Valve has officially stopped development on Artifact, its struggling collectible card game based on the DOTA universe.
Valve made the announcement Thursday, citing poor player count following the game’s launch in 2018 and subsequent reboot, Artifact 2.0 beta.
“While we’re reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven’t managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time,” the Artifact team writes. “As such, we’ve made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta.”
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For those Artifact players still hanging on (or for those who never gave it a shot), Valve is making both versions of Artifact free for all, and players will be able to access all cards for free. Card packs will no longer be available to purchase.
For players who purchased card packs in Artifact Classic in the past, they’ll see their cards converted into special Collector’s Edition versions, which will remain marketable between players. That said, marketplace integration is being removed from the game. Players who previously paid for the base game of Artifact will continue to receive Collector’s Edition cards for playing, while players who got Artifact for free will not. Players can read full details here.
“We’re grateful to all Artifact players, and particularly to those who were able to help us tune and refine what would become Artifact Foundry,” the Artifact team writes. “The team feels this is the approach that best serves the community. We’re proud of the work we’ve done on both games and excited about delivering them to a much larger audience of gamers.”
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Artifact’s failure to gain traction proved to be a massive disappointment for Valve, even to co-founder Gabe Newell. In an interview on IGN First, Newell said he and Valve looked to Artifact and other failed projects as valuable learning experiences. Valve’s next project, DOTA Underlords (a streamlined version of the popular Auto Chess mod) managed to beat Artifact’s player count in two hours.
Artifact managed to review fairly well, but players criticized it for its card monetization, with booster packs costing $2 a piece. Players could also earn cards via draft modes, but were required to use event tickets, which also cost money. Shortly before the launch of Artifact 2.0, Valve announced its reboot would be earned through gameplay rather than sold for money.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/ancient artifact for IGN.