Released less than a month ago, Dragon Ball FighterZ quickly became one of the most played games on Steam. At launch it had nearly 50,000 players—a feat that is impressive for games of any genre. Since then, however, the game has struggled to leave an impression on its audience.
According to a recent report from GitHyp, the highly-anticipated fighting game has lost nearly 80% of its player base in the two weeks since launch. While the game had good reviews from critics and seemed a popular choice among fans, this drop might be indicative of larger issues in the fighting genre: The games simply don’t have the staying power needed to keep players coming back for more.
Despite being a recent release, Dragon Ball FighterZ has already had a rollercoaster ride of a reception. Initially, its closed beta wow-ed critics and fans alike. However, after its beta opened up, the game was plagued with connectivity issues. Fans were understandably upset by the server trouble, but once they were resolved and the game was finally released, both Bandai Namco and gamers alike were hoping to put these difficulties behind them. Unfortunately, the recent drop off in players indicates that it takes more than a recognizable name to create an engaging game with long-lasting value.
In an op-ed published in Game Informer, Suriel Vazquez discusses one of the glaring issues with the fighting games: the entire genre has resorted to using nostalgia and big name brands to sell the same game over and over again. While Soul Calibur, Tekken, and Street Fighter games will always hold a special place in many fans’ hearts, more and more people are asking themselves what new installments in these series have to offer. Dragon Ball FighterZ unfortunately seems to fall under the same umbrella. What are players getting out of this game that they haven’t already gotten before?
Between the sharp drop-off in players and the network issues during the open beta, Dragon Ball FighterZ has certainly gotten off to a rough start. While tournaments, additional DLC, and other promotions might help revive player interest and engagement the future of this game remains uncertain. Will Dragon Ball FighterZ just be another forgotten beat ‘em up game in a few months time? If the fighting genre doesn’t find a way to reinvent itself then the answer is definitely yes.