LawBreakers is a tiny slice of an already small pie.
This is going to be a short one because there isn’t a lot to say. Unfortunately, for what is probably a great group of developers, LawBreakers is falling very short of expectations. Not every game on the market needs to be the next Overwatch or Counter-Strike, but sales should at least be better than the beta.
I’ve seen a lot of “failed” video game titles in my time but recently there has been a trend of mismanaged marketing blunders (see also: Battleborn). LawBreakers is a classic case of developers/publishers chasing multiple markets with a product that is supposed to appeal to a cross section of gamers. The end result is usually neither market finding the product attractive. As we at GO30 have discussed before, hitting the middle ground between all markets is usually (but not always) a bad idea.
I played the LawBreakers beta and it was clear that the developers were going for a mix of Overwatch and Quake. It was a competent, interesting experience, marred by the absolute chaotic nature of its combat. It’s faster and more “over the top” than Overwatch but the character abilities and map designs all scream “Hey! I’m a hero shooter too.” To be clear, there is nothing wrong with combining genres and trying something new. The market needs more titles that attempt new things while also inviting people in with familiar mechanics. The problem LawBreakers has it that it doesn’t do anything particularly better than anything else. It has some new and interesting mechanics but they didn’t hook me in. Given that the game is priced at $30, I would need to find a reason to spend $30 on it and personally, I can’t find it. If I am going to play a hero shooter, Overwatch is the better choice for me because I prefer it’s streamlined approach to the genre. Unfortunately, I believe LawBreakers has fallen into the “abyss” between markets.
(I don’t want to light the funeral pyre yet. This is a slow start but depending on support or marketing changes, we may see LawBreakers break out of this slump. I want to see them succeed. While we can analyze why a game fails or struggles to find a market, it’s good to remember there are real people behind it who need a paycheck to make a living. It is also important to note a game doesn’t need 10,000 active players to be a competent, well constructed product. It is very possible for exciting, interesting, technically sound games to only pick up a slice of the market.)