Amazon-published video game ‘Lost Ark’ sets Steam records in first week after release

(Lost Ark screenshot)

Amazon’s recently-published online game Lost Ark has broken several playtime records on the Steam digital storefront.

Lost Ark, developed by Smilegate RPG, is a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that originally launched in South Korea in late 2019. Players enter the world of Arkesia as young warriors, mages, martial artists, and magic-users, who’ve been chosen by prophecy to search for artifacts capable of saving the world from an awakening force of chaos.

Upon its launch on Feb. 11, Lost Ark rapidly climbed Steam’s charts to hit an all-time peak of 1,325,305 players on Feb. 12, as shown by independent trackers like SteamDB.

This is the second-highest number for concurrent players ever tracked on Steam, behind the record of 3.26 million that was set in 2018 by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the highest number period for any MMORPG on Steam. This also made Lost Ark the highest-played game on Steam in the 24 hours following its debut.

Additionally, Lost Ark was popular among livestreamers and their audiences on Amazon’s Twitch online broadcasting platform. During the game’s launch window, as per Amazon’s internal numbers, Lost Ark reached 1.2 million concurrent viewers watching 59.9 million hours of content on over 112,000 total streams.

“Our goal is to become the most customer-obsessed company in games, for both players and developers,” said Mike Frazzini, vice president of games at Amazon, in a press release.

“Lost Ark is our first externally-developed game, and we’re very encouraged by the early player reception, and to be able to draw from the best of Amazon – from Prime Gaming and Twitch, to Amazon retail and more – to help the game reach and delight a massive audience of players around the world.”

(Lost Ark screenshot)

While the numbers do speak for themselves, Lost Ark‘s success does come with a few caveats. Several of the biggest names in the MMORPG genre use their own separate digital storefronts (World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2) or split their player population up among several different platforms (Final Fantasy XIV, Destiny 2).

As such, Lost Ark is running against limited competition. The previous record-holder for concurrent users of an MMORPG on Steam is, in fact, Amazon’s own New World, which topped out at just over 913,000 simultaneous players just after its launch in September.

Lost Ark also doesn’t cost anything to play, which is always going to be a boost for any game’s user numbers. You can download and run Lost Ark for free, and all of its in-app purchases are optional, such as “Starter Packs” that offer large amounts of in-game currency and a month-long “buff,” Crystalline Aura, that makes your character’s life a little easier. The most expensive pack also includes several cosmetic bonuses, like special character costumes and a special warhorse mount.

Even so, it’s worth noting that Lost Ark, like New World, is coming out at an opportune time. As PC Gamer suggests, Lost Ark is as much a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler (think Diablo) as it is a traditional MMORPG, and it does an adequate job balancing the strengths of both genres at once.

Fans of addictive action-RPGs for the PC haven’t gotten much else to get excited about lately besides expansions for Path of Exile, so many might have migrated over to Lost Ark just to scratch the same “murder entire hordes of monsters at once” itch.

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