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  1. #1
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    Popular games on Steam

    There's a nice article on Ars about the popularity and play time of games on Steam. They've done an analysis of the community profile pages for random users, and then generated the statistics based on that data.

    Some of the results are well known and expected, e.g. cca. 40% of games are never played, a minority of games accounts for the majority of both purchases and playtime, DOTA2 is popular.

    What surprised me was how popular CivV really is, and how many hours people put into Football Manager 2014. Also, if you compare the plots with the median and mean number of hours played, notice how the distributions are skewed for some games like CivV, EUIV, EVE, where the mean number is several times larger than the median.

    I'll just quote one of the comments: :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Some guy on the Ars site
    According to this, people have played a bit over 430,000 years worth of DOTA2. Almost half a million years spent playing a single game.

    That's far longer than the human race has existed.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Also they added an addendum which is that Steam only started recording hours played in 2009. So games played or bought before then register no hours.

    Hence the Lost Coast being owned by many people but not played, they probably did play it but before 2009. So the 30-40% figure of unplayed games is probably an overestimation.

    EDIT: This is also why I've "only" played 100 hours of TF2 and less for Civ4 etc.

  3. #3
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    DOTA 2 is also used for watching games, not just playing them. I imagine the International had a split between client views and twitch.tv views.

    I have not touched TF2 really since its gone F2P, thus I only have 90 minutes of play. I know I have hundreds of hours into that.

    There is no analysis or thought about people being afk, idling, steam card farming, etc.

    I think my FTL is up to 200 hours. Think half of that is due to leaving it open all the time or start/stop play while doing something else.

    Civ5 is always in the top 10 peak concurrent play count each day. Not sure why it is a surprise to many how much it is played. I am surprised XCom is not higher.

  4. #4
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    I hope i wasn't in one of those random picks, my "Played time" in steam are notoriously wrong in many cases.

    I.e. my way of telling my friends i got into dota2 beta was to just leave it open for 2 days and see who notices :p
    Or i forget some game launcher open (Steam still counts that as playing it) for a day.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    I don't think Steam counts hours played in offline mode either, does it? I'm in offline mode as often as not.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    "Ars regrets missing these caveats in the original piece."

    So they set up this system, ran it for a couple of months and didn't realise pre-2009 and offline data isn't tracked. They didn't even question the HL2 numbers, for example. Great job! And a ton of sites - not to mention forums - are reporting the news as accurate. It will probably be used as ammo in console vs PC tirades for years.

  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node deadly.by.design's Avatar
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    I was checking the game stats a few weeks ago and the CivV / Football Manager bit really surprised me, too.

    Dota 2 is enormously popular, and continues to grow moreso. As much as I thought MOBAs/ARTs games were dumb in the past, I have to admit that dota 2 has captured 100% of my multiplayer attention. Yeah, it can be frustrating, but a well-executed game (especially with friends) is a great experience. Valve's work with The International is laudable, too, as it was the first time I saw an e-sports event as more than a nerd fest. Well, it's still a huge nerd fest, but the coverage, casting and overall level of presentation are good enough to even impress my non-playing wife.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    "Ars regrets missing these caveats in the original piece."

    So they set up this system, ran it for a couple of months and didn't realise pre-2009 and offline data isn't tracked. They didn't even question the HL2 numbers, for example. Great job! And a ton of sites - not to mention forums - are reporting the news as accurate. It will probably be used as ammo in console vs PC tirades for years.
    Yah, the Hours played is wildly inconsistent even for games that have it. And it is half of their article.


    The Games Owned/Played is a interesting piece.

    I like SteamCharts polling hourly player counts and getting an idea of what hours are being played for the Last 30 days for every online Steam user.

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