Artifact is dead. Whether it was stillborn or only died post-launch is beyond the point and the simple fact is that Valve’s CCG experiment failed.
The company itself admitted that. While it seems Valve has not given up on Artifact altogether, the game looks like it’s headed for some sort of major overhaul.
“Moving forward, we’ll be heads-down focusing on addressing these larger issues instead of shipping updates. While we expect this process of experimentation and development to take a significant amount of time, we’re excited to tackle this challenge and will get back to you as soon as we are ready,” Valve wrote.
Upon getting the news that Artifact isn’t going to get any better any time soon, player numbers continued plummeting even further and these days, the game doesn’t even peak above 400. Tournament organizers are abandoning the scene, and so are major esports teams. But nothing’s taken heavier blows than Artifact’s Twitch viewership.
Artifact was never a popular Twitch game as many have found it hard to follow and too complicated to keep attention. On its debut month, Artifact averaged mere 8,300 viewers on Twitch. By January 2019, it had lost 86% of that, and by February — 97.6%. By March, only a handful (quite literally) of people had remained streaming Artifact.
The stats for Artifact for the first week of April are dreary. Only three channels — and never more than 10 — stream the game on average. But even this minuscule number is shrinking. On the even of Apr. 8, not a single soul streamed Artifact.
While this is a single instance, it will very likely repeat in the future — and soon. Individual streamers are getting only a couple dozen viewers on their best days and now they know they will not get anything new in Artifact in the foreseeable future, perhaps in the next year or so even. TwitchTracker ranks the game as #682, sandwiched between something called Tricky Towers and the original Diablo.
Whether Valve can turn this all around is questionable at this point but one thing is almost certain — if they want the Dota 2 card game to have any future, its next reiteration has to go far away from Artifact’s current concept.