Why Do New Multiplayer FPS Games Struggle To Maintain Active Communities?

Earlier this year, Evolve: Ultimate Edition was included in the Xbox Live’s   service. I have yet to play it due to the fact that supposedly the game doesn’t have a very active community and this kind of had me thinking about the title and how many gamers were very excited for it when it first came out as well as how quickly it seemed that many gamers forgot all about it’s existence soon afterwards.

It does seem that this is a general problem that seems to have plagued quite a few big FPS multiplayer titles over the past few years.

Perhaps, a very good example of such a game that has recently experienced this, is . Although Titanfall 2 did receive stellar reviews when it was first released, there have been some notes made about the game’s relatively small active player base.

Some have attributed the game’s small player base to the fact that it was released at the same time as  and , whereas others have suggested that Titanfall 2’s sales suffered due to the lasting negative image produced by its predecessor, in the fact that its active player numbers also dropped dramatically a few months after release, despite it being hailed as the game that was going to kill the Call of Duty franchise.

So, why are new FPS  struggling to maintain their player bases? Are older, more established franchises simply flooding the market with too many games to allow new IPs to grow? Or are newer games simply just not doing enough to sustain active players bases?

Do Established Franchises Limit The Growth of New Shooters?

Battlefield 1.jpg

Battlefield 1. (Credit: EA)

There is no denying that the consistent availability of a new Call of Duty or  game each year does indeed have an effect on the success of new games within the genre.

Online multiplayer games live and die by their communities and so if a consumer believes that there may not be as many active players within a particular game’s community, they will neglect to buy the title.

I have seen this in myself quite recently in the fact that I bought Tom Clancy’s  with a group of  friends. I bought the game quite simply due to the fact that I was assured that I would have other people to play with.

People Want Reliable Matchmaking

Rainbow Six Siege.jpg

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. (Credit: Ubisoft)

It is harder to want to play a competitive game that is supposed to be somewhat  in nature if you feel that firstly, you won’t be able to find a match, and secondly, that there will be nobody to interact with if you do.

As a general, there are a lot of gamers who do tend to buy most of the Call of Duty or Battlefield games when they are released, so it’s almost somewhat a guarantee that if you buy one of those titles, you will have a group of people to play with and this idea in itself boosts sales.

Quite simply, if you made a group of friends while playing Battlefield 4, it is quite likely that the same group of friends carried over to Battlefield 1. Why do you have to worry about whether a new game will have a good active community if there are already established brands?

Battlefield 4.jpg

Battlefield 4. (Credit: EA)

In this instance, it seems that the fault is both with some developers for consistently flooding the market with games within a particular series, as well as with gamers for consistently sticking to the same franchise.

Are Developers Not Doing Enough to Sustain Active Player Bases in New Multiplayer Games?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Obviously, developers of new games cannot really do all that much to stop industry juggernauts from draining their player bases if they have already provided a new worthwhile experience with consistent incentives to keep playing the game.

Black Ops 3.jpg

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. (Credit: Activision)

It is at that point that developers have to hope that gamers realize that their title provides a better experience than established franchises.

This, however, is rarely the case as there usually is something that developers can do to create an incentive for gamers to buy their new game or keep playing it.

Although not an FPS title, a good recent example of this perhaps could be For Honor is a new fun multiplayer experience available to gamers, but suffers greatly in the fact that it uses peer-to-peer networking instead of dedicated servers, which has resulted in long wait times to simply find and start a match as well as instance where people rage quit and in turn end the entire game for all players in the lobby.

For Honor.jpg

For Honor. (Credit: Ubisoft)

These are issues that could break a community’s interest in a new game, especially when one takes into account that Ubisoft has not been taking active steps to fix these problems.

With regards to Titanfall 2, perhaps, it was not the best idea for EA to have released, from all accounts, what appears to be a very good game, in between the release of one of their flagship titles within the same genre as well as that of their greatest competitor.

It is important to note that Activision and EA kill off their own communities by releasing new Call of Duty and Battlefield titles so frequently, and thus a newer IP such as Titanfall 2, never really stood a chance.

Evolve.jpg

Evolve. (Credit: Turtle Rock)

Even after almost halving the price of the game soon after launch wasn’t enough to recapture the sales numbers that perhaps could have been gained had the game been released in a different release window.

As for Evolve, many gamers felt that the game, although exciting, didn’t quite provide enough content to keep up interest for a long time and Turtle Rock also didn’t do quite enough to rectify this situation.

So, it is very clear that there are particular steps that developers can take to help their games maintain a strong active community. Whether or not they chose to act upon them, is a different story.

Do you think that Call of Duty and Battlefield are killing the success of new multiplayer FPS games or do you think that developers aren’t doing enough to keep the active player base within new games alive? Please share in the comments down below.

[Source: PCGamer; VG247; Forbes; PCGamesN; Destructoid]

  1. I think we’re moving away from the Call of Duties of the world dominating the online (console) space. They’ll always be popular but there’s enough variety in games that I don’t think we’ll see one game for everyone. Look at something like Overwatch, it’s completely different to COD and BF and yet arguably has a significantly larger footprint.

    As for Siege. I think that’s got a really rather surprising community, especially on PC where from what I gather, it’s flourishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Yeah it does seem so in some ways and there’s always exceptions to examples one may point out. Quite surprised at how well Overwatch has been doing.

      Siege is quite a comeback game it seems. Nobody was into it when it came out and now it seems like so many people are playing it.

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