Battlefield 2042 hasn’t been having a good time. Bugs, glitches, and server issues have plagued DICE’s competitive military shooter since it launched last year, disappointing fans and quickly driving players from the game.
Over the past few months, the number of active Battlefield 2042 players on PC has plummeted, dropping from its all-time peak of 100,000 to only a fraction of that number. Now, its playerbase has dwindled so much that the number of active players has fallen below the game’s title number.
According to SteamDB, February 14 saw the number of people playing Battlefield 2042 on Steam drop to 1,921. By comparison, over 21,000 players had hopped into Battlefield V during that time. That means Battlefield 2042 brought in less than 10% of the players its predecessor was able to. Even Battlefield 1, which released back in 2016, is outranking 2042, pulling in over 7,200 players at the time.
The past month doesn’t show Battlefield 2042 in much of a better light, either. As of press time, Steam Charts shows the game’s average player count reached only 4,925 over the last 30 days, a nearly 90% fall from its November average of 51,299.
These figures are likely to be lower than the game’s total PC player count, however, given Battlefield 2042 is also available to play through the Epic Games Store and Origin. Add to that the console users who are playing the game on Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5, and the game’s overall playerbase will be larger.
Analysis: further to drop
That the number of active Battlefield 2042 players has dropped below the number in the game’s title doesn’t count for much in a statistical sense, but it is a stark indication of just how poorly the game has been received by players.
A heavyweight multiplayer series that has consistently raked in millions of sales for EA across the past decade, the publisher is sure to be reeling from just how quickly fans have bounced off this latest release. Its player count has been heading downwards for months and doesn’t look like it will make a recovery anytime soon.
Alongside persistent bugs, 2042's lack of updates has deterred many fans from sticking with it. DICE recently delayed Battlefield 2042's first season of DLC, promising to spend the intervening months fixing existing glitches, implementing quality-of-life improvements, and adding additional features off the back of fan feedback.
But it will take a lot of work to fix the game and mend the broken goodwill between DICE and its fans. Unimpressed by the speed at which the game has been updated, as well as EA’s inability to fully acknowledge its poor state, many have written off the game completely. Players are now looking for refunds, unwilling to wait for the promised improvements.
The question now is not how far Battlefield 2042 will sink - it’s already sunk to depths well below anyone imagined it would - but whether it can recover. The slow rollout of new content, its persistent glitches, and the snowballing anger of its players will only serve to hasten its surprisingly fast, unglamorous demise.
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Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.