Battlefield 2042 actually pulled it off, and made the comeback most said was impossible. It all started last weekend, when the game kicked off another free weekend across all platforms, alongside a hefty sale.
Since we can only see the numbers on Steam, it looked like both worked to bring player numbers eerily close to the game's all-time high concurrent. While that was already more success than any Battlefield 2042 had ever seen with similar promotions in the past, it looks like it wasn't a fluke.
The real test of whether the promotion convinced new players to actually stick with Battlefield 2042, of course, was whether those numbers could stay as close as possible to the highs of the free weekend. Player population almost always drops following these sort of free access weekends, as a portion of players try out the game, and move on when they're not hooked.
So how is it going for DICE's shooter? Very well, it turns out! According to SteamDB, Battlefield 2042's 24-hour peak concurrent was 99,274, which is very close to the weekend's 104,060. At the time of writing this, the game has nearly 93,000 players in-game, landing it in the ever-lucrative Steam top ten most played games.
The sale remains active for another six days, of course, so there's every chance that most of those players are newcomers who jumped in at the sale price/free weekend. Steam's sales chart is based on revenue, so it looks like that was yet another thing that worked out quite well for EA - as Battlefield 2042 is also in the top ten best sellers on Steam.
The timing of what's looking to be a revival is bittersweet. For once, DICE's work over the last two years seems to have finally paid off. But it also comes right after the game received what's very likely its last major content update, so there's only so much EA can do to take advantage of that rush of new players, and only so much content for them to play/look forward to.
Nevertheless, it's going to be very interesting to see whether Battlefield 2042 can compete with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as the latter's November 10 release date quickly approaches.