More than a decade after launch, MW3 2011 is finally on its last legs

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Modern Warfare 3 has long been one of the fan-favourite Call of Duty games – and has stood the test of time for more than a decade when it comes to popularity. But now it seems its days are numbered. An analysis of data reveals just as much, with player counts dropping consistently nearly every month.

At the time of writing, the game, which once had more than 55,000 players on Steam alone, now has just 389. And while the Reddit forum is still active, some are realising that it’s now incredibly difficult to find a game, complaining that the servers are not what the used to be and are prone to errors.

“They can’t control how many people are on,” wrote one user on the MW3 2011 sub-Reddit. “Sadly, the sudden drop off was likely people going to newer games, which will only reinforce the idea that people don’t want the old games back in their eyes.”

Despite being around 12 years old, MW3’s track record on Steam has been pretty impressive. In fact, as of writing, the game has fared far better than 2021’s Call of Duty: Vanguard, which has seen player counts nerfed to around 500 daily players, and having an all time peak of a meagre 625 players. Meanwhile Call of Duty WW2 (2017) has fared slightly better, with 1,000 players still enjoying the game on Steam.

The Hunter Killer mission in Modern Warfare 3 (2011)
Hunter Killer was one of the best missions in Modern Warfare 3 (2011)

The big decline for MW3 on Steam came in waves. The first big drop was seen a year after launch, with player counts dropping from 55,900 to a little over 10,000. It was to never reach those highs again, but instead of further sharp drops, the game slowly declined until around November 2019. By that point, on Steam alone, there were around 1,000 MW3 fans keeping the servers alive.

Following this, user numbers continued to drop until today, where there are now a little over 380 people still playing the game. Alarmingly, the drops have been more significant recently, with a 14% drop in player count between August and September taking the game into the 300s for the first time in its 12 year history on Steam.

Still, this is hardly suprising. The new game, Modern Warfare 3 is about to come out. There is even a beta, and you can read about the MW3 beta start time right here. But it’s an end to an incredible run, and one that many games these days would love to have. It’s a sign of the quality and if anything gives the new Modern Warfare 3 an awful lot to live up to. We did give Modern Warfare 3 (2011) a nine out of 10 after all, in our review. Here’s hoping Activision delivers.

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