Valve’s Artifact has lost almost all of its players just months after its release. The latest graph from Steam Charts, a website that tracks how many people are playing Steam games at a certain time, reveals that Artifact‘s daily active player count has been in steady decline for weeks now. How bad is it? Well, according to the site, Artifact‘s peak player count was recorded as 60,740 concurrent players. As of this writing, that number sits at just over 2,580.
While the 24-hour peak for the game was recorded at over 3,000 concurrent players, some sites report that it dropped as low as just over 1,600 concurrent players recently. Put it all together and you’re talking about roughly a 97% drop-off in active players.
It’s not uncommon for many games to suffer a dip in active players after the launch hype has died down, but this dip is unusual for a few reasons. First off, this is a Valve game we’re talking about. Valve might not have the same name power it used to during the Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and CS:GO glory days, but it’s still Valve, and Artifact is a Valve game on the company’s own platform. The idea of a Valve game on Steam not catching on and staying hot is hard to comprehend. Even Team Fortress 2, a game that isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be, recently registered over 50,000 concurrent players.
While we don’t know the current concurrent player count of Hearthstone, which is presumably still the genre king in terms of popularity, a quick look at other CCG titles on Steam reveals just the bad shape Artifact is in. Shadowverse, a much smaller CCG title, recently hosted almost twice as many active players as Artifact. Slay the Spire, a CCG roguelike that doesn’t even offer competitive multiplayer, has about 7,000 more active players than Valve’s Artifact at this moment.
It’s not too late for Valve to turn things around, but for a company that says it wants to make more video games again and which seems to be in the process of re-hiring major pieces of talent, this has to be disheartening. If Artifact continues to fail, the company might just fall back on its Steam profits.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.