Valve has decided to pause Artifact updates, as the gaming company will instead focus on fixing the “deep-rooted issues” of the digital card game.
Artifact was revealed at The International 2017, instead of the highly anticipated Half-Life 3. The digital card game, with unique gameplay that mimics the mechanics of DOTA 2, was supposed to take on the likes of Hearthstone and Gwent. However, like its announcement, Artifact has so far been a disappointment.
“Artifact represents the largest discrepancy between our expectations for how one of our games would be received and the actual outcome,” Valve wrote in a blog post on the game’s official website, breaking its silence as the last update for the game was released in January. The company said that according to feedback from players, it is clear that there are “deep-rooted issues” with the digital card game, and that the original strategy of releasing updates with new features and cards will not be enough to fix the problems.
Valve said that it will now focus on re-examining Artifact‘s game design, economy, and social experience, instead of working on updates for the digital card game. The gaming company did not reveal a specific timeline for the endeavor, only sating that it expects the process to take “a significant amount of time.”
Artifact was slammed even before it was launched due to its business model. While Hearthstone and Gwent are free-to-play games, Valve’s digital card game has a starting cost of $20 that gives players 10 booster packs, five event tickets, and a pair of starter decks. Initially, players may only acquire new cards by spending real-world money. In addition, players complained about the lack of progression mechanics.
Valve made changes to address the backlash on Artifact microtransactions, but they were apparently not enough to maintain player interest. The digital card game has an average of only a little more than 350 concurrent players over the past 30 days, rapidly declining from about 11,200 concurrent players in December, according to Steam Charts.
It remains to be seen what changes Valve will implement to fix the problems surrounding Artifact, and if they will be enough to revive interest in the digital card game.