In addition to announcing a couple of good quality-of-life features for its card game Artifact, Valve has also stated it plans to continue improving the game “for the long haul,” despite rumblings about it not finding as large an audience as some might like.

Valve released Artifact on November 28 after a short beta period, and while the initial positive reviews (including ours) and influx of players was promising, its playerbase has tapered off some since release. As of this writing, it’s sitting at a 24-hour peak of about 13,000 players, according to Steam’s own numbers. This puts it well behind Valve’s other major multiplayer games on the service, which range from having peaks of nearly 650,000 (Counter-Strike: Global Offense) and 60,000 (Team Fortress 2). It more closely aligns it with smaller-but-still-ongoing multiplayer games like Payday 2, Terraria, and Brawlhalla.

While that lower-than-expected turnout for the game might be cause for concern about the game’s longevity, Valve has stated Artifact isn’t going anywhere soon. It recently announced a pair of quality-of-life updates for the game, including the ability to chat with your opponent mid-match and new colorblind options. It also announced there were several other updates planned for the game over the next couple of months. “We’re in this for the long haul,” the company said on its official Twitter feed.

I’m still playing and thinking about Artifact regularly, though I’ve been more preoccupied with other major games over the last month (I still need to get through Red Dead Redemption II). I’m a little concerned about the game’s population (the lack of a free-to-play option and the daunting proposition of a in-game economy using exclusively real-world money feel like the main culprits), but I’m still having fun with it whenever I play. I think Valve is committed to slowly growing the playerbase by making it more appealing with new content and updates, though my guess is that the company will buckle and add a free-to-play option before the end of next year.


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