Skull and Bones is a Sinking Ship

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Skull and Bones' Slow Start Despite Free Trial

If you were hoping Skull and Bones would hit one million players after offering an 8-hour free trial, you may be disappointed. According to sources at Insider Gaming, Skull and Bones is a sinking ship with the pirate multiplayer game currently having less than 850,000 players, even when counting those who participated in the free trial.

Low Player Retention

While Ubisoft hasn't released official numbers, insiders report a worryingly low player retention rate following the free trial period. Many players seem to have moved on to other games after their 8 hours were up, indicating the trial didn't do enough to hook them into the long term.

Competition From Other Games

Skull and Bones also faces stiff competition from other popular multiplayer pirate and naval combat games like Sea of Thieves. While Skull and Bones offers a more realistic take on the pirate genre, many players appear to still prefer the style of its competitor.

Ubisoft will likely need to double down on content updates, gameplay changes, and promotional offers if they want Skull and Bones to find its sea legs and start gaining more players. The free trial was a good first step, but the game needs more to convince players to stick around for the long haul.

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Examining the Factors Behind Skull and Bones' Low Player Count

Lack of Content

Skull and Bones launched with only a handful of playable ships and not much else. For a multiplayer game, that just doesn't cut it these days. Players expect a ton of content at launch, especially cosmetics to customize their experience. Without that, Skull and Bones failed to give players a reason to stick around after the novelty of naval combat wore off.

Repetitive Gameplay

Naval combat is fun, but it can get old fast without enough variety. Skull and Bones didn't do enough to mix up the gameplay and keep things interesting for players after dozens of hours. More game modes, events, challenges and the like could have given players new experiences and incentives to keep playing.

Lack of Progression

Players need a sense of progress to feel motivated, and Skull and Bones dropped the ball here. Without a real progression system, leveling path or meaningful unlocks and rewards along the way, many players likely didn't feel compelled to put in the necessary hours to become invested in the game.

Boring Open World

For an open world pirate game, Skull and Bones' map felt empty and dull. An open world should be filled with secrets to discover, activities to complete and places to explore. Without that, the open world becomes more of a hassle to navigate than an exciting feature of the game.

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What Ubisoft Can Do to Turn Things Around for Skull and Bones

Improve Combat and Make it More Dynamic

The combat in Skull and Bones feels repetitive and grindy. Adding more enemy types with different attack patterns and weaknesses would make battles more interesting. Ubisoft could also implement a combo system that rewards players for chaining together different attacks. This would encourage players to experiment with different weapons and tactics.

Make Progression Feel More Rewarding

Leveling up and getting better gear doesn't feel very rewarding in Skull and Bones. Ubisoft needs to rework the progression system so that players feel a sense of accomplishment as their pirate becomes more powerful. Unlocking new skills, weapons and ship upgrades at a steady pace would keep players invested in progressing their character. Cosmetic items like pirate outfits, tattoos and ship decorations would also give players fun ways to personalize their experience.


Overall, Skull and Bones launched with too little content, repetitive and uninspired gameplay, a lack of progression, and an uninteresting open world. No wonder players didn't stick around. The good news is, all of these issues can potentially be addressed with updates, expansions and a real commitment to improving the experience. The question is whether Ubisoft will put the work on, otherwise Skull and Bones is a sinking ship.

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