Despite showing some promise when it was first revealed, Lawbreakers ended up being one of the biggest flops of 2017. The latest brainchild of legendary game designer Cliff Bleszinski, Lawbreakers was marketed as a new take on the competitive FPS genre. Bleszinski himself often talked about the game as the next big thing. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out quite as planned. Not only was Lawbreakers mostly ignored by the gaming community, but publisher Nexon apparently lost a lot of money because of it.
“Our results in North America in the third quarter were below our outlook, mainly due to the sales from LawBreakers being below our expectations,” said Nexon’s Shiro Uemura in a recent earnings call with investors. “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.”
Interestingly enough, it looks like Nexon blames the highly successful PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for Lawbreakers’ poor performance. Aside from the fact that they’re both competitive shooters, PUBG and Lawbreakers are completely different games. In other words, it doesn’t seem very likely that PUBG had anything to do with the poor sales. On the other hand, more similar titles like Overwatch and Quake Champions have probably played a bigger role in the grand scheme of things. Overwatch, in particular, which absolutely overshadowed the majority of games trying to get into the hero shooter market.
Between the highly successful Overwatch and free-to-play alternatives like Paladins, Lawbreakers was always going to be a difficult sell. It’s rather unfortunate, as the game itself is by no means bad. In fact, the fast-paced gameplay and zero gravity mechanic make for some pretty interesting moments. At the end of the day, however, the game doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table, which is probably the main reason why it flopped, not because of PUBG.
Lawbreakers is for the most part dead at this point, but if you want to give it a try anyway, the game is currently available for only $15 on Steam. The game’s only chance at building up a community would be to transition to a free-to-play model, so maybe wait a bit to see if Nexon decides to take that route before committing to a purchase in the near future.
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