Publisher Nexon has said that they believe LawBreakers failed because it released so close to PlayerUnknown’s Battleground‘s popularity.
In an investor call (via PCGamesN), Nexon didn’t hold back on their title. The game has had a torrid time since release, with dismal player numbers really hurting the online only game. Speaking in the call, Nexon CFO Shiro Uemura said that the release of the monster hit PUBG cannibalised its potential audience:
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.
Later on, answering a question, Uemura didn’t give a particularly cheery outlook on the future, saying:
In Q3, in other expenses, impairment loss is included. And out of the total number, LawBreakers-related impairment loss actually accounts for the majority of that amount. And also, regarding impairment loss for LawBreakers, this is everything, so we will not be accruing any other impairment loss pertaining to LawBreakers in the future.
This is to say the game cost the publisher the majority of its expenditure and that, essentially, the entity won’t be incurring any further losses on it. Basically, don’t expect too much from the title in the future.
The real tragedy here is that LawBreakers is actually a pretty decent game. It had a neat pace and was a good throwback, that is hampered by… well, just not being remarkable enough to demand people’s limited online gaming time. I’m not sure if pointing the finger at PUBG, which is a totally different game, is the right call, but at the end of the day, this is all just ultimately unfortunate.
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