Nothing lasts forever. Crackdown 3‘s multiplayer community has reportedly already abandoned Wrecking Zone three months after the game’s release, as it’s difficult to find enough players to start a match. Sumo Digital’s sequel isn’t the only title to suffer such a cruel fate in recent years, as The Culling 2 and Radical Heights weren’t fortunate enough to last more than a few weeks after launch. The following are a few multiplayer communities that died shortly after they arrived on the market, be it because of poor timing, poor marketing, or a mix of the two.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | Crackdown 3
Crackdown 3 launched to mixed critical reception this past February, as outlets claimed it lacked originality. Many admitted it was fun to level buildings and disintegrate enemies within the game’s Wrecking Ball component, however. This boded well for the title’s multiplayer community, as groups of friends would be allowed to join together to demolish everything in their sights. Unfortunately, Crackdown 3 failed to sustain an audience for long, as it’s next to impossible to start an online session today due to the game’s lack of players.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | Battleborn
Battleborn is a victim of terrible timing. Two months after its launch in early May 2016, the first-person shooter declined from 12,000 concurrent players to less than 1,000 on PC. Part of the reason for such a steep fall can be attributed to Overwatch‘s release in late May. Backed by a large promotional budget and Blizzard’s pedigree, Gearbox’s title had little chance of drawing a large player base. It was difficult to launch a match one year after Battleborn‘s launch.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | Evolve
Evolve was in trouble five months after it launched to great critical and sales success on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Its average player count on Steam was a little over 600 by mid-June 2015 and the game had declined to less than 450 players by August. Thankfully, developer Turtle Rock Studios did manage to revive the title’s community by transitioning to a free-to-play model in 2016. While this did encourage over a million people to check out the game, it unfortunately wasn’t enough to prolong its shelf life. Publisher 2K Games shut down Evolve‘s dedicated servers in September 2018.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | LawBreakers
LawBreakers, the multiplayer first-person shooter from developer Boss Key and the mind behind the Gears of War series, had a lot of potential. It was an intelligent take on the genre, as it melded the popular shooter arenas of yesteryear with today’s hero shooter craze. Despite the praise from critics, the title hardly managed to attract a following on PlayStation 4 and PC. It launched outside of Steam’s top 100 most played games in August 2017 and became free-to-play less than a year after its release. It’s impossible to play LawBreakers today, as its servers were shut down entirely in September 2018.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | The Culling 2
The Culling 2 hardly had a community to begin with. Criticized by critics and fans for its unabashed similarities to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the title only saw 250 people try it out on its first day on Steam. Within 48 hours of its launch, the game dropped to two players. It’s no surprise that developer Xaviant pulled the title from digital storefronts and shut down its servers a week later.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | Umbrella Corps
Umbrella Corps is Capcom’s attempt to ride today’s multiplayer shooter craze. The title was panned by fans before it even launched, as many saw it as a blatant cash grab. Critics thought it was a generic first-person shooter with a Resident Evil skin and ultimately dismissed it as a pointless addition to the franchise. Less than a week after it released in June 2016, the game had only 100 concurrent players on Steam. Hopefully that was enough to convince Capcom to avoid this direction for Resident Evil in the future.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | Radical Heights
While Boss Key’s first game, LawBreakers, failed to gain any traction when it launched, the same can’t be said about its second title, Radical Heights. It had 12,500 concurrent players on Steam upon release and managed to secure a spot on Steam’s most played games list. Unfortunately, that success didn’t last long. The game’s community dropped by 82% only two weeks after its April 10, 2018 release. Its developer closed one month later and servers were shut down completely in July that year. Players only had a three-month window to experience everything the title had to offer.
Multiplayer Communities That Died Fast | Kill Strain
It’s obvious that Kill Strain failed to garner the attention of PlayStation 4 owners when it launched in July 2016, as the game’s servers shut down one year later. The free-to-play twin-stick shooter introduced an interesting twist on the MOBA genre by allowing players to turn their infantry from humans to mutants. Critics found this and other features interesting, but agreed that the game was bogged down by balancing issues and unimpressive graphics. According to them, it wasn’t special enough to warrant a dedicated community for long.
The above proves that finding success in the video game industry isn’t as easy as it may seem. Attracting and sustaining an audience requires careful planning, meticulous attention to detail, and a lot of luck. As multiplayer components oversaturate the medium, titles must diversify themselves from the competition in meaningful ways so that they can ensure profitability for years to come. For most developers out there, riding on the battle royale craze alone won’t cut it.