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Not everything Valve does hits the right spot and it seems the final few nails of Artifact's coffin are being hammered in.

Back in January, I wrote a small bit about Artifact and how it was bleeding players constantly. I said it would probably "die off completely within another three to six months" and it looks like I could be right there. Even back in January, it still had over two thousand regular players and less than two months later it's sunk down to around six hundred.


Source - SteamDB

Recently, it's been reported and confirmed that the legendary designer Richard Garfield, who also created Magic: The Gathering, has left Valve and so any chance of bringing Artifact back to life is firmly in the hands of Valve. With no official update on Steam in well over a month and continued silence from the official Twitter account since December, it's really not looking good.

A massive shame, as the actual gameplay in Artifact is really good but for many reasons players just didn't stick with it. To me, the main reasons were the lack of any meaningful progression at launch and the monetization model which really wasn't great for a paid game. Both of those soured the experience for many, myself included.

It's now sat with a Mostly Negative rating from recent user reviews, which isn't exactly surprising.

There's a number of steps Valve could take to revive it but as always we have no idea what they're up to, as Valve don't particularly like to tell anyone about their plans. I actually hope they do manage to turn it around, so I will keep an eye on what happens.

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38 comments
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mat650 11 March 2019 at 12:45 pm UTC
tonRIf any Valve employees read this, here's my suggestion:

Please buy iRacing and make it as your own IP Valve.
or
Make your own F2P racing sim with offline capabilities

Why? I'm not totally making any speculation here. But my heart tells me probably F1 2019 may coming to EGS exclusively. Let's be honest, EGS doesn't have so-called proper racing games. So, if Valve secured iRacing (not forget, port it to Linux), the future of Steam (read : money) maybe secured and Valve can continue to be lazy some more after that.
I agree on the fact that Valve could benefit from the development or acquisition of a sim car game. In the specific case they should work harder on promoting the steam machine at ESports events and work closer with device manufacturer to ensure top performance of steering wheels, pedals, VR and so on... I also hope they consider the idea of reviving a specific franchise if you know what I'm talking about....
gradyvuckovic 11 March 2019 at 12:50 pm UTC
rkfg
gradyvuckovicThe important thing is that they just brush it off and move onto the next idea to try.
You mean, just abandon about 1.5m customers? Not a good move from the business point of view. The brand loyalty is finite. Blizzard were known as a company that only makes great games, instant classics and so were Bioware. I hope Valve don't want to join them.

Well I don't mean shut down the game or anything, obviously provide the same usual level of support they provide to any Valve game, but just accept it wasn't a popular idea and move on to make a new game. O.o
mylka 11 March 2019 at 12:50 pm UTC
gradyvuckovicIt's not the first time Valve has made a game that bombed. But that's ok. It was different, they were trying something that was new for them. It didn't work but oh well. The important thing is that they just brush it off and move onto the next idea to try.

it is a card game.
even gwent and thronebreaker arent very popular

i dont get it why valve doesnt buy a real game studio.
like MS did with obsidian.

The Outer Worlds from vavle would be awesome

farm51 would be nice. they have nice games and Chernobylite looks awesome
Egonaut 11 March 2019 at 12:51 pm UTC
I'm absolutely not surprised. Anyone remembers the crowd reaction on the announcement of a card game?

https://youtu.be/n_GcXaXsmOU?t=15
rkfg 11 March 2019 at 12:56 pm UTC
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Ehvis
rkfg
gradyvuckovicThe important thing is that they just brush it off and move onto the next idea to try.
You mean, just abandon about 1.5m customers? Not a good move from the business point of view. The brand loyalty is finite. Blizzard were known as a company that only makes great games, instant classics and so were Bioware. I hope Valve don't want to join them.

Well, apparently the 1.5 million customers abandoned the game that they could have still been playing.
Sure, but there are two ways to acknowledge the issue: either fix it or give up. Valve can lose the trust these 1.5m put in them or regain it if they fix the game one way or another. I don't believe the appropriate response to players abandoning the game is doing the same from the developer side, at least not for a big company like Valve. For indies this really might be too much to handle and it might be the time when they sell their car and house to cover the debts and move to the mom's basement or wherever (can't blame anyone in such situation, it sucks but it happens). But Valve can do better.
stuff 11 March 2019 at 12:59 pm UTC
subValve should do some fan service and bring old franchises back to life.

I guess, this would make people honor games like Artifact more,
as it doesn't feel like Valve is ONLY after cash cows.

Just my 2 cents.

If Valve would be only after cash cows, they would just sit on their franchises and make new sequels every few years like Call of Duty etc. With Artifact they tried something new. I rather have companies trying something new than just make sequel after sequel. On the other hand, the last Half Life was years ago, so a Half Life 3 would definitely not feel like a cash grab ;)

Also I'm a little bit irritated why we as Linux gamers should call Artifact a failure and a dead game. Remember, Linux also has very few users/games. But I have no problem finding matches in Artifact and I also have no problem finding games on Linux.


Last edited by stuff at 11 March 2019 at 1:00 pm UTC
TheSHEEEP 11 March 2019 at 1:09 pm UTC
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There are just so many things that are sad.
The failure would have been entirely preventable and was for the most part foreseeable.

A virtual trading card game that requires an entry fee? Bad idea on its own.
A virtual trading card game that requires an entry fee and THEN additionally a lot of money to pump into it? Bad idea.
No meaningful progression in a TCG? Bad idea.
No good matchmaking in a TCG? Bad idea.
Announcing it to a crowd of people who wanted something entirely different? Bad idea.

As Liam wrote, the core gameplay is actually good, which makes it all the sadder that everything around it never really gave it a chance.

rkfgSure, but there are two ways to acknowledge the issue: either fix it or give up. Valve can lose the trust these 1.5m put in them or regain it if they fix the game one way or another. I don't believe the appropriate response to players abandoning the game is doing the same from the developer side, at least not for a big company like Valve. For indies this really might be too much to handle and it might be the time when they sell their car and house to cover the debts and move to the mom's basement or wherever (can't blame anyone in such situation, it sucks but it happens). But Valve can do better.
Valve would be incredibly stupid from a business perspective to invest further in this game. Maybe they'll keep it alive with a skeleton crew. But anything more than that would be wasted money.
You have one chance with a game like that, and they failed.
And Valve didn't lose that much trust because most player never cared for the game to begin with - it never was anywhere near as popular as MtG or Hearthstone. They can afford to lose some people - a better loss than the loss of money trying to ressurrect this game.
And Valve realized that and acted accordingly. If you own a business, you need to face reality sometimes.

Valve would really only need to do one thing to give people what they want: Learn to count to three. Half-Life, L4D, Portal, ...
TheSHEEEP 11 March 2019 at 1:10 pm UTC
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stuffAlso I'm a little bit irritated why we as Linux gamers should call Artifact a failure and a dead game. Remember, Linux also has very few users/games. But I have no problem finding matches in Artifact and I also have no problem finding games on Linux.
A failure relative to the expectations and to what they likely invested into it.

Also, trust me, three months from now, you'll be having problems finding matches in Artifact... The problem with online games is that once it becomes clear they are dying, there's almost no turning back. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy in almost all cases.
Who's going to come in now? Since the game is dying, that would be an unwise investment of time and money.
So for the most part, only "old" players remain. And those dwindle slowly, too.

Maybe going F2P would help, but with them laying off staff I don't think that's what will happen.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 11 March 2019 at 1:15 pm UTC
sub 11 March 2019 at 1:22 pm UTC
stuff
subValve should do some fan service and bring old franchises back to life.

I guess, this would make people honor games like Artifact more,
as it doesn't feel like Valve is ONLY after cash cows.

Just my 2 cents.

If Valve would be only after cash cows, they would just sit on their franchises and make new sequels every few years like Call of Duty etc. With Artifact they tried something new. I rather have companies trying something new than just make sequel after sequel. On the other hand, the last Half Life was years ago, so a Half Life 3 would definitely not feel like a cash grab ;)

Not sure about that.

Ofc, a good Half Life, Portal, L4D game will sell a lot and it's safe to assume it'll make good money.
Yet, it won't ever generate nearly as much cash that (big, successful) games with clever (addictive) monetization models achieve.

Plus, doing another Half Life and Portal comes with a high risk and still would require a lot of time and resources to put in.

So, I don't agree. It wouldn't be an easy way for Valve. I'm tempted to say it's exactly the other way around.
Valve is after the next big thing with monetization and not getting their hands dirty with Half Life and Portal

And I still claim it's not clever for Valve in the long run to treat their highly successful franchise that started it all with disrespect. It's also an important part of loyalty to a company.
While it might sound unrelated to a failing Artifact, people could be p*ssed by a company that refuses to do fan service and the only game they released in a long time is a card game. Not saying it is a bad game (I don't know).
DerpFox 11 March 2019 at 3:04 pm UTC
Its not very surprising the game is failing and soon will be dying.

If it wasn't for this website I would never have heard of it, if I ask around me even TCG player haven't heard of it. The communication around it have been abysmal. Completely inexistent outside of the Dota 2 community, but I'm not surprised Valve have getting worst and worst with their communication. It was a time when only some one ùentioning Valve name could bring tones of players but nowadays people are tired with Valve not bringing the games they want, they don't watch Valve news anymore. I've even met younger players that only associate Valve with Steam and nothing else, yes there is people that think Valve doesn't and have never made games! Its time Valve realise that there golden age as a Game Making company is way behind them and its due time they shake themselve and do something big and fast.

And the other factor, for player who have heard of Artifact, is that its a Pay 2 Play game with Microtransaction. This was the killing stab. TThese two doesn't goes well together anymorepeople are fed up to pay a game and then be charged again via Microtransaction. People understand micro transaction in a free to play game not in a pay to play. Its been month that every gaming news outlet are talking about that, Valve should have seen that coming. It was not a secret, a lot of Studios and Publisher have made the news on that subject the past year.

And the last detail is that Valve came last to the online TCG party, not just last but late. A lot of online TCG have come and went and the one that stay have taken a few loss of players in 2018 (even the big one, heartstone have taken some huge blow). The online TCG genre have fell out of fashion and has became a niche genre if they wanted to make one it should have been 2 years ago at least.

The choice is theirs now. Or they make it a F2P with microtransaction like most of the other online TCG (they could even use the steam market to make it like a real TCG game where you can sell and/or exchange the cards). Or they innovate and make it Pay to Play and revamp the way you get cards in game. Or simply kill it and try something else.

Valve look completely lost in their idea of themself like its 2007 all over again and Protal is a huge success. Sorry guys but that was 15 years ago. L4D2 was 10 years ago. In all these years what have they done? A relatively popular niche game that is Dota 2? CS:GO? Even these seems to have gone past their golden age. It has been years since I'm heard people talking about huge competition for these games. Outside of their own communities no one is talking about them. It look sadly like an echo chamber.

Compared to other same sized Studio and Publisher Valve have done close to nothing for the past 15 years. They are as good as dead for a lot of players. In that time the others have pumped out around one game every 2 to 3 years some have even done one every years.

People are waiting for HL3, A cress over HL/Portal and L4D3 not for an other Dota world game. No one care about Dota, sorry. Its time to realise that and to move on something more productive. Even a new IP would do.

Edit : Typo, and some rewrite for calrity.


Last edited by DerpFox at 11 March 2019 at 3:24 pm UTC
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