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Dauntless hits 5 million players in first week; Phoenix Labs tries to keep up

Dauntless, a free-to-play monster hunting game, surpassed 5 million players within the first week since its  launch, despite being plagued with long queue times due to player demand.

Dauntless was released on May 21 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and on the PC as an Epic Games Store exclusive, with the impressive milestone a far cry from the interest that the game drew when it was previously launched as a beta version for just the PC. The demand for access to the free-to-play challenger to Monster Hunter: World was so massive that developer Phoenix Labs initially had trouble in trying to keep up.

Matchmaking problems and server issues slowed down Dauntless in its opening days, with some players reportedly having to wait three hours just to get into the game. There were also reports of purchases not showing up in players’ accounts, which was a major problem for a free-to-play game that relies on microtransactions, while some players reported a bug that caused it to crash.

“Realistically the problems that you’re citing are kind of true of any live game and it’s not for lack of planning,” Phoenix Labs’ head of publishing Nick Clifford told Kotaku in an interview. “A lot of these problems you don’t know you have them until players show up.”

The official Twitter account of Dauntless kept a track record of how Phoenix Labs worked to keep up with the surge of players. Fortunately, it appears that the server situation is starting to get better, as the developer keeps working to increase capacity for the game.

// Another Morning Update //

✨ We are back, slashing and smashing that queue
✨ We are still slowly increasing capacity for players in-game
✨ You are all tied for The Best Ever

— Dauntless (@PlayDauntless) May 26, 2019

Dauntless features true cross-platform play, allowing players to carry their progress between the game’s current versions, and eventually also to the Nintendo Switch and mobile once it launches on those platforms.

Compared to Monster Hunter: World, Dauntless features simpler mechanics and aesthetics, similar to the comparison between PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite in the Battle Royale space. It remains to be seen whether Dauntless will surpass Monster Hunter: World in the same manner that Fortnite overtook PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Dauntless has a powerful creature to slay in front of it though, as Monster Hunter: World is set to become even bigger with Iceborne, the game’s first official expansion.

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