First noticed by VGC News, SteamCharts shows that the worldwide concurrent player count on PC for Babylon’s Fall, the embattled live service game by Square Enix and Platinum Games, fell to just one player on Tuesday night, before stabilizing to its more typical but still anemic 20-50 concurrent players.
Player counts are not the end-all be-all of a game’s health. They ebb and flow, with inevitable peaks at launch or the release of an expansion and contractions during dry spells of new content. That being said, it’s alarming to see a live service game by a long-established publisher and well-liked developer reach such a critical level just two months after launch.
As VGC points out, frequent “dead game” candidates Marvel’s Avengers and Outriders have managed to maintain audiences several times the size of Babylon’s Fall. It’s unclear how the game is doing on PlayStation and Xbox, but I doubt it’s much better given Babylon’s Fall’s frosty reception.
In PC Gamer’s review, Anne-Marie Coyle stated that “Babylon’s Fall crumbles under the weight of bland design, repetitive gameplay and prioritization of paywalls over players.” Babylon’s Fall’s poor reception, coupled with a lack of marketing or word of mouth helps put its current situation in perspective.
At the end of March, Platinum insisted that “there are no plans to reduce the scale of development on Babylon’s Fall. Content up to the end of Season 2 is now practically complete and we have started work on Season 3 and beyond.” However, it’s hard to imagine development being allowed to continue for much longer if the team isn’t able to turn this situation around.
Square Enix made headlines this past week as it sloughed off its North American studios and properties, with the company claiming the shift “enables the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.”
For its part, Platinum’s CEO has publicly stated that the studio will shift to live service games in the future, as opposed to the single player character action games that put it on the map. Babylon’s Fall’s disastrous launch may give the company pause before committing to the hilt, however.