Though Battlefield 2042 is unquestionably in a better technical state now than it was at launch in November last year, the sentiment around the game and developer DICE are at an all-time low. The studio's perceived slow pace to respond to community feedback, or outline future plans have pushed many to desperation.
DICE's first Twitter post of the year, seemingly teasing a new map, didn’t help, either. The main Battlefield 2042 subreddit nearly shutdown because it got so toxic, with some shifting from criticising the game's design to mocking its developers.
But there's been another trend you could clearly see take shape in the background: players' tracking of the game's player numbers, to a point that makes it seem like they want it to fail. It all started towards the end of the year, when Battlefield 2042 took a big hit to its player base on Steam.
Since then, things have only gotten worse, with more and more players dropping the game every day. On Steam, at least, Battlefield 2042 is no longer the most popular game in the series, having conceded that position to Battlefield 5. Today, the game is close to losing the number two spot to Battlefield 1.
A quick look at SteamDB's comparison charts reveals all. This is undoubtedly disappointing to DICE and plenty of series fans, but it's the incessant push to offer daily updates about the game's dwindling player base that comes off a little creepy. Indeed, numbers may be better across consoles and EA's own Origin platform, though we can only speculate.
If you browse the Battlefield 2042 subreddit regularly, you'll spot at least one thread every day about the game's daily concurrent player counts on Steam. Towards the end of last year, the angriest fans gathered in anticipation of Battlefield 5 overtaking it. Now, this has shifted to Battlefield 1.
Typically, when this happens, the subreddit gets flooded with rose-tinted retrospectives about how great this or that Battlefield game was, and how much DICE has seemingly fallen from grace.
The rush to label a multiplayer game dead is not exclusive to Battlefield 2042. Many of the bigger shooters have gone through a similar period with fans, most notably Apex Legends - which continues to break records for EA and Respawn, even if it's not dominating the mindshare like it used to.
But in Battlefield 2042's case, this interest seems to be out of spite. As a longtime Battlefield player myself, with my own set of grievances with the game, I can't remember a time when the community has been this anxious for the game to fail, rather than simply quitting and leaving it to die, like the majority of casual players seem to have done.
For now, everyone awaits with bated breath to see what DICE has to say about the future of Battlefield 2042.