It’s the news no video games developer wants to see. Your shiny new game crash lands out the gate, fumbling as it loses more players than anyone expected. Suddenly a game that was intended to be the start of a great thing becomes a monument to failure. Sometimes developers can turn things around – bring back those gamers who left in disappointment. For other games though, they become just another entry in the modern game industry’s relentless turnover cycle.
We decided to take a look at the games that crashed hard after release – losing momentum and players with alarming pace.
9. No Man’s Sky
While 2017 has seen the games fortunes reverse (somewhat), it’s worth remembering just how quickly the numbers dried up once this game landed.
Arriving in August 2016, Hello Game’s No Man’s Sky became one of the hottest games around – with PlayStation 4 and PC users desperate to get their hands on it. Quickly though those impressive numbers dropped – with reports suggesting anywhere up to 95% of the PC userbase abandoned the title within two weeks. It only added to the negative perception around the game.
How Is It Now?: Arguably better, although there’s still a long road ahead. The added options of multiplayer and free expansion content have given the game some positive press. The numbers are nowhere near as impressive as they were after launch – but there’s optimism that Hello Games can turn things around.
8. Pokemon GO
Everyone remembers just how huge Pokemon GO was when it released. The mobile app became a cultural phenomenon, catching fire like few other titles. So of course, Niantic had to find a way to mess it up.
With over 60 million users jumping aboard during every month – the was obviously going to be teething issues. Niantic’s decision to cap and remove key features ultimately hurt the games enjoyability. As servers buckled under the strain, gamers abandoned the title in their droves. Reportedly through the backend of 2016 and early 2017, the game lost 23 million users (Around 80% of the overall player base). That’s a huge drop for any game.
How Is It Now?: The game continues to exist – recently enduring a heap of issues during its huge fan events. While not the titan it once was, the game retains a huge number of monthly users.
7. The Division
Originally seen as a potential AAA breakout by Ubisoft, The Division had much hype when it landed in 2016. That hype turned to tedium though, as gamers were met with a barrage of issues. From being forced to wait to register (Leading to awkward images of people queuing up) to a lack of genuine end-game content. But of course, there was plenty of microtransactions on display for those times gamers had nothing better to do.
The writing was on the wall for The Division soon after – with a reported drop in user numbers in the 90%+ range. Months after release, Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft promised to sort the game’s lack of content out – delivering a series of expansion content.
How Is It Now?: Do you know anyone playing The Division? Late 2016 wasn’t kind to those few gamers who stuck around – as updates broke some of the game’s modes completely. Yet at the time of writing, the game has a surprisingly large user base on PC (To be fair, the games price was slashed heavily). It appears there may be life in the old dog yet.
The most recent example of a major game losing its player base – LawBreakers reminds us that just because you have a big name developer doesn’t guarantee success.
The multiplayer wall shooter has struggled since launch to capture the interest of gamers – barely managing 7000 users during its launch week. From here the numbers got worse – dipping as low as 50 concurrent users out on the PC version. It’s a shambles for a $30 game – in particular, one that doesn’t offer much in the way of single-player content. With so many other options on the table, it’s no wonder that game hasn’t caught on.
How Is It Now?: Cliffy B and his team are promising major changes – but the numbers don’t look good. A game that’s struggled to make any headway in its first two months of existence – LawBreakers may already be running out of time to fix itself.
Brink really was a trendsetter when it arrived – signaling the first major collapse of a games user base long before it was a trend. Splash Damage’s game promised a futuristic multiplayer blast like never before – focusing almost entirely on its multiplayer.
Gamers didn’t turn up though. As tepid reviews landed, the game became a graveyard. Without a single player component – the potential behind the idea ultimately flatlined. For years Brink was the go-to example for a game whose potential was missed
How Is It Now?: If you can believe it, Brink recently went free-to-play, almost six years after release. To the surprise of nobody – Brink’s numbers are still tragically low.
The original Titanfall caused quite the stir when it landed on Xbox One, PC and Xbox 360. Helmed by Respawn Studios, comprising of former Call of Duty employees, there was huge excitement for the futuristic FPS.
Despite strong initial sales, gamers found themselves frustrated by the lack of new content. With rumors of a sequel being developed – many simply opted to abandon the game within weeks of launch. It left servers empty and left those who’d shelled out full price fuming.
How Is It Now?: Titanfall 2 released in 2016. Despite the huge critical praise, the game struggled to match the numbers of its original outing. It seems gamers didn’t fancy taking another punt on the title.
3. For Honor
Released in early 2017, For Honor managed to capture the attention of gamers – who saw the potential for battles with the friends. The game itself is hugely enjoyable, designed to offer maximum control during battles. The problem (as tends to be the case in these cases) was Ubisoft.
In trying to maximise returns on the popular game, Ubisoft pushed heavily into microtransaction territory. It was a move that ultimately hurt the games community, as complaints about the game itself piled up. Laggy connections, slow update cycles and a lack of polish ultimately hurt the game’s reputation, with Ubisoft seemingly more interested in adding downloadable content. A reported 95% of users opted to abandon the game within three months.
How Is It Now?: Months later, Ubisoft has tried to address the games weaker aspects. But without much new content to draw fans back in, For Honor has generally been left behind by gamers.
Battleborn, more than most on this list, had a huge chance to become a major game franchise. It’s open beta attracted over 2 million gamers -a wonderful achievement for a game that was just finding its feet. This, however, was the peak of the popularity of the game, as things went downhill from there.
Within weeks, outlets reported that gamers were abandoning the title in their droves. Hundreds of thousands of turned into tens – the press around the game suggested that things weren’t going well. As m
How Is It Now?: The game went unofficially free-to-play in June – offering an unlimited trial to gamers. Doesn’t seem to have done much for the game’s fortunes though, as the game (at the time of writing) was struggling to stay above 100 concurrent users. Safe to say, this game doesn’t have much longer to go.
Evolve, without question, is the biggest blunder offered up in recent years. Not only because it failed, it also killed the fledgling 4 vs. 1 sub-genre, Not that the game had any reason to sink out the gate. It had all the hype and with Turtlerock Studios (the team behind Left 4 Dead) working on the game – it should have been a home run.
Yet the limited content and huge amounts of DLC at launch put pain to all these plans. As the game struggled to generate positive buzz, the huge initial sales gave way to a community that all but disappeared. For well over a year, the game failed to capture any kind of momentum – as gamers overlooked it entirely,
How Is It Now?: Eventually, the game went free-to-play, but it wasn’t enough to save the title. Almost a month after turning, Turtlerock announced to gamers that they would no longer be supporting the game. Evolve is still playable – but it’s a sad end to a game that once genuinely excited gamers.