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Payday 3 dev says it can still be saved as player count drops to 150

The Payday 3 Steam player count has dropped to 150 and below, but developer Starbreeze says the FPS and Payday 2 sequel can still be saved.

Payday 3 Steam player count: A robber in a clown mask from FPS game Payday 3

Cyberpunk 2077. No Man’s Sky. Final Fantasy 14. Over the last decade especially, we’ve seen plenty of big games launch to criticism, trouble, and technical problems, only to recover and gradually become huge successes. Payday 2 was a huge hit, firmly establishing the co-op heist FPS as one of the most unique and beloved multiplayer games on PC. Payday 3, however, is in serious trouble. Starbreeze’s sequel has a ‘mostly negative’ rating on Steam based on user reviews. Similarly, the Payday 3 Steam player count continues to tumble, recently dipping to 150 concurrent heisters and below. In a new statement, Starbreeze says that Payday 3 can make a comeback, and promises to throw the entire weight of the game’s development team behind a rescue effort. Are we about to see another historic turnaround?

A devoted playerbase, an established brand, and little in the way of competition, especially in the niche of heist-driven FPS gamesPayday 3 had a lot on its side. When the game launched back in September 2023, however, it faced criticism owing to server troubles, its always-online demands, and features that were missing as compared to Payday 2. In the past five months, Payday 3’s player base has slowly dwindled, while Payday 2, its 2013 predecessor, has experienced a correlative resurgence. Indeed, as of this writing, the numbers are extremely telling.

On Thursday February 15, the Payday 3 Steam count dipped as low as 139 concurrent players. The co-op game’s peak during the last 24 hours is a similarly low 302. Payday 2’s 24-hour peak meanwhile is more than 29,000. At this very moment, 27,324 people are playing the elder heist shooter.

Payday 3 Steam player count comeback: A comparison of the Payday 3 and Payday 2 Steam player numbers

But we all love a comeback story, and Starbreeze believes there is hope for Payday 3 yet. In Starbreeze’s new annual report, CEO Tobias Sjögren says that while Payday 3 is currently below expectations, improvements are coming, and the studio has a plan to turn the game around.

“Payday 3’s sales and player activity are currently at significantly lower levels than we would like,” Sjögren says. “Our biggest focus and absolute priority, both during and after the [current financial] quarter, are the efforts needed to ensure that the game lives up to expectations. We are working closely with our co-publishing partner Plaion to identify the changes that we will implement, in both the short- and long-term, that add the most value to the gaming experience. The Payday team will in February announce the changes and improvements that are prioritized for implementation.

“There are many examples from the game industry, where a problematic initial time on the market is turned into long-term success,” Sjögren continues. “There is no simple recipe available, but a common thread from the positive examples is to take players’ criticism to heart, dare to support your game, and keeping an open and honest dialogue with your stakeholders. That is exactly what we are now doing with Payday 3. The entire development team will now pivot to deliver on the initiatives to improve the game.”

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Starbreeze recently announced that it had assembled a new “strike team,” composed of veteran series developers, to help repair and improve Payday 3. Meanwhile, 10 Chambers, the studio founded by former Starbreeze designers, has announced its own rival heist game.

Alongside Payday 3, you might want to try some other great multiplayer games, or perhaps the best crime games available on PC.

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