Valve’s latest card game, Artifact was released just 10 days. With an initial playerbase of over 50,000 within the first hour of launch, it seemed like Valve had struck gold once again. However, it seems like that is not the case. Within just 10 days since launch, it appears as if most players have simply quit Artifact and moved on to other games.
Data from Steamcharts and SteamDB shows that over 40,000 players who played Artifact in the first day of its launch have quite simply abandoned/left the game for now.
Image Sourced from Steam Charts
One reason could be the fact that Artifact’s pay-to-play model, which unlike its contemporaries requires players to pay $20 upfront, and further charges extra money for additional packs/cards. Many players have criticized the game’s “pay for everything” model on the Artifact subreddit, whilst many CCG streamers have already gone back to Hearthstone, or MTG: Arena.
Another reason for the drop in player count could be the fact that there is no sense of progression, or ways to earn cards within Artifact, which pushes off casual players from pursuing the game. While the fact that there are no leaderboards for Artifact pushes away professionals or serious CCG competitors. Artifact’s targeting of a very niche demographic could very well cause an early death for it.
Artifact hopes of being the biggest esports CCG with their plans for a $1 Million tournament, and thus pulling in more serious players to their scene, might also be in danger. Hearthstone’s developer, Blizzard announced a $1 Million tournament of their own, as well as a $4 million Hearthstone circuit for 2019 on the eve of Artifact’s launch. With Magic: the Gathering also announcing a $10 Million prizepool for its esports plans in 2019, it is going to be quite challenging for Artifact at the very least.
It is clear that Valve needs to take some quick measures to ensure that their game doesn’t die out in weeks, and it certainly looks like they’re trying to do so.
Update coming this week. One feature is chat. Possess your cards and make them speak, send custom messages, or invite your opponent to a traditional Steam Chat. Make your heroes say voice lines. One click opt-in to custom messages from non-friends. One click blocking. pic.twitter.com/1eWeHWxsOK— Artifact (@PlayArtifact) December 11, 2018
There's more, but we'll leave the details for the update. We also plan for another update next week (then a break over Christmas). Then more work next month. We're in this for the long haul.— Artifact (@PlayArtifact) December 11, 2018
But if Artifact continues to lose players in this rate, it might just be too little too late for Valve.