Lost Ark has officially surpassed New World as the most played MMORPG on Steam. The game is now sitting at the second most-played game on the platform under PUBG. While it will probably never get close to touching PUBG’s player numbers, Lost Ark and its player count is a tremendous achievement for an MMO. Pity South African’s can’t play the game.
While South African gamers could participate in the Lost Ark beta and alpha testing, since the game’s official launch on 12 February, the game has been locked out in our region. This has left a lot of gamers scratching their heads as to why. Sadly, it boils down to publishing rights in South Africa.
In SA, every game that is released has to be handled by a developer. Developers have to go through the Film and Publication Board (FPB) in order to get approval rights to release the game in the region. If you don’t get these publishing rights, you can’t release your game through verified platforms such as Steam, the PlayStation Store etc.
It seems that Smilegate never got publishing rights for Lost Ark in South Africa hence the lack of release in the country. While Amazon Game Studios has a publishing agreement with Smilegate, it is up to the developer (Smilegate) to get this certification. Something they failed to do.
In a response to a thread by South African gamers asking about the game, a moderator confirmed this by saying:
We do not have the publishing rights from the developer for this region so we will not be able to support. Also please do not discuss Terms of Service violations on our official forums.
So there you have it. South Africa does not have Lost Ark and probably won’t until Smilegate decides to put up with the FPB in order to get publishing rights. Will this ever happen? I am not too sure at this point. Given the game’s popularity, I am sure Smilegate has other priorities for Lost Ark apart from dealing with our local FPB to get rights to cater for a handful of players.
Lost Ark quickly rose through the Steam charts soon after its launch on 11 February. However, it was not without its issues. The game suffered from some horrible server problems at launch. So much so that the development team had to implement an entirely new region of data servers to handle the influx of players.
The game then peaked at 1,325,305 million players last week and has remained at over 1.1 million players in a 24-hour peak. PUBG is the only game that is beating Lost Ark at the moment with its 3.3 million peak players. There’s very little chance that it will be toppled anytime soon. Especially given that the Lost Ark player count is already dropping as most games would.