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.

  • It could have been the similar color palette throughout the entire game, the lack of memorable characters, and the fact that the game is based on aggression that caused it to flop. Or maybe the fact that the head of the studio is self absorbed. But I blame pubg too. ;)
  • It was just dumb not to sell it on Xbox. Most console gamers know epic from an Xbox title. And the Xbox controller is better suited for shooters. Just strange decisions
  • yes they probably think that no one gonna care about Xbox players.
  • PC was their target demographic, so Xbox and PS4 really had nothing to do with this.  Honestly the amount of uninformed comments here is astounding.  The site should change from Windows Central to Xbox Fanboy Central.
  • I have never heard of this game until just now.
  • Shame when any game fails, but not really interested in it. Incidentally, if I buy PUBG in early access, do I automatically get the full game?
  • Yes, it'll automatically upgrade to the final release when it launches maybe later this year.
  • Yea just like ark did in preview.
  • Titanfall 2 just does it better. 
  • Haha, you got what you deserved Cliffy. 😁
  • And WHY is that, exactly?
  • It failed because they didn't offer it on both consoles.
  • Never heard of it until now surprisingly
  • That is just not right. I played the beta of that game, and it was just a worse Overwatch clone that offered little in the way of character engagement or fun and didn't differentiate itself in the market. It's just a bland, uninteresting game.
  • A shooter that opted out of Xbox, you made your bed now lay in it.. If it were a jrpg then the decision would make sense.
  • Publisher decision, not the Developer... Sony offered more money for console exclusivity. That's always a bad move.
  • Well then Sony should reimburse them for their losses. Sort of explains why PS4 exclusives are mostly ****** uninteresting games.
  • LOL actually most are highly rated games. 
  • No, making a bad game people don't want to play is responsible. More people by far still play games like CS:GO, around since the Roman times. What does that tell you.
  • While mechanically sound... The game didn't innovate, wasn't interesting & had crap servers/matchmaking. Not to mention the poor/nonexistent marketing.
  • They should have made it for both the consoles. Bad management led their game to the ultimate failure. Xbox too has large number of player base and the more title you give to Xbox the more it deserve attention from it's player.