FPS game from an iconic franchise has less than 1000 active players

The Steam charts are showing some shocking numbers of concurrent players.

The Payday franchise offers a unique and exciting experience for those who enjoy cooperative action games with a thrilling criminal theme. However, the latest installment, Payday 3, has only 660 average players in the last 30 days.

payday 3 steam charts showing low player count
Source: Steam Charts

When the game was released on 21 September 2023, the initial anticipation for the game did give it an average count of 28,621 players, but it soon dwindled to a worrying 5,996 players the next month. It did hit an all-time peak of 77,938, 4 months ago which is when the game was released.

Why does Payday 3 have a low player count?

Payday 3 faced multiple challenges at launch which created a negative word-of-mouth reaction among players. It received “Mostly Negative” reviews on Steam at launch, primarily citing technical issues like server problems, matchmaking difficulties, and bugs. These frustrations impacted the initial player experience significantly.

payday 3 on steam showing mostly negative reviews
Source: Steam

Players also criticized the perceived lack of content compared to Payday 2 at launch, especially regarding heists and customization options. Additionally, the removal of features like pre-planning phases and stealth mechanics alienated some fans.

The always-online function, monetization model, including microtransactions, and a battle pass system, drew criticism for feeling intrusive and potentially pay-to-win.

Since launch, the developers have released numerous patches and updates addressing technical issues and adding content based on player feedback. Reviews have become more positive, with some critics acknowledging the improvements.

Despite improvements, the player community remains divided. Some appreciate the progress and enjoy the game, while others still hold criticisms regarding aspects like content variety and monetization.

Payday 2 is still more popular

payday 2 steam charts showing thousands of concurrent players
Source: SteamDb

Overall, Payday 3’s rocky launch, content concerns, and monetization issues undeniably had a negative impact. It did not have the longevity of Payday 2 which was released back in 2013. Payday 3’s predecessor still has an average player count of 26,351 on Steam along with “Very Positive” reviews.

Whether the game ultimately manages to make a comeback like Cyberpunk 2077 and how it impacts the future of the series, remains to be seen.