Valve has had a tough time in the past month. After the launch of Fortnite developer Epic Games’ new digital storefront it’s been revealed that PC game developers are snubbing Steam for the Epic Games Store. Now it turns out that Valve’s latest game, Artifact, the DOTA2-themed card collector and battler, is not doing so hot. In fact, the Artifact player base has plummeted, dropping by as much as 80 percent since the game launched just last month.
According to Steam Charts, which tracks how many people are playing a particular game at any time on Steam, Artifact peaked at 60,740 concurrent players on Friday, November 30, which is just two days after the game’s release date of November 28. This was an excellent early showing for the game, putting it into the top five games being played on Steam. Earlier today, however, the Artifact player base painted a very different picture, hitting its lowest-ever concurrent count of just 5,133 players. The game seems to be losing players daily, and it’s only two weeks after Valve’s latest title launched.
It’s certainly a disappointing showing for Valve’s first game in years, with the last two being VR showcase The Lab in 2016 and DOTA2 in 2013. While the CCG (collectible card game) genre is a niche one, Valve clearly believed a spin-off of its popular DOTA2, combined with the input from Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, would be more of a hit.
It’s entirely possible that Valve will make Artifact free-to-play at some point in the future, as the complaints of many reviewers on Steam all seem to agree that the game is “pay to win,” with most bemoaning how expensive it is to continue playing and buying cards. Nevertheless, Valve has to do something soon, otherwise the player counts will continue to drop, and no one will want a trading card game if there’s no one to trade with.