Bossa Studios has canceled its in-development skateboarding game Decksplash after the game failed to attract enough attention during a week-long open beta.
The developer had previously said that it would end production of the game if it did not reach 100,000 players during that beta period on Steam, under the reasoning that a certain level of interest was needed ahead of release to justify the title's online playability.
Hinging a game's development on the outcome of an experiment like this is a bold move, and admittedly one not all developers are in the position to make. Still, the attempt itself highlights how important it is for developers to find ways to realistically gauge a project's player base when developing a title with an online component.
"The Free Week proved what we suspected at the start: Decksplash is a good game, evidenced by its 79-86 Steam score throughout the week," explained Bossa Studios following the beta. "The players who experienced the game liked it, but in the end there just wasn’t enough of them to guarantee a healthy online community and keep the game’s matchmaking alive for the long run."
"The lesson to take home is that, though not the best, this outcome is a good one for everyone involved: its players won’t spend money on a game that won’t survive the long haul, the team can move on to a new Bossa project with a sense of closure having done their best with Decksplash, and we tried a new way of validating a multiplayer game. Should we have canceled the game without this experiment, a ‘what if’ would always be there in the back of our minds."