The big news here for me is The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) plummeted to 20th place in June. Did the Wildstar launch steal some players from TESO?
Wildstar's début is nearly every bit what TESO's was - though not quite. It debuts one rank lower than TESO did, but is it valid to say the MMO player attracted to TESO is also attracted to Wildstar? The games are so visually different I can't say there is a cross appeal there. I know I've no real desire to play Wildstar. The only thing that's really pinged my play button is the housing, but the thought of grinding through 15 levels to get one isn't appealing to me. In Landmark I can get a place to live immediately, and it doesn't have to be a house. It can be anything. Bottom line of this meandering paragraph, no, I can't put TESO's fall onto Wildstar's rise.
However, that did not stop Raptr from drawing that conclusion. Here is what they had to say about it,
WildStar made a resounding 6th-place entry into Most Played as it released on June 3, with weekly patches throughout the month. The new MMO impacted the playtime of The Elder Scrolls Online, WoW, Dark Souls II, and Final Fantasy XIV Online, and was definitely a factor that led to those games slipping in the ranks.
So perhaps I am wrong about the appeal difference. Raptr does know exactly who is playing what after all. If any one (or a million) accounts switched from TESO to Wildstar Raptr would know. Still, I think we can say yes, to some degree the issues that arose after launch caused people to stop playing the game, or at least put it on hiatus. So we'll have to see how TESO does next month to know for certain - or not. We may actually never know how the game flaws affected subscriptions without Bethesda publishing concrete subscription numbers. I just don't think that will happen, so we'll keep having to rely on folks like Raptr.
Who knows, with TESO's 3rd major update coming next month with outfit customization and a revamped Veteran system, perhaps Zenimax can lure more players back. I possibly fall into that category, though I was more enticed to play other games and have not lost my love of TESO. I will return for certain. I wanted to play night before last in fact, but the last update was so damn large I went to AC4 instead for a quick hour-long gaming fix. I hope not every update will be 20 gigabytes. That alone makes me move on to other games - just as I did the other night.
You know, there's an interesting side question in that. Do the size of updates have any affect on a player's desire to play a particular game? TESO has seen a lot of updates in its first three months compared to what I'm used to seeing. And they have been many gigabytes in size. Even with my Comcast connection it takes over an hour to update - and update failures have been often enough to be annoying. It's like being back in the dial-up days. It sucks. So what do you think, can update sizes affect a game's popularity, especially when the updates occur every other week? For those who play WOW, how does WOW do it? To you get frequent 20GB updates?
Another thing I find interesting about this list is I only play two other games on it, and neither of them recently. I also play League of Legends and Skyrim; the rest never. Does that make me an outlier in what is currently dope in the gaming world? Or does it merely mean I waste more money? I can't help but notice many of the games that make Raptr's report are free-to-play titles. Then there are others, as Raptr points out in the its blog post, that benefited from the Steam Summer Sale and outright giveaways like Origin's Battlefield 3.
And that seems to be the real issue with this report. It is susceptible to transient noise introduced by factors other than outright popularity. When given a choice between a good enough game that is free or very cheap, as opposed to one that is relatively expensive like TESO or Wildstar, but otherwise "the bomb," don't most players opt for the former? With more than half the report falling into the free or cheap category, it's hard to argue that saving money isn't the most popular game of all. Cheers!