There aren’t many success stories as impressive as Fall Guys in gaming. Developed by Mediatonic and published by Devolver Digital, Fall Guys released in 2020 as the talk of the town with millions of players and records being smashed wherever you looked. But how many people still play Fall Guys in 2021 now that the initial buzz has maybe worn off?
Before anything, it’s important to note just how much of a hit Fall Guys was at launch, which was largely down to its novel appeal in the battle royale space. Akin to the cult classic TV show Takeshi’s Castle but with giant beans, Fall Guys sees 60 players competing to be the last one standing in a comedic game show setting. Compared to the likes of Fortnite and Warzone, two highly competitive battle royales, Fall Guys was seen as a breath of fresh air.
First off, it’s important to note that neither Mediatonic or Devolver have disclosed playing figures since the game’s early days. Likewise, Sony don’t ever detail player numbers for any games on PlayStation.
Instead, we have to look to Steam to see the player numbers for Fall Guys instead, where it seems to be trending downwards over time. This is to be expected for almost all multiplayer games, but Fall Guys’ decline is pretty pronounced.
Compared to its all-time peak of 172,026 concurrent players in August 2020, Fall Guys has “just” 12,000 concurrent players on average in early 2021. This drop has seen Fall Guys plummet down the overall Steam charts to as low as #72 at this time of writing.
Fall Guys did seem to burn very brightly in terms of players, especially on Steam. September 2020 saw its average players slashed from 124,479 to 66,899 — an almost 50% decrease. October then saw a 60% decline in average players from 66,899 to 26,438, with November bringing another 50% decline from 26,438 to 12,792. December 2020 saw player counts rise by 5% to 13,369 players on average, but January 2021 resumed the slump with a another loss in players.
So, what’s behind this slump for Fall Guys? Well, a number of factors could be at play. The game’s early technical issues and widespread hackers may have turned plenty of players away, though Mediatonic were quick to act on a lot of the game’s problems. The likelier thing is simply that the game doesn’t have the kind of depth required to keep people hooked for months on end. Though it’s undeniably fun, many may have felt that the novelty of the game has worn off.
While it may be easy to look on these Fall Guys playing figures and see doom, that’s really not the case. Most games would bend over backwards for 10,000+ average players, and let’s not also forget that there’s still plenty of PlayStation players unaccounted for. Still, it’s a pretty sharp drop that’s hard to ignore.
Fall Guys and Twitch Viewership
As is the case with most multiplayer games these days, a lot of Fall Guys’ success is tied to streamers and how much they embraced the game. With so many streamers going crazy for Fall Guys at launch, it’s no surprise that it went on to smash records. TimTheTatman’s struggles to win his first crown led to huge viewing figures and headlines across the world.
Nowadays, though, Fall Guys is not even in the top 50 most watched games on Twitch. In August 2020, Fall Guys enjoyed a peak of 709K viewers on Twitch with 152K viewers on average, which are absurd figures. In January 2021, viewership is almost 10% of that peak with 76.2K viewers and 5.7K on average. This is a steep decline even from the previous month, which saw Fall Guys reach 8.3K viewers on average on Twitch and a peak of 310K.
While Fall Guys remains more popular on Twitch than the likes of ARK: Survival Evolved, Final Fantasy XIV Online, and Roblox, it’s a unmistakable decline from the viewing figures that put Fall Guys toe-to-toe with the likes of League of Legends and Fortnite. Streamers just haven’t latched on to the game as much as they have previously and it seems like the audience just isn’t what it once was.
The Future of Fall Guys
While all of these numbers spell a bit of a disaster, that’s really not even slightly the case — Fall Guys is far from a “dead game”. There are doubtless thousands of people who still play on PlayStation, perhaps even just as many (or perhaps more) than on Steam.
It’s also worth remembering that Fall Guys is only available on two platforms currently, which can’t be helping its broad appeal. Switch and Xbox versions will arrive in Summer 2021 and will immediately breathe new life into the game, especially if they all come with cross-play and cross-progression, allowing PC players to take their bean with them on the go on the Switch.
Fall Guys will also almost definitely come to mobile at some point. In fact, it seems custom made for it as it’s not the most input-intensive game (jump, grab, move) out there and would likely translate well to a touchscreen. In fact, a mobile version is coming for a Chinese audience, which makes it likely that a version will also come over to the west.
Let’s not forget, too, that Fall Guys is now doing a tonne of collaborations, namely with the likes of DOOM, Ninja, and Godzilla, which will likely only keep it in the limelight. It also has a Prime Gaming partnership that will bring players back in during early 2021.
One thing that Fall Guys and Mediatonic really has going for it is that Epic Games purchased the developers in March 2021. If Rocket League is anything to go by, Fall Guys may well go on to become free-to-play with tonnes of new players jumping (and falling) aboard.
So, while the amount of people playing Fall Guys in 2021 is a far cry from its glory days, it’s still a very popular game with a bright future ahead. With constant content updates and collaborations, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Fall Guys explode into life once again.
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