Artifact continues to lose players at an aggressive rate

    
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I thought about this a lot.

We’re just about two months into the life cycle of Valve’s aggressively non-free-to-play card game Artifact, and the game continues to lose players with a focus and intensity usually reserved for gaining them. Steam Charts shows that the game has lost 56% of its playerbase over the last 30 days… and that’s from the middle of December, when the game had already lost nearly five-sixths of its launch playerbase. As Kotaku notes, the game has dipped as low as 1500 players, which means that it’s being beaten by Dark Souls II and Portal 2.

While Valve has repeatedly said that the team is in for the long haul on Artifact, Kotaku also notes that the game’s Twitter account has been silent since December 21st and the game’s patches are getting significantly smaller. None of this is a good sign, and while there was meant to be a large-scale tournament for the game this year, it remains to be seen if this will materialize. Perhaps buy-to-play and cards that can only be bought via more money wasn’t actually a foolproof scheme for competing in this arena.

Source: Steam Charts via Kotaku
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Danny Smith

His smile and knife collection: Gone.

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Ironwu

I don’t have any intention of touching anything that Valve puts forward as one of their own in-house developed games.

After their complete failure to finish the Half Life 2 sage by not doing the HL3 chapter, there is no way I will trust them with anything.

One just does not do that sort of thing and expect customers to just queue up for your next product. Sorry Valve.

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Jack Pipsam

Artifact is being beaten by Age of Empires 2 XD

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Dankey Kang

Age of Empires 2 kicks ass though

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Jack Pipsam

That is a true statement.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I think Valve just forgot how to make good games.

CSGO’s f2p was a mistake and the battle royale mode is a mess. And now Artifact is going down the drain.

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Armsbend

They never forgot – making good games is hard. They became uninterested in doing things that were hard. Why do you think they gave a minuscule cut to map creators? So they didn’t even have to make maps any longer – but collect on them.

And people used to celebrate that. This guy makes $37,000, roughly $68,000 below industry standard a year making maps at home for a company raking in $500,000,000! Hurray boy are you swell Valve!

Goddamned gamers…so dumb sometimes (not directed at you – general discontent).

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Sargonnax

I think you are both right. Valve basically stopped making games. They dont really need to when Steam makes them endless piles of cash. To an extent they have forgotten how to make them. I’m not even sure they care if they do anymore. If Steam ever falls apart Valve will be in serious trouble because they have become too disconnected from actually making games and too dependent upon Steam, and nothing lasts forever.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

Valve follows Blizzard and loses after Blizzard follows WotC and rakes in millions.

Snark aside, who didn’t see that coming?

Someone below said it right – Valve lost their way. Whether this is a sign that their organizational design philosophy really doesn’t work, or there’s too much groupthink, or they’ve forgotten how to have fun, the Valve that was isn’t the Valve that is.

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Armsbend

Don’t know how old you are but when Half Life 2 hit the streets the magazines printed articles for almost a solid year falling over themselves to type out, “How in the ever living fuck did they even make something this good?” People were legitimately calling it the best game ever made within it’s first month with very little debate from any side. If you didn’t have a pc to run it you generally got a, “sucks to be you”. Plans were made to try out this whole “pc thing”.

My how times have changed. Can you imagine what we would be playing right now had Valve kept a core Steam team and a core game development team and gone with the same drive they did 15 years ago? ‘Valve Time’ became a joke when really they became lazy as fuck.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

Good times. Good case study too, right? Because when you look at HL2, they did a lot right with it, but also there were plenty of contemporaries who were doing a lot of the same sort of thing – many had come out years before (Daikatana and American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland still tickle my memory in this lane). But it was how they blended it, and how they continued a story that people had, literally, been waiting for years for someone to finish.

It was the gamers equivalent to a next installment of Wheel of Time (for timely reference).

So you had tech, story, timing, all lined up.

The irony is that I remember Steam at the time being a disaster. Crashes, corrupt downloads, and even if you bought it at retail you still had to do some sort of stupid unlock to get to the game.

Indeed, how times have changed.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

Time capsule time!

Tycho’s post on HL2’s pre-release is breath-taking in its brevity. If you’ve read PA for any length of time, you know how prolific he tends to be. You can sense the expectation.

The next post is also a must-read, because it reminds us of Fable. I had completely forgotten about that.

https://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2004/09/17/half-life-2

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Rick Ellis

Ok c’mon… Daikatana? That was a horrible, horrible game… You can’t possibly be comparing that to HL2.

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Armsbend

Alice was forgettable as well. I think that was the game that put him out of business.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

There’s no direct comparison, except that both had a lot of hype and tried to do a lot of things differently – there was experimentation. Didn’t work out for Daikatana like I think they had hoped. Whether that was because it was still too early and the tech wasn’t there or what. Bad example, but it was the first thing that popped into my head.

I think a lot of it was how the game media portrayed the studio and the game – the hype made it impossible to remotely achieve what was expected. In that way, Valve was very lucky to have the foresight to know that they had to deliver or else suffer the same doom.

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Rick Ellis

=

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Sorenthaz

It was obvious this game wasn’t going to get much traction. The digital TCG craze died down heavily. Charging $20 and then trying to do MTXes on top of that is arrogance at its finest.

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Greaterdivinity

CCU numbers are less interesting to me nowadays, they always seem to be great for headlines and whatnot but they’re not always the best barometer for a games health (though they’re one part of a larger equation).

The most interesting angle I saw on this looked at the price of what were previously the most expensive cards on the marketplace. Those prices tanking speaks to either a glut of cards far in excess of demand, a possibility, enough player loss that there’s simply not much demand for the existing market, or that the a la cart buying and selling of cards on the marketplace may not be as sustainable as Valve projected.

The shitty part of me though, is totally looking at this and saying, “See Valve? This is what happens when you make a game nobody was asking for designed largely to be a longterm monetization tool for players. Focus on your strengths, make some good games again, then try this kind of shit.”

Damn I miss the old Valve.

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Scott

Go play Infinity Wars. Its a free download on Steam, you can actually trade your cards with other people, the AI missions shower you with bound cards to get started, You can either buy packs with real money or play games to earn free packs every day. The game itself is a total mind game with bluffing or lying are actual viable plays. They have some super great art for cards, really strange effects, wild deck creation and freedom.

Every other PC card game is shit. They don’t let you trade your cards, They shoehorn all deck creation into hero lanes. Really bare bones and simple effects without any kind of wild combos or effects taking place.

I can’t stress enough how much I despise not being able to trade and hero deck theme forcing. I was really interested in Artifact but they went off the rails with the money grab and we got the MTG guy spotlight. The game plays like garbage. They didn’t make a card game, they converted DOTA into a card game that no one asked for.

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Armsbend

“Every other PC card game is shit.”

MTG Arena is in fact – not shit.

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Bruno Brito

MTGA is fucking good.

Really fucking good.

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Bruno Brito

While Valve has repeatedly said that the team is in for the long haul

Three words:

Team Fortress Two.

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rafael12104

Hmm. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game slowly fades away from existence. They go into maintenance mode and slowly bleed players until there is nothing left.

Best way to sunset this embarrassment without an additional PR debacle.

To be fair, I never played the game, and I’m not into card games. But the missteps highlighted here and the lack communication from Valve seems to indicate that it may be all but forgotten by Valve as a profit center.

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Reht

I’m not sure you can use the word “slowly” in the of it fading way. Seems like it’s a runaway train at the moment.