Destiny 2 hits its lowest player count ever, and it’ll happen again

Destiny 2 has hit its lowest player count since its Steam debut, and the Bungie MMO's the next few months will see even steeper drops.

A man in armor wielding a huge axe stands in a ray of purple light surrounded by a bright orange glow

Destiny 2 has always seen its Steam player count rapidly drop off in the last weeks of November – after all, it’s the end of a season with no events or any other activities to keep players busy. This year, however, the bar for active users on Steam dropped to a new record low, and the reason is a blend of frustration, protest, and a year that, overall, has let a lot of players down.

To put everything in context, when 2023’s expansion, Lightfall, came out, Destiny 2 hit its record for highest concurring players of all time – all thanks to an avalanche of preorders, a banger conclusion to the Season of the Seraph (the one immediately preceding the release of the new expansion), and a year’s worth of hype following the critically acclaimed Witch Queen. Despite all this, Bungie managed to burn through players’ trust by releasing an underdeveloped new campaign for the MMORPG, with unresolved narrative, a so-so raid, and an underwhelming first season.

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The year was not off to a big start, then, but according to SteamCharts, today’s numbers (57,551 peak players in the last 30 days with an average of just 33,593 players) are the result of even more missteps by the company. This year’s narrative has been a crescendo, with Season of the Deep revealing the origins of the Witness (Destiny’s big bad) and Season of the Witch leading us to decode the long-elusive 15th wish. Despite all this, and a coming season that will finally see us enter the portal to the Traveler’s Pale Heart, the numbers are even lower than usual.

The main culprit, then, must be Bungie’s recent layoffs, spurred on by the 45% revenue miss that, according to Destiny 2 insider Paul Tassi, could have put the company in jeopardy were it still independent and not a part of Sony. Players have directed a lot of anger and frustration at Bungie because of its choices, so a lot of the negativity and disinterest must come from there. The main factor, however, has to be the unofficial delay to The Final Shape, Destiny 2’s conclusion to its decade-long Light and Darkness Saga.

A graph from SteamCharts showing the stats for Destiny 2's player count on Steam

Originally scheduled to release in February, the new expansion, according to inside sources, is now supposedly coming out next June, leaving almost a six month hiatus between the end of the narrative of Season of the Wish and the arrival of The Final Shape.

When this happened with Witch Queen (which got moved from November to February leaving players with a six months long Season of the lost) Bungie had prepared filler content in the form of the 30th Anniversary Pack that added Dares of Eternity and the Grasp of Avarice Dungeon. Tassi’s sources claim that there’s nothing on the scale of that pack in the works to fill the gap, so there’s very little hype for the near future of the game – and hype is Destiny’s fuel.

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With little to be hopeful for, an awaited expansion so far away and a very uncertain future for their beloved game, it is no surprise that Destiny players are staying away from the MMO. The only solution to all these problems (much like what happened with Witch Queen) is that The Final Shape is no less than an absolute banger: only an extremely solid new expansion will get Destiny 2 out of the muddy waters it finds itself in right now.

If you’re crossing your fingers and hoping for some news on The Final Shape, make sure to check out our list of the Destiny 2 classes, as well as our rundown of the best Destiny 2 builds for the Crucible and other raids.

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