Even while my review came with high appraisal, as did many others, LawBreakers hasn’t been off to a great start. While it certainly carries the Cliff Bleszinski form of appeal, the game being promised as the next-big shooter title, has been all but that in the terms of sales. The game, however, has hit a painful milestone for any developer or publisher. It’s player base is dwindling, sometimes to under 19 concurrent players on Steam and queue times on average for PlayStation 4 can take between 3-5 minutes for teams of players.
The falling player base is also being noted by Cliff Bleszinski, and his surprising blame for its current state? His online persona where he states that he can be “very cocky and very brash on social media,” which is something social media fans have been worried about. He also continues to say that he realizes that they have a new user base, and it’s been “very humbing for me. I’m going to continue being less of a dick, honestly.”
This is statements were definitely taken in by GameSpot as a spot for improvement, CliffyB, as adoring fans call him, has a lot of work to do in order to turn around the current PC troubles. The game is now more-or-less dead on the platform, and according to SteamCharts there’s only 237 players online with a 24-hour peak of 240 within the last 24 hours. That’s a drastic change from the games 7,482 all-time-high.
But is CliffyB’s persona really the cause for the slowly dying LawBreakers, which released a little over a month ago on August 7th?
The short answer is no. It’s not. The truth is, gamers are growing tired of hero based shooters. They are even tired of everyone doing what Overwatch has found success upon. Games these days are attempting to find the same success that Blizzard’s commercially successful title has. Now that they are, the genre itself has become oversaturated with Hero Based Shooters. While it does work for cooperative play games, it’s a genre in the competitive market that is wearing out, and even Overwatch could eventually start feeling the blow.
Titles of this genre all aim at one big thing: Becoming the next big eSport title that everyone wants to be apart of. While the idea isn’t classless or needed, it does go to state that the game itself will be focused upon with that potential. Gamers will stray away from such a title due to the hyper-competitive players that will partake in its online lobbies.
But lets not forget, this approach isn’t new. A lot of games, including every Call of Duty and Free-to-Play do this. The news even recently broke that Gearbox’s class-based shooter, Battleborn, has entered its end-of-life cycle with only the servers remaining up, and that any further production has ended. This only helps to prove the very truth behind why LawBreakers is potentially failing: Gamers are TIRED of games releasing in an oversaturated market.
Is Market Saturation the Only Cause? No. A Lack of Marketing Hurt the Game Also.
Marketing is where the game hurt the most in recent days. If you go to watch YouTuber’s play, you see no mention of the game existing post-launch. Let alone do you not see the marketing, you also do not see any mention of the game at major retailers prompting the player to give the game a shot, nor do you see physical copies sitting on store shelves.
While gamers are no strangers to digital only games, we do live in an era where gamers like to see what they are buying, and they love word of mouth. Games with high success and proper marketing are ones that will generally garnish some major sales even if the game is a flop, which LawBreakers is certainly not considered. It just didn’t accumulate the sales it needed in order to grow in today’s market. But that also brings up the question of how it could succeed in the future: Will Streamers play a major part like they did for PlayUnknown’s Battlegrounds?
High-End Streamers Have Huge Impacts for Gamers in Today’s Market
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, YouTubers such as Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach, and even Twitch streamers such as Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar have a lot of pull for game publishers both small and large. They have a lot of capability to help a video game grow, which is what LawBreakers needs in its current state. It needs Twitch partners and official YouTube streamers/Lets Players to help the game grow in its current state.
While this does mean the company will lose money on sales, it also means they could very well see money on sales by offering to promote those players, and let them help grow the already dying game. Since it has a lot of potential and obvious care from its developers, it’s time they do the same by helping push another marketing front, one that will draw players in from around the globe. Sadly, even then, it may not be enough for the fledgling game, which brings up our final question with a potential solution.
Will PC and PlayStation 4 Cross-Play Save the Game?
While this one is the most far fetched out there, and even CliffyB himself has abhorred the idea, it may be the last shot the game needs. Cross-play would allow gamers on both PC and PlayStation 4 to play together, shooting the games current player base to admirable levels and even cut down the queue times for those looking to play.
If CliffyB wants to save the game, he certainly has his work cut out for him, and may need to consider some of the available options, which include Cross-Play, not-so-limited-run physical copies, and even partnering with some of the industries biggest names on YouTube, Twitch, and even some of the smaller guys.
For now, we can only hope that LawBreakers can come back from the dead on PC and if it will be able to sustain its currently low player counts on PlayStation 4. You can check out our review over on YouTube where we rated the game at a 8 out of 10.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.