Nexon has just launched its new online third-person shooter The First Descendant. The game quickly drew a lot of attention from players, many of whom criticized its monetization elements, among other issues.

The First Descendant peaks at nearly 230k concurrent players on Steam

Launched globally on July 2, The First Descendant is a F2P looter shooter made with Unreal Engine 5. The game, which supports up to 4-player co-op, focuses on PvE fights with huge monsters in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi world.

Gameplay aside, one of its selling points is the variety of skins (and, of course, some revealing outfits for female characters), which is one of the mandatory monetization elements in Asian free-to-play games.

The First Descendant is available on PC, PlayStation 4/5, and Xbox One/Series. According to SteamDB, it has already peaked at 229,257 concurrent users on Steam in less than 12 hours of launch. We’ll update the info if the game’s player count reaches a new record.

The 229k peak also makes The First Descendant the 4th biggest launch of 2024 on Steam, right between Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Last Epoch. However, Nexon’s shooter is the only free-to-play project in the top 10, which can be seen in full below:

Note: The list doesn’t include Banana, which peaked at over 917k concurrent users, because a) it is more of an app for speculations rather than a game (people keep it launched for hours to get tradable cards) and b) it is unclear how many of those are bots. There are also no games that reached their peak prior to 2024 (mostly Early Access graduates like Sons of the Forest and V Rising).

  1. Palworld — 2.1 million CCU
  2. Helldivers 2 — 458.7k CCU
  3. Last Epoch — 264.7k CCU
  4. The First Descendant — 229.2k CCU
  5. Dragon’s Dogma 2 — 228.5 CCU
  6. Content Warning — 204.4k CCU (reached its peak while being free-to-keep in the first 24 hours after launch)
  7. Manor Lords — 173.1k CCU
  8. Enshrouded — 160.4k CCU
  9. Granblue Fantasy: Relink — 114k CCU
  10. Hades II — 103.5k CCU

The Finals, made by Nexon’s subsidiary Embark Studios, peaked at over 242k CCU upon its launch last year, but struggled to retain the audience in the long-term. So it will be interesting to see what will happen with the new free-to-play shooter from the South Korean publisher.

Despite impressive numbers, The First Descendant currently has a “Mixed” rating on Steam, with only 42% of the 6,499 reviews being positive. Some players who left negative reviews called it a bad copy of Warframe. However, criticism mainly focuses on optimization and performance issues, as well as monetization (no surprise here).

“It takes 4 hours to craft a gun. Or you could skip that entirely by paying real money,” one user wrote. Others called in-game skins overpriced. As for technical issues, some of the early players cited stuttering, FPS drops, and crashes.

Interestingly, almost half of all negative reviews are written in Simplified Chinese and Korean (via Steam Scout). The First Descendant has a 22% rating among Chinese players, with local players citing issues with IAP and delays in delivery of purchased items (in addition to the aforementioned problems).

As for users in other regions, 59% of German reviews are positive, followed by English (54%), Russian (45%), and Korean (31%).

Language breakdown of user reviews for The First Descendant 

Founded in 1994, Nexon is a South Korean corporation best known for games like MapleStory and Dungeon & Fighter. The latter is one highest-grossing video game franchises of all time, with its main MMO title surpassing $22 billion in lifetime revenue. Tencent-developed DnF Mobile, recently launched in China, generated $270 million in player spending on iOS alone.

In addition to its core business, Nexon has been trying to diversify its portfolio and reach global audiences for a while now. Although some attempts were far from successful (e.g. the now closed shooter LawBreakers from Cliff Bleszinski’s Boss Key Productions), several titles turned out to be hits. For example, Dave the Diver, developed by Nexon’s subsidiary Mintrocket, has already sold over 4 million copies globally.

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