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Artifact’s Peak Player Count Beaten In Less Than 2 Hours, By Valve’s Newest Game

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Valve’s newest game, Data Underlords, began open beta on PC and mobile yesterday, and in less than 2 hours surpassed the peak player count on their last game Artifact on Steam.

By 2pm Pacific Time, Data Underlords reached 62,946 of concurrent player count, while Artifact’s all time high stagnated at 60,740. The biggest draw here of course is that while Artifact costs $20 (approx. Rs. 1,393) to play, Dota Underlords is free-to-play. The mobile game had also been in closed beta open only to select players and those who owned the Dota 2’s Battle Pass since last week.

The flood of growing enthusiasm around the newly formed “auto chess” genre of games is undeniable.

In the last couple of months alone, a standalone game from the original mod team simply titled Auto Chess released a mobile (that’s also coming to PC and the Epic Games Store soon), Dota Underlords was announced and released by Valve, and Riot Games’ League of Legends look-alike called Team Fight Tactics – all of these three released.

Auto Chess style games are traditionally a deck-building tactics game where players buy and upgrade units, place them on the grid, and have them automatically fight rounds against other players until only one of them remains. All characters are available to all players, with battle passes with cosmetics in the form of microtransactions.

Back when Artifact released, it was widely received at launch but the player base dwindled rapidly. Valve admitted that the game had ‘deep-rooted issues’ and committed to fixing them.

In the meantime a separate team began work on Data Underlords. While the player count is on rise, it’s likely to continue growing over the coming days, even with all the competition it has.

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