Deathgarden released two weeks ago, upon release the developer of the title, Behaviour Interactive, put the game up as free to play for a full week. The free week has achieved shockingly low player numbers, and this is leading a lot of people to believe the game is already dead, before it even has had a chance to live.
This free to play for limited time is a common tactic done on Steam to give games exposure and drive up player numbers. Deathgarden is a multiplayer-only asymmetrical shooter, so as you could imagine, having more people playing the game is only a good thing. This tactic has worked wonders for many games on steam. For example, For Honor is free for everyone right now on steam and look at how the numbers of that game have shot up.
Another example from earlier this month is a game called Insurgency.
Upon the low player numbers for Deathgarden many people online and in forums are already making posts about how the game is dead, urging people to not buy it, solely because of the low player numbers. While it is fair to consider the player-base when buying a multiplayer only game, spreading the obsession of player-numbers and making that a sole factor when deciding whether you want to buy a game or not is not the best strategy.
If people limit themselves to only be willing to buy games that already have big player-counts this will cause an awful rhythm of the big games only getting bigger, and the small games dying quickly before they ever had a chance to live. One example of when this happened was with a game that you can no longer play called Gigantic. Gigantic released on July 20th, 2017, and already the servers are completely shut down. While the game was not perfect, a big downfall for this game was the constant overstated comments of the game being dead despite it still having hundreds of concurrent players at any time of the day. Now, I recognize, hundreds of players are very little when we live in a world where games like PUBG can hit a million concurrent players. But consider this, if the game can be played, and has enough players to find a match relatively quickly, then even if it’s player numbers are below 1000 is the game truly dead?
I would say no, a game where you can launch it, find a match, and play with other people is far from dead. But when you spread the narrative online that the game is dead, it makes people not want to play it, it makes people believe nobody plays it, which isn’t true. Calling games dead…