On Xbox One, 2019's Anthem has a lower player count than 2016's Battlefield 1, and this statistic alone might as well be Anthem's death certificate. Publisher EA took an incredibly expensive risk while chasing gaming trends and mismanaging Anthem developer Bioware — now, they're paying the piper.
Anthem's poor state isn't exactly a secret, and players have had an increasingly hard time with matchmaking as the game's playerbase dwindled after a constant string of controversies and disappointments. Seeing the writing on the wall and understanding it could mean impending stoppage of server-side support by Bioware, many Anthem players decided to get ahead of the bad news and pronounced the game's death before abandoning it in droves. Anthem's sales were less than what EA expected, but its performance in terms of post-release revenue has been so dismal that the publisher is completely rethinking its launch strategy for future titles.
While it's not entirely unsurprising, Anthem's inability to maintain an Xbox One playerbase large enough to compete with a three-year-old game like Battlefield 1 (also published by EA) is wholly unprecedented. Reddit user _Robbie pointed out Anthem's inability to compete with a game that got a sequel in Battlefield V last year, having noticed that Anthem suddenly lost its rock-bottom spot on Microsoft's list of the Xbox One 49 most-played games to the WWI shooter. When taking into account that Battlefield 1 has daily peak counts of about 7,000 players, it becomes clear just how grim things are looking for EA's Destiny clone.
Anthem was pushed off a list that includes other live-service model games, including Fortnite, Apex Legends, and even Fallout 76, the latter of which has remained the industry's go-to laughing stock after Anthem's release. If Bethesda's failed games as a service model is drawing more players than a game that took seven years and an untold amount of money to produce, it might make sense for EA to retreat from its new venture and go back to what it knows.
Unfortunately, all that EA seems to know is how to continually chase trends as they come while pressing talented studios like Bioware into a fine powder. Dragon Age 4 will likely be Bioware's last chance at survival under it's publisher's thumb, and if it fails to impress the developer may go the way of Anthem in the near future.