Artifact Hits Rock Bottom as Player Base Drops by 97% Since Launch

Jan 16, 2019

Artifact, Valve’s first game in over five years, continues to lose players in a sharp decline since its launch last November. Just two months after its release, Steam charts show an alarming 97% drop in player count.

Two weeks ago, Valve was struggling, having ended 2018 outside Steam’s top 100 played games. The contrast between that and its initially impressive 60,000 concurrent player count was shocking. But things have kept sliding.

As we noted in our last report, the news will come as a big blow to Valve. Its other notable franchise, such as DOTA, Counter-Strike GO, and Team Fortress are some of the most longstanding and popular in the entire industry.

The publisher would surely have been hoping that Artifact would rival other digital trading card games like Hearthstone and Gwent, adding a new continual stream of revenue to their lineup of games.

The fate of Artifact now hangs in the balance, with gamers rejecting its premium content + microtransactions model that is neither free-t-play initially or free to keep playing beyond first purchase. The monetization strategy has backfired in a big way, it seems. The Steam reviews of the game highlight its poor reputation.

Although Valve has a history of turning around struggling games as it did with Counter-Strike: GO, it’s tough to see a way that Artifact can recover amid an increasingly competitive genre of games.