Already off to a rocky start, Valve’s Artifact player numbers are continuing to drop. The DOTA 2 card game, which was announced at the 2017 DOTA Invitational to a meme-worthy chorus of disappointed groans, already was having player troubles just after release. Now, the numbers have gone down even further, down 97% in two months.
According to SteamCharts, the game saw its lowest player-count ever, only 1,639 different players online at the same time. The decline is even more shocking considering the popularity of DOTA 2 (as one of the two most-popular MOBA games on Steam), and the fact that it’s Valve’s first game in many years.
Of course, it being Valve’s first game in a great many years, brings with it certain expectations. Considering Valve hasn’t released a game since Half-Life 2: Episode 2, many people were hoping that the announcement at the Invitational would be something different than yet another card game for an established property, such as Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or straight up Half Life 3.
While Blizzard has achieved a good deal of success with its own card game, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft is much more accessible and popular than Defense of the Ancients, so a combination of disappointment that it’s not Half-Life, and being tired of card games, might be the reason for how low Artifact player numbers are.
Several years ago, Valve had previously made the announcement that they’re in a good position to begin developing games again, both financially and in terms of programming, with the success of Steam. While it’s never a good thing for a studio to fail at something, especially a studio that’s made as many good games as Valve, hopefully Artifact can persuade them to move on to other games that might be better-received.
If you still want to try the game out, you can add to the Artifact player numbers by getting the game on Steam, if you’re willing to spend twenty bucks, though who knows how much longer that will be.