A lot has been said about why LawBreakers hit the market with a resounding flop, but publisher Nexon believes one specific contributor was perhaps the most damning for Boss Key's arena shooter: the arrival of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
LawBreakers is a unique FPS developed for core users. We had very high expectations for its launch, however, the timing of its launch turned out to be unfortunate, specifically the blockbuster PC online game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds came out right about the same time, making the market environment very tough for first-person shooters in general and for LawBreakers.
Many have pointed to games like PUBG and Destiny 2 launching right on top of LawBreakers as being a big factor for the game's lack of success. Director Cliff Bleszinski has also pointed to factors such as misguided marketing as a cause. Before launch, the team touted LawBreakers as basically being for only the most skilled shooters, which is a pretty good way to wall off your casual market from even wanting to try the game. Also, originally planned to be a free-to-play title, LawBreakers launched for $30 instead, with all major updates promised at no additional cost.
The reason LawBreakers is still in the conversation is primarily because Nexon had to account for a big $32.6 million hole in their expenses, something they apparently expected Boss Key's game would cover. In other words, they had high expectations that weren't met, and now they've got a hefty amount of shortfall to absorb.
Unfortunately, LawBreakers could be past the point of saving right now. On Steam, the daily peak player count is just a couple dozen, and we have no real way of knowing how well the game is performing on the PlayStation 4. We imagine it couldn't be a much brighter picture there, though.
Even if LawBreakers goes free-to-play at this point, we're not sure there's enough interest out there to make it worth a go. The arena shooter genre is a pretty crowded market at this point and, even though the games are pretty different, Overwatch has a stranglehold on the player base at this point. And then there's Paladins, which launched as a free-to-play title and has gone on to amass quite an audience.
In other words, we figure there are quite a few reasons we could easily peg as leading to the instant downfall of LawBreakers. While PUBG isn't necessarily battling for the same players, it could be argued that the game's arrival sucked all of the oxygen out of the room, garnering all of the attention and leaving LB to flop around, unnoticed. And again, that's a bummer, as LawBreakers is a pretty rad game.