Evolve Goes Free to Play – What Happened There?

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Evolve has seen a steady decline over the year that has caused the developers at Turtle Rock to make a shift in their game model. Evolve will now be moving to a free-to-play model instead called Evolve: Stage 2. The game has entered beta on the PC and may be coming to consoles later down the line.

Why Move to Free to Play?

The concept of Evolve is that there is one player against a team other players. The first player plays as the monster in the game and actively evolves in order to gain new abilities to take out the team. The job of the players working in the team is to hunt the monster player and to wipe him or her out. While the concept of the game is interesting, Evolve has seen a steady decline in its player base.

Understanding why Turtle Rock is moving to free to play, you first have to look at the game’s online player base. The game came out in early 2015 with a strong pre-release hype with decent reviews on the game. 27,000 players came online to play after the launch of the game according to the data from SteamCharts. This early success was welcome even though the pre-purchase structure was met with heavy criticism since it gave some player early access to the content of the game.

Steady Decline

Evolve may have had a good start running out the gate, but since then it has seen a steady decline. Ever since the game’s release there has been a decline in player base with only about 100 people playing the game on Steam at any given moment. This is compared to the game Left 4 Dead 2 that still pulls in over 10,000 players a year despite being out longer then Evolve.

This low player response should be a sign for Evolve to finally give up once and for all. The title alone relies on finding well matched opponents and teammates to for a quick online match. This player base is what has driven many MMOs to switch their play model to free to play since many of PC’s highest earning game titles are the free to play online games.

The main focus of Evolve is to have as many people out the door as possible to play the game. When players don’t want to play, they’ll go somewhere else since there’s not a rich player base. This is why many publishers have turned away from charging their players the moment they get online or pick up the controller. While there are a few exceptions to this rule like Blizzard’s launch of the game Overwatch which attracted seven million players during the first week the game came out is successful, not all games are the same. The key to Blizzard’s success is probably due to the fact they created a game people want to play and will continue to play after the game’s launch.

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