Here's the reality of the situation, only 5-10% of the player base even reads the forum and a smaller % actually posts anything on the forums. Forums are but one tool to gather feedback from the community as a whole and gaming companies would be in error if they used forums as their only source of information. On the other hand, forums work well for seeing where your game as issues or positives and when combined with other feedback avenues, they provide some guidance on where to take the franchise.
Here are what I've seen on the forums:
- People generally are ok with the game and would really like it if their annoyance/bug of choice were fixed. Some of these annoyances/bugs are minor in some peoples eyes, some are great travesties in the eyes of others.
- People who transitioned from FS17 to FS19 did so mainly because of Deere, graphics update and the placable/terrian system. Therefore if FS21 doesn't have some good incentives, FS21 will be challenging to get people to transition too.
- Due to some software changes and some modders dropping their support, some key mods from FS17 (seasons, GPS, courseplay) are causing people to have a poor gaming experience until these mods come out. For those who want to use these mods, this exposes issues with the Helper AI, causing people to claim they are reverting to FS17 or moving to different games.
- DLC is good, nitch DLC means less to the broad audience.
- Communication is satisfactory to pathetic depending on expectations.
As of now, FS19 is only generating about 3x the interest of FS17, a mature game that is over 2 years old. FS17 took over 2 years to see the same 90% drop off in its trend line, which was basically driven by FS19s release, and was only at a 70% drop off 5 months from its launch, 19% better than FS19. Using this source of data, it would imply FS17 was better received than FS19.
Putting the forums together with the trends data means Giants needs to get the game back in front of the public; which they are currently failing at or they will have a hard time pushing new DLC to their player base. They also need to fix the game and provide innovative content so the players will promote the game to their peers. What communications they provide should be on a regular rhythm and provide some reasonable value.