2017 was a huge year for games, but one game that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle is Lawbreakers. Though Cliff Bleszinski’s role as director of Lawbreakers netted it a fair amount of attention in the lead up to its launch, the game didn’t really attract a sizable audience when it was released. Publisher Nexon has an idea of why Lawbreakers performed under expectations, and it has to do with a little game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
In a transcript from a Q3 2017 conference call with investors, Nexon executives are straightforward with the fact that Lawbreakers disappointed in North America. Nexon CFO Shiro Uemura said during the conference call that his company has written off Lawbreakers entirely at this point, lending to its poor sales and presumably the notion that its popularity isn’t going to grow much from here on out.
So, what went wrong? After a series of beta tests, Lawbreakers launched on Steam and PlayStation 4 on August 8. As Unemura notes, this was a particularly crowded time for shooters, owing to the meteoric rise in popularity PUBG experienced throughout the year.
“We had very high expectations for its launch,” Unemura said. “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.”
Though PUBG first entered Early Access back in March, it seemed to really pick up steam (no pun intended) over the course of the summer. Lawbreakers would have launched during a time when the hype surrounding PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was growing quickly, and it can be difficult to get your game noticed when another title is busy forging a reputation as a phenomenon.
PUBG probably isn’t entirely to blame for Lawbreakers‘ failure, but it certainly didn’t help. We’re not entirely sure how well the game is selling on PlayStation 4, but player numbers on the Steam version have been fairly dismal despite a number of free weekends designed to draw new players in. Unfortunately, Nexon’s decision to write it off probably means that we won’t hear much from the game in the future, which is certainly a shame for anyone who gave it a shot and found it to be fun.