When do you call a game dead and move on to the newer and shinier title? Ask yourself that question — what’s the first answer that pops into your head? There’s a huge trend that I’ve been noticing in the gaming community — when a game is released with a huge following and player count, it doesn’t take long for those numbers to drop? So when do you move on and let a dead game die?

WHAT IS A DEAD GAME?

What I consider to be the definition of a dead game is simple: a game in which the player count has dropped so drastically that the concurrent player count is in the triple digits. Games that are heavily multiplayer-focused are the ones who suffer from this most. It’s almost a gamble trying to develop a multiplayer game while games like Fortnite and League of Legends reign.

A dead game is also one that is bringing in less money. It’s only a matter of time before the cost of running servers and maintenance begin to carve away layers of money. Video games are a business and dead multiplayer games all eventually become revenue leeches.

EXAMPLES OF A DEAD GAME

LAWBREAKERS

Source: Lawbreakers Wikipedia Page

The first game that comes to mind when I think of a dead game is Lawbreakers. This was a first-person shooter from Boss Key Productions that had a focus on low-gravity physics and gameplay. When the game was first released, it had a huge viewership on Twitch as big time streamers all tried it out. The game seemed to be a hit, but with a lack of players coming back after the closed and open beta, it was doomed. After it failed to generate an active playerbase even after going free-to-play, the game was shut down on September 14, 2018. You can no longer purchase the game on Steam. When trying to access the official site for more info, it directs you to the official Nexon site.

EVOLVE

Source: Evolve Official Website

Evolve was an extremely hyped game that sadly failed to maintain the player count needed to keep servers running. The 4 vs. 1 humans vs. montser gameplay was not as fun as anticipated. I actually bought the game upon release and was done with most things within the first day. The repeated gameplay and somewhat un-fun, predictable nature of the hunt got old after a week. Within the first 24 hours, hunters were overpowering the monsters with ease, which made playing as the monster plain boring and frustrating. The game eventually went free-to-play as most games dying do. On September 3, 2018 the servers were shut down. The game remains playable, but only on peer-to-peer network.

RESIDENT EVIL OUTBREAK

Source: TC Taylor, screenshot.

Resident Evil Outbreak Files #1 & #2 are some of my all time favorite Resident Evil games. The promise of a Resident Evil with multiplayer set in Raccoon City was amazing to my young 16-year old mind back in 2004. The only issue was that I needed a pretty decent internet connection and an adapter for online play. Sadly I did not have the hardware, and I didn’t know many who did. This inaccessibility might have contributed to the game’s decline. It wasn’t long after the games’ releases that the servers were shut down on December 31, 2007. The game is still playable but only via a fan server. The playerbase is small, but tightly-knit and active. However, it still is considered a dead game.

WHEN DO YOU LEAVE A DEAD OR DYING GAME?

How do you know when you are investing time in a game that might be gone in years or just months to come? Is it even worth investing into a new game knowing that the player base will shift back to Fortnite or Minecraft? That is the issue that we as gamers face now. Games are in a place now where flashy is good, gameplay is better, but the all mighty streamers play a key role. If a game is pulling large viewer counts on Twitch, it is safe to say the game is healthy.

Big streamers like Dr DisRespect bring in tons of players for any game that he is streaming. And when Dr DisRespect leaves a game, or moves onto the next game that he may or may not be paid to play, he takes that player base with him. The same can be said for any large streamer. They sway the tides of gaming whether they know it or not.

Most big time streamers play one of five games: Counter-Strike, Fortnite, Dota 2, League of Legends, or Overwatch. These five games normally have professional players that are indeed paid to play it. Players have favorite streamers and they will go with what they are playing. As long as said favorite streamer is paid to play, they will.

CONCLUSION

When do you know a game is going to die? Sadly the answer is when the larger streamers start to leave. It is not a fair state of gaming when this can sway whatever tide is to come next. As for single-player games, they are less affected by this, because they’re only require to make the money for what was produced. Most do not have to keep a dedicated server up for the game to play unless there is a multiplayer mode.

Hopefully we can stray away from this in time, but I do not see this trend ending any time soon.

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