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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Raptr Most Played PC Games: June 2014

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="640"]Raptr Most Played PC Games: June 2014 Raptr Most Played PC Games: June 2014[/caption]

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 d├ębut 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!

 

10 comments:

  1. Instead of looking at just the rank, you might want to look at the percentage of time played. Looking at ESO over the past 3 months, you'll see the following percentages.

    April: 3.78%
    May: 1.80%
    June: 0.86%

    And if you look at Wildstar (2.86%) you may see it didn't debut quite as strongly. Then again, that LoL number is HUGE!

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  2. I may have something to say about that column in a future post so I've not mentioned it on purpose. Damn your eagle eyes! :D But yeah, there is that percentage, which for those that read this and don't know is the percentage of time a particular game took of ALL the time Raptr members spent playing games for the month. Of all the time Raptr members spent playing games, more than one hour in four nearly one hour in five was spent playing LoL.

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  3. Update sizes do slow me down. If I come home, I'm not likely to wait for a multi GB download, I'll play something else most of the time. WoW, when i played, had a background updater that would dl if the computer was on. Blizz also set up the patches to download the critical portion of updates so you could play and non critical bits continue downloading while you play. Not sure how that works, but it is nice. So you may see a 5gb update, but after 1.5gb it lets you log in and get down to playing.

    I am curious, how accurate do you consider raptr? My understanding is that it is an opt in. I actually deleted my account a while back because it was not providing me much value. So I wonder: Who opts into that tracking system, and are those players representative of "normal" gamers?

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  4. I can account for two players switching from TESO to Wildstar, though neither of us use a logging service like Raptr (or even Steam, for that matter), so we wouldn't have impacted any statistics.

    Why? TESO has a better story, for sure, and I want to like the more realistic aesthetic more. But TESO didn't deliver what we wanted. Once you get past the obtuse user interface, Wildstar has much better grouping options. It's the little stuff: in TESO, if we both logged in and ended up in different instances, one of us would have to log out and wait two minutes. If that happens in Wildstar, there's a GIANT RED BUTTON that you can press that instantly moves you into the instance of the person who started the group. The way quests work and the lack of sharding are also friendlier to grouping, and Wildstar better accommodates our little group of two.

    What surprised me, though, is that Wildstar is a much prettier game. As over-the-top as the aesthetic is, it's much more consistent and does a much better job of working within the constraints of the low poly count that MMOs have to have. Cliffs in Wildstar are painterly, as is the general aesthetic. Cliffs in TESO are hideous, and there's just enough realism elsewhere to make the less realistic elements (rock, buildings) and details like shields clipping long hair stand out as particularly jarring.

    TESO is a good Massively Parallel Single-Player Game. Wildstar is a good (theme park) MMO.

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  5. Raptr is only so accurate as its member base is representative. That member base is fairly large and growing according to Raptr. What I don't think it represents well is the casual gamer who plays only one or two games. For instance, I know about a dozen 50 and 60 year old EVE Online players who know enough about a computer to log in and launch the game. That's it. They would never bother to learn how Raptr works, or are even aware such things exist. Where I think Raptr fails is in capturing the truly casual player. I personally believe they comprise the majority of gamers and are completely underrepresented in all aspects of gaming.

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  6. Almost. ;-) Actually, it’s 5,967 times, so it’s much nearer to 1 hour of 6 = 16,67%.
    Regarding update sizes, the largest patches WoW has, are the biannual expansions. And I can’t remember one of those ever exceeding 10GB (e.g. 5.0 was 6GB). In-between patches usually are 1GB or so (e.g. 5.4 was 0.8GB).
    And like grimmash said, Blizzard optimized that a lot over the years, and for the last 4-5 years, the majority of the patch would download in the background. For the large expansion that even starts several weeks beforehand, so even with lower bandwith it’s usually no problem at all.

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  7. Oh, and in-between hotfixes are much smaller, usually not worth mentioning.

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  8. I quit Eso afer a month and went back to Rift. I wont go back even if it gets F2P as it was plain boring and pvp was a fail before end game. Though Wildstar has never interested me. I dont like the *disney goes manga* style and too much grinding for my taste. Ugly technicolors too. Those 2 games seems too different to compete. Ppl i know of has chosen 1 of them but not switched...

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  9. WoW's every-so-often patch/fix updates can be anywhere from a handful of megabytes to (rarely) as much as a gigabyte. The major patches (spanned by months) are likely several gigabytes. As grimmash mentions, the background updater can skew your perception of the actual size and frequency.

    Your are right that presently you have a bunch of relatively fresh (last six months) MMOs cannibalizing each other's playtime. For me, the most noteworthy mention in the list is that despite being in the middle of its longest content drought ever and persistent "bleeding" of subscribers, WoW is still #3 and #2 by genre.

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  10. Team Fortress is the best game.

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