Nexon, publisher of the first-person shooter LawBreakers, has declared the game a total failure and has written it off as an asset. It claims the title’s failure was mostly due to it being released around the same time as the mega-popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The excuse seems a little flimsy since the game was simultaneously released on the PlayStation 4 which does not have a version of PUBG to detract from sales.
“We will not be accruing any other impairment loss pertaining to LawBreakers in the future,” said Nexon CFO Shiro Uemura in a earnings call with investors.
An impairment loss is when a company either sells or abandons an asset because it is no longer beneficial to maintain it. The company does not see any future benefit coming from the title so it has completely written it off and will not devote any more resources to it.
If you happen to own and like the game, don’t hold your breath waiting for any patches or DLC. They will not likely be coming unless developer Boss Key Productions buys the rights back and tries publishing on its own.
Nexon’s third quarter expenses were $32.4 million. Uemura said that most of those expenditures were devoted to LawBreakers, and so will be written off.
“Our results in North America in the third quarter were below our outlook, mainly due to the sales from LawBreakers being below our expectations. LawBreakers is a unique FPS developed for core users. We had very high expectations for its launch; however, the timing of its launch turned out to be unfortunate, specifically the blockbuster PC online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds came out right about the same time, making the market environment very tough for first-person shooters in general and for LawBreakers.”
PUBG made for an easy scapegoat excuse to give Nexon investors but there was likely more to the failure than just launch timing. The FPS genre is oversaturated to begin with so competition is already stiff. LawBrekers only received slightly better-than-average reviews. Even though it edged out PUBG's metascore by a few points, it failed to offer anything truly unique or worthy of saying, “Damn! I love this game.”
Polygon summed it up by saying, “LawBreakers is mechanically exciting but a letdown in almost every other way. The aerial combat feels fresh, and the twists on standard shooter game modes are solid attempts at flipping the script. But LawBreakers’ confusing hero design, poor tutorial system and unbalanced maps all sabotage an otherwise good game.”
Furthermore, the game peaked on Steam with only 7,500 concurrent players in May. By October, it was only maintaining a group of about 50 on any given day.