While many gamers might already be looking towards E3 for new games to play, the last couple months haven’t been completely empty. One example of a new IP is the EA Original, Knockout City. Thriving in the barren pre-E3 landscape, Knockout City has reached 5 million players shortly after launch.
— Knockout City (@knockoutcity) June 3, 2021
This is encouraging news for EA as this game about hurling dodgeballs at each other seems to be doing substantially better than one of their previous online multiplayer experiences, 2020’s Rocket Arena. This title was also an EA Original. Despite receiving some favorable reviews, it failed to make an impact on the community. As a result, the player base quickly dwindled.
While a $30 price tag for Rocket Arena might have contributed to its underwhelming player count, the marketing strategy for Knockout City reveals a different approach. This new approach is structured around making the game available for as many people as possible. Before release, the game received an open beta on PC. Furthermore, it then went free-to-play for a period of time after launch. Both of these decision were meant to encourage people to try out the game.
These steps at accessibility seem to have worked as the game’s player count continues to swell. Thanks to this increase in popularity, the developers have decided to make it free-to-play for all players until they reach level 25 in-game. Originally, they had planned for it to be free for the first 10 days after launch. Players would then either have to purchase the game or get a subscription to EA Play.
While Knockout City has reached 5 million players, time will tell if it can remain popular. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see a major developer attempting to give one of their new IPs a boost by making it accessible to a larger audience. It will be interesting to see if other game studios adopt similar strategies with their own games moving forward.