Artifact is one of three games released by Valve in the last five years. And it was a failure.

Valve will no longer develop Artifact or its sequel, the game developer announced today. Both versions of the game, Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry (also known as Artifact 2.0) are now free to play.

Artifact launched in November 2018 amidst much fanfare as it was one of the first ‘spin-off’ Dota universe games. It was designed by Richard Garfield of Magic: The Gathering fame. The game was off to a great start but its player numbers quickly fell, partly due to high sale price, complex economy and Valve’s inability to effectively market the game to its potential customers. Effective today, Valve has released the ‘unfinished’ Artifact 2.0 and both versions of the game will now be free-to-play for all Steam users.

We're reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven't managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time. As such, we've made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta.

Both games will be playable but players should not expect any more gameplay updates from the developer team. 

What’s Next for Existing Artifact Players?

Valve has opened up both games and made them free-to-play for everyone. Players can earn all the previously purchasable cards. Every player has access to every card in both games.

Here are the final changes to Artifact Classic:

  • The game is free for everyone to play.
  • All players get every card for free. You will no longer be able to buy card packs.
  • Paid players' existing cards have been converted into special Collector's Edition versions, which will remain marketable. Marketplace integration has been removed from the game.
  • Paid event tickets have been removed.
  • Customers who paid for the game will still earn packs of Collector's Edition cards for playing; players who got the game for free will not.

The release of Artifact Foundry looks like this:

  • The game is free for everyone to play.
  • Players gain access to cards by playing the game. All cards are earned this way; no cards or packs will be for sale and Artifact Foundry cards are not marketable.
  • All final card art that was in the pipeline is now in the game.

When Valve announced Foundry last year, there were high hopes of a revival of fortunes for the card game. But with dwindling player numbers, Valve has now released the game. Valve says the game is technically unfinished, but a lot of what’s remaining is polish and art. The gameplay release is as per expectations and existing users can expect to enjoy the game for its core gameplay. 

Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry are very similar games but feature key differences in economy, game mode and gameplay.