Finally Raptr has posted their most played games of May 2014 summary. It was released late, at least be my calculations. I think E3 must have occupied about a week of their time this month. I wish it had occupied a week of my time. ;-) If you remember my last post on this topic, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) debuted in fifth place even with all the "bad" publicity saying the game was "hopelessly" flawed. And to be certain there are many things in TESO that could be enhanced, and the issues with group play among characters of various ages and experience is still an issue, but did it kill the game as some had predicted? Was there a mass exodus from the game after the 35 day free play period? In two words...
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="540"] Raptr's Most Played PC Games May 2014[/caption]
Frack no. The game did fall from #5 last month to #8 this month, but I think that can easily be accounted for by the newness wearing off. All games see a surge in playing when they are first released. During April I put 45 hours into getting Mabrick started as an Imperial Templar. Since then I've almost doubled my time in-game, but not quite. I currently have 82 hours playing. I do not believe I am all the out of the ordinary in having more than half my time front loaded after a couple of months.
For example, I started playing Landmark in it's closed beta this month. So far I've managed to get in 19 hours of play. It's new. It's fun. It's even exciting in its own way. I am totally getting into creating my own space in that gaming world! In fact, I think tomorrow's post will show off what I've accomplished to date with those 19+ hours of play. But getting back to topic, I think we can all agree new games get more play than games that have been out a month.
But does this small slip in ratings, rather than falling off the bottom like Titanfall did, really show interest in TESO is still strong? Well, in and of itself no. It just shows that people will still play it for a while longer. They could be like me and have already bought time ahead. Many people who do such things can't stand the thought of their money going to waste. So they play the "flawed" game anyway. I hope anyone reading that last doesn't think I fall into that category. I don't.
So what could show the game is still undeniably garnering interest? Well, how about statistics on purchases of the game? My Google Alerts feeds led me to an article by Mathew Jarvis at PCR-online.biz, a UK e-zine. The article is titled, Wolfenstein retakes PC Game chart crown as Wildstar falls. It gives a list of the top-selling games in the UK as of June 14, 2014. Here's the list of full price games from that article as supplied by UKIE.
[caption id="attachment_2952" align="alignleft" width="390"] UKIE Top 20 - June 14, 2014[/caption]
As this list shows, TESO is still #6 in purchases AFTER the end of the free play period. One thing you must remember about this list. It is not about subscriptions. It is about those who purchased the game BEFORE they could even start the subscription. TESO is that sort of business model. And as this list is published weekly, there is no reason to believe it would include all the purchases made prior to the week before UKIE published the list. That indicates to me there were still quite a few conversions from free to subscription after the free period.
Finding corroboration for this report has proven to be a little tricky. There are lots of reports made in the media on total games sales industry wide, but not a lot breaking those sales down to specific titles. Also, many of the "old school" analytic companies are woefully behind the curve when it comes to accounting for digital game sales.
And as we know, digital sales are very popular. It's the ultimate in instant gratification. Well, after the download completes at least. But it's still faster than getting in a car and driving somewhere to buy a box which in all likelihood is going to make you download the game anyway.
Furthermore, those companies that can provide the data often charge for it. And those e-zines who could pay for the data and write about it were totally engrossed in E3 coverage. So, long story short, I couldn't find any good corroborating articles.
But I don't think that prevents me from making my final conclusion about all the doom predicted about TESO. It was all a bunch of sensationalistic claptrap. It was click bate, and isn't that how the web works. Just be carefully about jumping on future wagons if you bought into the gang mentality this time. Cheers!