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It's No Secret Why Battlefield 2042's Player Count Dropped 80% After Its First 30 Days

The "Battlefield" series is one of the longest-lasting FPS series in gaming. In years past, the series was a major inspiration for other FPS games and went on to find its own major successes with "Battlefield Bad Company 2," "Battlefield 1942," and "Battlefield 3." But more recently, the "Battlefield" series faced a serious downturn in popularity, and critics and fans alike panned the latest entry, "Battlefield 2042."

The game did have some praised elements, namely the Portal mode that let players access a suite of rules and options to create custom game modes. But as IGN's Stella Chung said in her review of the game, this innovative extra game mode is a reminder of how much better other "Battlefield" games were — assets and rules can be pulled from almost every other game in the series, showing players a direct side-by-side of the series' greatest with the series' worst. 

The game has maintained a small loyal player base since it launched, but it's plain to see why "Battlefield 2042" lost 80% of its player base in its first 30 days. On launch, the game boasted over 100,000 concurrent players, but after just a month, it went down to around 20,000. So far in 2023, it has around 6,000 to 10,000 concurrent players — more than 90% down from its peak.

There are many reasons why "Battlefield 2042" lost so many players so quickly, but it boils down to three factors: an abundance of glitches, unsatisfying gameplay, and broken multiplayer — which the game relies entirely on because it is one of the few "Battlefield" games with no singleplayer campaign

Glitches here, glitches there, glitches absolutely everywhere

One of the biggest problems that "Battlefield 2042" faced on launch was an abundance of bugs, so many that it's difficult to find a single review that doesn't mention issues. In a particularly popular video, YouTuber VideoGameDunkey compared the trailer version of "Battlefield 2042" with the actual game side by side in similar circumstances. Every clip the YouTuber included in this montage showed off different glitches that someone should have been fired for, but Dunkey was far from the only one experiencing them.  

Reviewers described countless bugs across the game. Some are related to the map, like when players find themselves falling through the floor or walking through objects. Some are related to the gunplay, and the issues the game has with registering that players have been hit at all. On launch, simply moving around a map was a bit of a chore, as many players found themselves de-syncing and rubberbanding — launching back to a point the server thinks a player is at when a connection is re-established. 

Glitches are all too common in modern-day games, but the vast array of glitches in "Battlefield 2042" went well beyond the standard fare. Almost everything was bugged in one way or another, leading some to even call the game outright unplayable. This was especially bad for its multiplayer aspects. Graphical glitches aside, the issues that plagued the game's servers on launch may have been enough to sign its death warrant as players encountered disconnects, stuttering, and a host of other issues that made it a frustrating experience.

Broken multiplayer servers and unsatisfying gunplay sealed the game's fate on launch

A huge draw of the "Battlefield" series is the chaotic multiplayer found only in its hundred-plus player game modes. It truly feels like being part of an army rather than a small squad, but that immersion breaks as soon as some players fire their first gun — if they even got the chance to do that. During the game's Early Access phase, the servers couldn't handle the multiplayer and the game would regularly crash because of these bugs. Though this was an in-development build of the game, these issues persisted at launch, and the online experience the game was entirely based on was marred.

Players who got through this gauntlet of glitches to get connected at all were greeted with what many consider to be the most justifiably refundable entry in the "Battlefield" series. "Battlefield 2042" gunplay was lacking the same feel as other games in the series, let alone compared to other modern FPS games. Glitches aside, the game itself just wasn't very satisfying — even with the specialist classes and Portal custom mode.

In early 2022 the company blamed some of the failures of "Battlefield 2042" on the split focus between developing the game and fixing the kinks in the brand-new Frostbite engine. After losing so many players so quickly, and just a few months after its launch, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the game ultimately didn't meet the company's expectations. It's interesting to think of what the game could have been if it was given a bit more attention in development.