain them. This can be seen with Starcraft, Diablo and WoW. No reason to expect Overwatch wouldn’t work this way as well.

Lawbreakers is doing as well as was expected. A niche game with a niche audience, that can’t compete for the larger, shared, market.

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Droniac

I’ll reiterate: Lawbreakers sold over 70k copies, now down to 60k due to refunds. Its problem isn’t that the arena FPS player base is too small, nor that it didn’t sell, but that it’s not retaining players.

It didn’t retain players, because there were several events that seemed to cause large numbers of its players to shift to other games: the Quake Champion’s world championships qualifiers, the early access release of Quake Champions, Dirty Bomb’s major overhaul, Brink re-releasing as a free game. These all corresponded to significant drops in player counts for Lawbreakers on Steam.

When compared to other games, Lawbreakers is in fact faring more poorly than is to be expected given its sales figures. Quake Champions has sold 45k copies on Steam and is seeing stable 2k concurrency peaks, while Absolver saw 6k concurrency peaks when it passed 60k copies sold. At over 60k copies sold Lawbreakers could easily be seeing healthy 3k daily concurrency peaks right now. Instead it saw peaks of 700 when it hit 60k and is currently down to peaks of 350.

As far as I know, no one said this game would be the next Overwatch. The larger shared market you’re talking about always moves towards the lowest common denominator; the game with the lowest barrier to entry. Lawbreakers has a very high barrier to entry, which isn’t helped by it not explaining some of its core mechanics (like backfiring). It was never going to be another PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS or Overwatch, but it could’ve been a game with a healthy player base (like Quake Champions) or with steady growth (like Dirty Bomb).

I’ll also point out that you’re accusing me of making an assumption I clearly didn’t make, while presenting a purely blind-faith assumption of your own that contradicts the pertinent facts. Those facts being sales figures and concurrent player statistics, as mentioned.

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Armsbend

Looks like you have a very accurate handle on it.

For me the videos of Lawbreakers look pretty good but honestly I’m trying to get better at the games I’m really into – I don’t want to learn a new game. Hell it might be great but I’m already playing great shooters at the moment – with enormous playerbases that will be around for a half decade at worst. Gaming is the one industry where you want to move with the biggest trends. For long term support.

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Tobasco da Gama

Yeah, the timing of the BF1 price cut coincides with the release of (the first part of; LOL) their newest DLC.

It’s kind of back-firing on them, though, since the Revolution Edition contains all the Deluxe Edition stuff plus the Premium Pass on top of that, for the same price as the old Standard Edition. So people who bought Premium on top of the base game are rightly pissed that shelling out all that money up front only got them one DLC before this huge price drop.

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Armsbend

right now is the perfect time for the waiters in gaming. Namely me!

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Tobasco da Gama

Indeed. And the Tsar DLC does look pretty awesome. There’s a new Operation based on a Civil War battle between the White Guard and the Red Army. Was not expecting that, but it looks super cool.

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Armsbend

I just bought WoW for the first time last night. Ultimate wait. The only question I have with BF1 is do I get it now or do I wait until its available on EA’s sub thing? I’ve heard the rumors.

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Tobasco da Gama

Actually, BF1 is already available with the Origin Access subscription, along with Titanfall 2 (which I highly recommend trying, if only for the single-player).

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thickenergy

Just be aware that the latest update has really screwed up game performance for a lot of people. Odd lag spikes, hitching, no hit registration, getting disconnected from EA servers repeatedly, etc. So pretty much par for the course with the updates for BF1. Hopefully it won’t take more than a month to get it sorted.

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Darthbawl

Magic touch… Yuck yuck, more like touch of death. This is CliffyB we are talking about. His attitude towards PC gamers is legendary, in a bad way.

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Alex Js.

Yea, I still remember his BS about “PC gamers are all thieves and it’s not worth developing games for this platform, consoles are piracy-free and are teh future!” when GoW2 was released… Never mind the fact that at that time it was possible to mod your XBox360 (I’ve done that) to accept the “back up copies” of the original game disks and all of the Xbox360 game disk images were widely available for download on multiple torrent sites ;-)

And look at where we’re now today: Xbox platform is barely relevant (mostly due to MS not treating it seriously anymore and not spending nearly enough on fresh high-quality exclusives for it) and he’s back developing the PC-oriented games again ;-)

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Nater

I still have an xbox kicking around somewhere. Put it together in a college lab. The professor was helping us and everything. AHAHA! Good times!

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Phubarrh

The game’s title is not a perpetual interest generator.

hamadubai
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hamadubai

their whole advertising campaign / style / theme is so 90s cringe. they’re trying to appeal to people nostalgia with it but they’re not recreating nice nostalgic feelings, it’s a recreation of the ‘Xtreme to the MAX!’ style of advertising that was cringe worthy even back then.

also, how many games are released now that have the “totally hardcore to the Xtreme” style to them and succeed? the only games I can think of that had that kind of advertising are Wildstar, Evolve and Battleborn and all of the flopped out of the gate.

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Veldan

Well I don’t understand what the appeal of this game should be. Then again, I feel that way about most popular games too.

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Alex Js.

A highly generic, oversimplified clone of Unreal Tournament is doing very poorly? What a surprise! /s

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

where are all the limp bizkit and slip knot fanboys that love everything that cliffy b does? maybe that demographic is all grown up now and doesn’t play them viddya games anymore?

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silverlock

They now I’m older then those guys and I still play. Maybe not twitchy jumpy murder fests but I still play other stuff.

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John Kiser

I ended up getting a refund.

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Tobasco da Gama

I guess the game’s devs (or maybe just the marketing team) weren’t skilled af

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Armsbend

There are far too many good shooters out right now unless you have a really good hook.

wpDiscuz