Valve’s return to the world of video game development has not exactly been as triumphant as the company may have hoped, as its most recent release, Artifact, has already seen a significant drop in Steam users playing the game.
According to GitHyp, as of the end of 2018, Artifact has dropped down to only a few thousand concurrent players, after having had around 60k concurrent players when the game was released just over a month ago.
The game reached its peak as the number four most-played game on Steam during its November 28, 2018 launch, but has since fallen out of the top-100.
While the major drop comes only a month after the game’s release, it really isn’t much of a surprise.
Artifact - Valve’s first major video game release in roughly five years - has been fighting an uphill battle ever since it was announced at the International DOTA 2 Championships in 2017. The digital trading card game based on DOTA 2 has also received backlash stemming from card controversies, such as certain card naming conventions.
However, the majority of complaints are against Artifact’s monetization system. The game is available for a reasonable $19.99 USD, but anyone looking to create a competitive deck will need to shell out a considerable amount of real-life money. In fact, some of the cards have cost as nearly as much as the game itself.
Artifact’s Metacritic score has held tight at 77 since its release. However, based on its User Score of 2.1 and its massive drop in players, it is clear that it is not the Valve title that gamers were hoping for.
While Artifact is a disappointing re-entry into the realm of game development, it shouldn’t deter Valve from moving forward with other titles. Last year, Valve acquired Firewatch developer Campo Santo, permitting the studio to move forward with the release of In The Valley of Gods as a Valve title. And of course, rumors continue to run rampant as fans hope for a new Half-Life or Left 4 Dead game. Hopefully, Artifact will simply be used as Valve’s blueprint for what not to do with future games.
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