Cliff Bleszinski’s challenging arena shooter didn’t have the strong debut some were expecting.
After several years of development and plenty of alphas and betas along the way, Boss Key’s debut title, LawBreakers finally launched on PC and PS4. The console version of the game had one issue out of the gate: framerate hitching and stuttering (which has since been patched in short order). The PC version of the game, however, seems to have a different hurdle: attracting a player base.
According to SteamCharts, the game never really managed to pick up much momentum coming out of the gate yesterday. In a 48 hour period (which reaches back before the game’s launch at the time of writing), the game peaked at just over 3,000 players concurrently playing on Steam. Assuming SteamChart’s data is correct, that’s well below half the game’s peak player count, which happened during a beta period in late June. That’s even below the game’s beta period in mid July, which peaked around 4,500 concurrent players. The game could have more traction on PlayStation 4, but it’s hard to guess when Sony doesn’t share any metrics publicly.
So why might LawBreakers struggle to find a big player base on Steam? There are a few guesses: The most obvious could be arena shooter fatigue. With Overwatch’s still overwhelming popularity capturing most fans of the genre, Boss Key’s more hardcore twist could just be too big of a pill to swallow for more casual players. Another guess could simply be the competitive (for August, anyway) release date. Yesterday also saw the return on Ninja Theory with its all-new IP Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Hellblade, which drew a great deal of attention on launch day thanks to some overblown reactions to a possible save-wiping feature that occurs when players die too often, has been pretty successful according to SteamChart’s data. It’s reported that the game has peaked at over 5,500 concurrent users in the last 48 hours – nearly double that of LawBreakers.
Of course, launch day isn’t everything anymore. Games like Insurgency continue to live with a small but dedicated player base on Steam. In a different direction, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege has only gotten more popular across all platforms as the development team continues to refine and improve gameplay.
Boss Key, and LawBreakers, will absolutely survive the underwhelming launch, it was just a lower turnout than some were expecting after numerous betas and some stellar trailers leading up to launch.