Following its launch on September 18, Payday 3 quickly earned a negative reputation among fans due to major server issues that prevented many users from playing co-op or solo. Once these issues were solved, fans continued to express their disappointment with Payday 3 due to its lack of content and basic features like in-game voice chat. Although its development team has pledged to work on the game until it reaches a solid state, it seems that the poor launch came with pretty severe consequences.
At the time of writing, Payday 3's average Steam player count for January sits at just 656 users. This is compared to December's average player count of about 1,500 Steam users and September's average player count of over 28,600 Steam users. Since September's launch, it's clear that the vast majority of Payday fans have given up on the game, which many hoped would be a worthy successor to the hugely successful Payday 2. In fact, fans have flocked back to Payday 2, which averaged over 26,000 users during the month of January. Payday 3 likely has a lot of work ahead of it until it can recapture its fan base.
Payday 3's Player Count History on Steam (Average Monthly Users)
September 2023: 28,621
October 2023: 5,996
November 2023: 1,114
December 2023: 1,556
January 2024: 656 (as of January 29)
Recently, Payday 3's development team offered fans an update on the progress of new content for the game. The update explained that Starbreeze Studios is taking Payday 3's criticisms seriously and has put together a team of veteran developers to address the various issues. It further explained that fans can expect a detailed plan to be released in February, which will reveal the upcoming improvements and when fans can expect to see them added.
Starbreeze Studios has tried to improve the game in recent months, although Payday 3 still has plenty of shortcomings. In late November, Payday 3 added two free heists, a new skill line, new animations, and more. In December, Payday 3 added paid DLC along with some more free content. However, the updates were clearly not enough to draw players back, and Starbreeze Studios seems to be focusing on major updates in the future to help Payday 3 rebound.
Payday 3's improvements will need to be implemented before the game is overshadowed by competing titles. For example, Ulf Andersson, one of the original creators of Payday and Payday 2, co-founded 10 Chambers, which is currently working on a new co-op heist FPS game. The game is called Den of Wolves and will see players attempt heists in a futuristic cyberpunk city.
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