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Valve’s ‘Artifact’ Sees Massive Player Drop

The concurrent player count for “Artifact,” Valve’s compelling, though questionably costly collectible card game, seems to have bottomed out well below its more than 60,000-player launch count just two weeks ago, according to Steam Charts.

The game, which launched on Nov. 28, peaked at 60,740 players the next day, and then began stepping down from that number in waves. The concurrent high a week after release was already down to less than half that peak, at 28, 446 and as of this writing on Thursday, “Artifact” has a little less than 10,000 people playing.

The game received mixed reviews on Steam, with most of the negativity focused on the way developer Valve charges for items and ranked matches in the game. In our “Artifact” review, Megan Condis also pointed to the in-game economy as a major hurdle for its success.

“‘Artifact’ is an immensely deep game with tons of replay value, but one question still looms large over the entire enterprise: how much will it all cost?” she wrote.  “While there is easily enough content available in the base version of the game to make it worth the initial investment, some might ultimately decide that the cost of building a competitive constructed deck is too steep or find the mechanism of monetization off-putting. It will be interesting to see how the in-game economy evolves in the coming months and whether it will shift the way players make this fundamental calculation.”

The game hasn’t received a major update since Nov. 30.

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