- Left 4 Dead writer
- The current CEO at Stray Bombay blamed the player counts and how they bring poor PR to the games.
- He says that stats fluctuate, like during updates, which affects how users view a game. He will launch titles in closed beta from now on.
Launching games in early access has its merits but has become a common theme among most studios in recent times. Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek recently took to LinkedIn and explained his reasons behind not wanting to release titles in early access anymore. He blamed the player counts and how much of an effect it has on players regarding the game. The popular dev explains that the stat is just not as reliable or concrete as many think.
I think one of the reason I will never do Early Access again is… how player counts are seen by steam and then downwind by the community. Steamdb will say we have 1 player yesterday, we have 10,000. Some cross play sure, but also some just how they get counted for small games,” said Chet Faliszek.
Chet Faliszek iterates that players do not understand the fluctuations between SteamDB and actual stats, which leads to a lot of bad PR for the game. The player count is primarily affected during major updates for entries, as we have seen many a time before. A slew of these projects eventually end up considered dead by bad actors or oblivious players because of a single “stat sheet.”
There is some small number of people on Steam who just instantly want to post – Dead Game and the state a stat sheet from SteamDB not just on our game, but any game that is under the threshold for the real numbers to be counted… and instead a number is synthesized on bad data and always amazingly low.”
Even if a game pulls swaths of players organically, the aftermath of such harmful publicity derived from player count often results in games having a fallout, as stated by the Left 4 Dead writer. It is especially harmful to smaller devs who use the early access approach to keep fueling their games throughout the development. As a result, Chet will only be pushing his games into closed betas from now on.
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In a reply to GamesRadar+ on Twitter, the dev clarified that SteamDB is not inaccurate but rather the date it uses to show current player counts. This leads to a skewed perception among the fans of a game.
Chet Faliszek has been involved in story writing for titles such as Half-Life, Portal, and Left 4 Dead in the past. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Stray Bombay Company, the studio behind co-op sci-fi shooter The Anacrusis.
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