Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Lost Ark Is One of Steam's Biggest-Ever Games, Even Before It Goes Free-to-Play

Lost Ark is already one of Steam's biggest-ever games, overtaking the likes of Apex Legends and Among Us in peak concurrent users, even before it goes free-to-play later this week.

Per SteamDB data, the game's peak concurrent users currently stand at 532,476, placing it sixth in Steam's all-time list behind only New World, Cyberpunk 2077, Dota 2, CS: GO, and PUBG. Incredibly, it hit that number within 4 hours of going on release as a paid game, even though it will become free-to-play on Friday.

That sheer influx seemed to be causing some problems initially, with users reporting connectivity issues and increased queue times that prompted developer Smilegate to open another North American server shortly after launch:

Lost Ark is an MMO / ARPG with isometric action similar to the Diablo games, featuring 15 playable classes, a cinematic story-led campaign, and co-op PvE combat. It was released in South Korea in 2019 and later in Japan and Russia, with a North American and European release finally arriving this week.

As you'd expect, the game is also seeing massive viewership on Twitch with SteamDB reporting a peak of more than 1.2 million people watching on its early access launch day.

A key to the game's streaming success may be in the free items given to Lost Ark players for watching gameplay. Content creators with early access participated in the Legends of Lost Ark launch event that had them compete to unlock Twitch Drops for viewers.

Twitch users, for every four hours watched, can unlock a Battle Chest Item, an Arkesia Paper Hat Chest, a Helgaia Pet Chest, and a gold Neugier hoverboard mount until February 28 - the incentive made possible by Twitch's owner Amazon also funding the game's western release.

Lost Ark will officially launch as a fully free-to-play game on February 11 at 9am Pacific / 12pm Eastern / 5pm UK (that's February 12 at 4am AEDT).

In our preview for the game, we said Lost Ark's combat is "very, very good, combining the best elements of MMOs and ARPGs," and there's "a sense of wonder surrounding this game that has us greatly excited."

Lost Ark marks Amazon's second major gaming success after the launch of New World - which sits in fifth place on Steam's peak concurrent users lists - after it became Steam's most played game of 2021 just a day after it was released.

New World's popularity also brought problems however as Amazon had "alarms going off" for months after the release, as it was forced to double servers, and fix other issues such as gold exploitation and crashing.

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale.


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