This is an interesting phenomenon:
Now, traditionally it’s the case that when a multiplayer game stumbles, it doesn’t get back up again. UT3 seemed destined to go gently into that good night… and yet, as we coast into the Spring of 2009, a game released in 2007 is suddenly the talk of town all over again. On the weekend before last, its players jumped by some 2000%.
The key to it all was taking a leaf out of Valve’s book… releasing a major patch (complete with new maps and modes as well as more fundamental changes based on player feedback) then offering it free via Steam to all comers for a long weekend. Once the first free weekend was over, its 2000% extra players didn’t all disappear – the game (heavily discounted) jumped straight to the top of Steam’s bestseller list.
The idea of being able to resurrect sales of dead games is very powerful. This is the kind of thing that could reverse the perception of the PC as a dying platform.
Steam, fuck yeah.