If there's one thing that our Xbox Gameplay Chart makes clear, it's that multiplayer games are far more popular than single player titles. The top 10 is dominated by games that are either exclusively multiplayer, or whose ongoing support is solely through multiplayer modes, yet amongst those games sits an anomaly: Crackdown 3.
Crackdown 3: Campaign hit #3 during its debut week and dropped a single place to #4 last week with just a 13% drop in numbers. Meanwhile, Crackdown 3: Wrecking Zone debuted in a more lowly #22 and narrowly avoided dropping out of the chart altogether last week, plummeting 12 places to #34 with a massive 43% drop in numbers. When comparing the two directly, Wrecking Zone is attracting just 18% of the number of gamers who are playing the campaign. Why could this be?
The game's playing figures have undoubtedly been helped by its immediate release onto Xbox Game Pass. The Game Pass effect is well documented in our Gameplay Charts, often propelling older or smaller titles into the top 40 most played games of the week. The game offers a mindless romp through a world not too dissimilar to its predecessors, and for players who just want to see what all the fuss is about, Game Pass is a perfect opportunity to do so.
The difference with this game, though, is that it's offered in two separate parts; Wrecking Zone and the campaign are two separate downloads. Most players who wish to just to try out the game won't bother messing around with multiple downloads, they'll go for the one that offers the most suitable experience, and when the campaign allows players to try the game out on their own terms without relying on other players, that will be the most attractive proposition. However, moving into a game's second week, the initial attraction wears off and it changes to trying to retain player numbers. With a short campaign at just three hours long, you would expect players to move onto the game's multiplayer modes, but they're not. Instead, they seem to be staying in the game's campaign world long after the story has finished, causing chaos with their friends.
A lot of this could also be blamed on the state of the game's multiplayer, especially with lengthy matchmaking times. This is made worse by players being unable to team up with their friends as Xbox Live Party support is not yet available. This support was supposed to be added this week but is now due next month. There's also the myriad of complaints about lack of content. There are only two multiplayer modes and objectives that lack variety, but most of all, there's no progression or unlock system to keep players engaged. Many players are describing it as a fun mode for a few hours, but with nothing to work towards, it's little more than a distraction and they've since moved on.
There's also the possibility that the timing of critic reviews has helped to direct players' attention. Reviews for the game's campaign were available before its release, and while they weren't overwhelmingly positive by any means, they were enough to tempt players to try the game out. Due to server availability many Wrecking Zone reviews didn't follow on until much later, and by this time players had already been diverted towards the campaign.
Sumo Digital is working hard to fix the issues with their game, and they're listening to player feedback. Only time will tell whether they manage to tempt more players to try out their multiplayer offering, or whether Wrecking Zone lives up to its name.
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