LawBreakers publisher blames PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for their game's failure

LawBreakers (Image credit: Boss Key Productions)

The game features gravity-defying multiplayer combat which requires some skill to master. Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski left his team at Epic Games in 2012 to form a new studio called Boss Key Productions that developed this title. LawBreakers was initially supposed to be a free-to-play game but the makers decided against that closer to launch in August 2017.

LawBreakers is set in a future version of Earth where the explosion of the moon caused massive destruction and strange gravitational anomalies. The chaos gives rise to new types of criminals who need to be stopped through any means necessary. The shooter pits law enforcement agents against criminals in frantic matches across warped locations. Just like Overwatch, LawBreakers features various characters with unique abilities.

The game was in the news many months ago due to its dwindling player count and the difficulty many gamers — on Steam and PlayStation 4 (PS4) — encountered when finding a match. LawBreakers was published by Nexon and the company has been rather vocal about their disappointment with its sales and player count. In a discussion with investors, Nexon's chief financial officer (CFO) Shiro Uemura said that they wouldn't be "accruing any other impairment loss pertaining to LawBreakers in the future." An impairment loss is a nonrecurring charge taken to write down an asset with an overstated book value. In this case it's synonymous with failure.

According to a report by PCGamesN, Nexon said that LawBreakers "accounts for the majority" of the publisher's quarterly expenses, which totaled to roughly $32.6 million. CFO Uemura issued the following statement when asked about how the game performed over the past few months.

Our results in North America in the third quarter were below our outlook, mainly due to the sales from LawBreakers being below our expectations. 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.

Blaming PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds seems like a simplified answer to an issue which is more complex. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds may have taken away some sales because there is some overlap between gamers who play a wide variety of online shooters but that's where it ends. The games aren't clear-cut competitors because one title focuses more on contained action while the other is about resource acquisition, strategy, and surveying your environment.

The main issue with LawBreakers was that it failed to innovate in any meaningful way. Titanfall already gave players what they wanted when it came to freedom of movement and verticality years ago. Adding various characters to that formula wasn't enough to draw people in. Additionally, the issues with the launch servers and weapon balancing turned many people away. In any case, it doesn't look like LawBreakers will ever make its away across from PC and PS4 to Xbox One any time soon.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.