From the moment LawBreakers released it was on deaths door. Due to poor marketing and a lack of accessibility, launch sales were abysmal. This has lead to the community constantly talking about the player base, with the overall tone being cautiously optimistic.
Over the course of 343 games there were two things that stood out. Despite all the doom and gloom, I found matches relatively quickly. They might not have been the ones I wanted and there were certainly times where I had an excessive wait time, but most of them were within a minute, regardless of whether I was alone or with four others. However, there is no denying there were a lot of familiar faces.
One joke I’ve noticed throughout the community is how you can name someone you played against and other players of similar skill/time will know them. It makes for a fun in-joke, but it’s also a sad realization that the player base is small. The fact I can match with the same person, multiple times, across several days, says a lot. Despite all the negativity, some players want to solve this problem, as LawBreakers is, in my opinion anyway, an enjoyable experience when facing similarly skilled opponents.
The two most common suggestions are holding a free weekend to entice players or going free-to-play. Neither are exactly bad, but they both present certain problems, which might hurt LawBreakers long term success.
The issue with holding a free weekend is the competition. A few weeks ago this wouldn’t have been a problem, but this week there is the Destiny 2 PC beta, the second Call of Duty: WWII beta weekend and other things, like the Survive the Storm update for Fortnite. Next week Destiny 2 releases, which is undoubtedly a weekend many PlayStation gamers have earmarked for the game.
Following that things get a bit trickier. Bungie has already confirmed Trials will return shortly into Destiny 2’s life and while it’s possible it or the raid will appear on the first weekend, they’ll likely save them for sometime after. Odds are the second weekend will be the raid or trials and the one following will be the other. Given the popularity of Destiny, it’s unlikely that LawBreakers would be able to match either of those things, leaving them, again, with something that would only work for PC gamers.
At first glance the obvious solution is waiting until Oct., but that presents other challenges. Given the popularity of Halloween, it stands to reason Destiny 2 will bring back the Festival of the Lost, Overwatch will do something, I’ve seen rumors suggesting Fortnite has something planned and this is just a couple of possibilities.
Even if LawBreakers ignored those possible threats and waited until players got their fill of Destiny 2, there are two hurdles they would need to cross to find success. The first is marketing the free weekend, something they haven’t done a particularly good job of so far, so players actually know it’s happening. Assuming they can do that much, the other, much bigger hurdle, is convincing people to buy it, instead of just playing what they have until Call of Duty: WWII or Star Wars Battlefront 2 release. Naturally it might work for some, but it likely won’t be the boom players are hoping for or the turning point for LawBreakers.
This leaves the other suggestion of going free-to-play. The problems here are much simpler. Considering LawBreakers released a mere three weeks ago, this announcement will aggravate a number of players. This might work if they figure out something that rewards those who pay, though if they go too far, it might discourage potential players, making it hard to find balance. Plus, even if they go free to play, several of the aforementioned problems will come into play. Needless to say, this is a hard situation to resolve.
Right now it’s clear Boss Key Productions needs to do something to help LawBreakers, but it’s hard to say what, if anything, can turn it around. With little runway left, things will probably get worse before they get better. At its current rate, LawBreakers will likely die and attempt to rise again sometime in 2018, which is a shame.