Zombie MMO DayZ is one of the most popular games ever released on Steam. The game tasks players with surviving a harsh landscape where they must fend off the undead and other players on their server, as well as starvation and thirst. The gameplay may be unforgiving but DayZ managed to sell three million units in its first year on sale; which is impressive given that the game is still in Early Access and it originally began life as an ARMA 2 mod.
However, the time that the game has spent in Early Access has not been entirely smooth. At last year’s E3 DayZ creator Dean Hall announced that the game would be coming to PS4 (before later confirming an Xbox release too), causing the game’s PC players to complain that developer Bohemia Interactive was considering console versions before the PC version was close to completion. Then in December, Hall left Bohemia Interactive to found his own company, RocketWerkz.
On top of this, Bohemia kicked off 2015 by releasing a DayZ roadmap that showed that not only did they not expect a full version of the game to launch until 2016 (almost three years after its Early Access release) but that the Early Access version would be getting a $5 price hike too, in order for them to make it to that full release.
Making matters considerably worse, data on Steam Charts suggests that DayZ‘s player base is dwindling. While the game did manage to reach a peak figure of 45,398 concurrent players when it launched back in December 2013, by October 2014 that had dropped to 20,483. That figure did pick back up to 28,421 concurrent players in November 2014, but figures soon started declining again. This is especially apparent when April 2015’s figures (25,784 concurrent players) are compared to May 2015’s (13,104 concurrent players), showing that in just one month, DayZ‘s player base decreased by almost half.
Some of this decline can be attributed to the release of H1Z1. The rival title is also a zombie-based MMO which has been been out since January, launching with some of the features on DayZ‘s 2015 roadmap such as player stamina and vehicles – but more importantly it was made available at a cheaper price. The other reason for the (recent) drop-off in concurrent DayZ players may just be the lead up to summer, as people spend less time playing games and more time outside in the warm weather.
But this doesn’t mean that Bohemia will have nothing to worry about when the cold weather picks back up. Not only will it be difficult for the developer to encourage new DayZ players to buy the game on account of that price hike (another price increase is planned for the end of the year) but the competition from H1Z1 will get even fiercer in a few months too. H1Z1‘s developer says that they “anticipate a full release later this year” at which point H1Z1 will go free to play. If they can release the PS4 version of H1Z1 quickly too, Bohemia could be in some real trouble.
Source: Steam Charts