When it comes to Star Wars: Battlefront, there’s no doubt that the game looks sensational, sounds like a Star Wars game and runs as smooth as butter. The gameplay isn’t bad either, although there’s a solid complaint about the amount of content.
But if you’re playing on PC, there’s a bigger problem. The community there simply isn’t big enough for a AAA shooter. In fact, it’s about as big as some free-to-play games on Steam.
The figures come courtesy of the Player Stats Network, which has been running the server figures on Battlefield games for years now. It’s because of them (and DICE/EA’s API, of course) we know that there are still thousands of people (on consoles, anyway) enjoying Battlefield Hardline.
It’s because of them that we know that Battlefield 4 on PC is almost as large as the crowd playing on PS4 and Xbox One. It’s almost as big as the crowd playing Star Wars: Battlefront, actually, which at the time of writing isn’t particularly large at all.
Those figures don’t look terrible — having over 100,000 people on PS4 is nice, and the Xbox One figures seem reasonably healthy. But those PC figures are a little low given how fresh Battlefront still is, and it doesn’t get better when you draw comparisons with other games on PC.
Let’s not think about the twin behemoths of CS:GO or Dota 2, the rampant success of Fallout 4 or the latent fanbase for Team Fortress 2 that never seems to die.
But let’s think about those current and peak player figures. The SWBStats page refreshes approximately every five minutes, so it’s a pretty reasonable snapshot of the player base at any given time. At the time of writing, it was a touch under 18,000 with a peak of just over 34,000, as can be seen above.
That’s about on par with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, which isn’t the kind of news to inspire a great deal of confidence these days. It’s the same territory that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Rocket League and Grand Theft Auto 5 operates in — which says an awful lot about how many people are still playing GTA 5, and just where Battlefront is at right now.
It’s also around the same amount of people who are consuming Clicker Heroes on a regular basis. Clicker Heroes, a free-to-play casual game that relies on the simple feedback loop of rewarding you for clicking.
The latest AAA Star Wars game is as big on PC as this. A game that abuses human weakness by playing on the psychology of rewards. The numbers get bigger. The rewards flow in. The coins flow in. The upgrades arrive. The numbers continue to get bigger. And all you need to do is click.
Not a great sign for Star Wars, is it?