It’s a little late, but I here we go:
Both @Derch and @danwarr117 are right. They are just making different claims.
Derch is attempting to establish some kind of base rate of player drop-off, which he does beautifully.
The point is that games in general tend to have strong initial peaks, followed by precipitous drops. When that doesn’t happen, it’s a real anomaly.
Based on what Derch has shown us, we shouldn’t be surprised that fewer players (by a significant margin) are playing today than were initially.
Lets do the math!
The first month percentage drops were as follows:
- Borderlands: ~42.8%
- Borderlands 2: ~50%
- Borderlands TPS: ~70%
- Battleborn: ~76.4%
The second month drops (from first month numbers):
- Borderlands: ~31%
- Borderlands 2: ~50%
- Borderlands TPS: ~34%
- Battleborn: ~20%
What we see is that Battleborn started at a lower base, and was hit harder and faster than any other GBX game under study. But after that initial hit, it has managed to stop the bleeding better than any of the other games under study. Much better, in fact, than Borderlands 2 in the same period.
Now let’s do something else. Let’s turn Battleborn into the “average” GBX game.
The average first month drop for a GBX game before Battleborn is: ~54%
The average second month drop is: ~38%
Starting at the base of approximately: 4,225, based on this, we would suspect that Battleborn would lose:
- 2,282 players in month 1.
- 738 players in month 2.
Which would bring our total player base down to: 1,205 by month three.
This means that in a perfect world, where Battleborn was perfectly average, we would expect to see about 1200 concurrent players today based on initial sales.
We should be surprised, in fact, to see more than about 1500 players at this time.
The fact that we have between 200-300 fewer players than average, could be caused by the other external circumstances surrounding Battleborn, or it could be caused by “poor” decisions on the part of GBX. What those decisions are/were, are up for discussion.
Meanwhile, @danwarr117 is making a more functional argument, mainly that not only has Battleborn lost people too quickly for the type of game it is, but the people still around aren’t playing enough.
This is true.
The only thing I balk at is the comparison to Overwatch, because a game that sells an order of magnitude more copies (like Overwatch did), operates in an entirely different system.
Here is what we know.
- ~150,000 own Battleborn on the PC (~900 or .6% actively play it).
If the UK split (18%) carries over to their total sales, Overwatch has:
- ~1,800,000 PC owners.
It’s impossible to say how many of these people are actively playing the game at any given time, but we can make an educated supposition.
If Overwatch had a drop-off similar to Battleborn (~.6% of people who own the game are playing it concurrently) Overwatch would have ~10,800 playing at any given time.
I would suspect that the real number is between twice and five times larger than this.
It’s here that I’d like to point out that the sorts of numbers Overwatch is posting makes it one of the most successful new gaming IPs of all times.
Which brings me back to why I question these comparisons.
It is usually a bad practice to compare something to a statistical outlier. Overwatch is, for many reasons, an outlier – not only as a multiplier game, but as a new IP.
It is not only successful, it is far, far more successful than it has any rights to be, even compared to other Blizzard properties.
To compare Battleborn to Overwatch would be like comparing the life of an average, American to the life of Bill Gates or Elon Musk, and trying to draw actionable conclusions from it. It might be fun, but it’s not necessarily useful.
Functionally, I think GBX needs to keep doing what it’s doing, and work hard to bring new players in and retain the ones it already has – especially on the PC.
That being said, I think it’s important that we recognize that Overwatch is its own animal, and the comparisons, while not totally unfounded, are likely unfair.