Nuclear Dawn giving gift copy to every player

By Alice O'Connor, Jun 14, 2012 12:30pm PDT

Multiplayer games live or die on their playerbase. If no one's playing, no one's spreading word about it, and there's no reason for anyone new to buy it, so how does a game recover from this? Indie developer InterWave faces this problem with its near-future FPS-RTS Nuclear Dawn, and is now trying to jump-start the community with free copies.

Everyone who already owns Nuclear Dawn will receive an extra copy on Steam to gift to a friend, InterWave explained in a blog post, coming when the June update launches. It's also cutting the price from $19.99 to $14.99, though digital distributors frequently have it discounted to around $12.50 and Amazon already sells a boxed copy for $11.

There have also been several Nuclear Dawn free weekends on Steam since it launched, letting all and sundry play for nowt then pick it up cheap on sale if they take a fancy to it.

Yet despite these efforts, Nuclear Dawn doesn't even break the top 100 most-played games in Steam's stats. It is a Steamworks game, so everyone who owns it will be tracked there, but there were at most 300 players (the number the lowest-ranked game had) when I checked this morning.

Nuclear Dawn was initially created to be a Source mod, but InterWave decided to take it commercial and the game launched in September 2011, then priced at $25.

Whether this latest move to reinvigorate Nuclear Dawn pays off or not, InterWave is continuing support and has begun work on its next project, side-scrolling survive 'em up Dark Matter. It does hope to return to Nuclear Dawn for a sequel some day, though.

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