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LawBreakers Could Flop Based on Player Counts from the Steam Beta

Cliff Bleszinksi’s New Hero Shooter Not Set for a Gravity-Defying Launch

July 10, 2017 by

There’s been a lot of hype leading up to the release of Cliff Bleszinksi’s new class-based shooter, LawBreakers. And with all the positive media coverage regarding the outspoken Gears of War creator’s latest project, you would think the game is on track to become another successful competitive shooter… however, that might not be case after looking at the early player counts during the game’s beta on Steam.

LawBreakers’ closed beta began on June 28 with the open beta starting two days later. Over the course of its eight days on Steam, the beta brought in a peak of 7.5k players in a single hour with the daily averages reaching as high as 3.5k players per hour over the weekend. Those lower-than-expected numbers were only enough to rank LawBreakers as high as No. 73 on Steam’s list of most played games last week.

Learning from the mistakes of Gearbox’s Battleborn, Bleszinksi and his team at Boss Key have been using LawBreakers’ more realistic art direction to try and separate themselves from being compared to Blizzard’s wildly successful hero shooter, Overwatch. However, it is worth comparing two of last year’s most talked about new hero shooters on Steam to predict LawBreakers’ success based on early player counts.

LawBreakers’ Beta Players Per Hour via GitHyp

Out of all the new games released on Steam in 2016, Paladins retained the highest players per hour average. The free-to-play hero shooter’s beta debuted with a peak 38k players during its first weekend last September and still ranks in Steam’s top 20 most played games averaging 25k concurrent players every day.

With the beta having 80% less players than Paladins’ first week in early access, the numbers for LawBreakers actually align more with one of last year’s biggest flops, Battleborn. Gearbox’s failed attempt to go head-to-head with Overwatch debuted with an average of 4.5k players per hour last May and is now dangerously close to dropping below 100 players per hour.

It’s worth noting that the beta for LawBreakers also took place during the Steam Summer Sale – and it could be argued that the platform’s most popular week of the year helped or hurt the beta. While more users than normal were logging in to Steam last week looking for new games to play, those same users could have been more enticed to play games that were heavily discounted instead of the beta for LawBreakers.

Early beta player counts also don’t guarantee a game’s success or failure, but a free-to-play open beta weekend for such a highly anticipated game not even debuting in Steam’s top 50 is certainly cause for concern. We’ll know for certain if LawBreakers is a hit or miss on Steam when it launches next month on August 8, 2017.