LawBreakers, the new fast-paced shooter from Gears of War creator Cliffy B, has launched to strong reviews but severely lacking player numbers. According to Githyp, the game peaked at 3,000 concurrent Steam players on launch day and numbers have dwindled since.
Population count is critical for online shooters as there’s nothing worse than jumping into a competitive title for the first time only to be destroyed by those few regular pro players that keep the game alive. It doesn’t speak well of the quality and replayability of a title when the numbers start to dip early in its life cycle.
So what does this mean for LawBreakers, a game that launched less than a week ago but has a lower player count than when it is was in Beta? The game has a decent Metacritic score of 78 right now and is generally well regarded in terms of presentation and performance, so why haven’t more people jumped in?
It could be that a lack of awareness and advertising has stifled the game’s launch. It’s hard to ignore the draw of rival Overwatch’s immense marketing campaigns compared to the more humble approach of LawBreakers, with a relatively new team trying to break their game into the already saturated shooter market. Or perhaps those who played the Beta felt they already got enough of a fix of LawBreaker’s unique low gravity jump-and-gun gameplay?
LawBreakers’ launch breaks the trend of recent launches like Battleborn, which started in strength but rapidly lost players to a point where now, that game feels like a ghost town. Perhaps with enough developer support, an advertising push and some nice incentives to join in (free content is always a winner), LawBreakers could take advantage of the slow burn approach to success like Halo 5 Guardians or Titanfall 2, which have both picked up later in their lifecycles.
Will LawBreakers be able to recover from its lacklustre launch? Let’s hope so for the future of the genre and of course, Cliffy B’s recently formed Boss Key Productions.