Context of Steam Charts Data

So here I have the first 3 months for all 3 Borderlands games and Battleborn. Now while BB didn’t have the massive start like some of these games on PC and had a bigger drop on the first month, from month 2-3 it held its ground much better.

I’ve seen a lot of posts about how the numbers fell so much and I thought seeing that all of these games had similar drops might calm some nerves.

Not making any grand statements here, just saying these things happen on release.

Also there have been a lot of Overwatch has 10 million Battleborn has less than 1000.

This statement is not true. The Overwatch number of 10,000,0000 was activated copies on all systems. The less than 1000 is current players playing at a given moment.

This is like saying if there is one NBA game going on that there are only 10 NBA players, but there are millions of NFL players. That would be taking the current amount of NBA players in a game and comparing it to every NFL player ever on a roster in the history of the NFL. Those are 2 very different numbers you cannot compare.

Again not making a statement about the health of the player base on PC. Just stating that those 2 numbers are not 2 numbers to compare because they are 2 very different things.

Just putting things in context.

Data from http://steamcharts.com/

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Where are you pulling this dataset from? What are you axes labels?

Regardless of whether or not this behavior is typical, for a multiplayer game like Battleborn player count number should not be dropping that precipitously.

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Numbers are from steam charts, numbers are current players playing at a given moment.

Ideally, no. If I made a game, I would want the number of players to go up, but the point is not whether or not BB is or will be successful in the long run. The point is only that re-stating numbers out of context is misleading.

Borderlands did not originally release on Steam, it was on GameSpy. Borderlands was made available on Steam in 2013 so that number isn’t completely accurate.

You really should overlay the graphs to give a better picture of what it is representing.

Yes, all of these games say declines in player count over their first 3 months, but Battleborn started out a much lower number, just over 4000 average players in the first month, to under 1000 by July. That’s about 80% player loss.

I still think SteamDB:Battleborn presents a much better picture of what is happening. The simple fact is that 75% of the people who own the game are not playing the game and those they do only average 30 minutes per day over two weeks.

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Both sites should have the same numbers they are using the same base data.

I also said in the ok that I know bb started out with less but the drops the first few month are not uncommon is the only point.

In fact I’ll try to dig another one up but people were checking bl2 steam achievements to sales of the games and something close to 80% of people that bought the game either never made it to or past sanctuary.

This is common for AAA games that a huge chunk of people buy them and either never or barely play them.

It’s a similar reason why elf attachment rates are often around 10%

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Both sites have access to the same data, but only SteamDB shows Total Owners, Active Players, Players over 2 Weeks, as well as players currently online.

Steam Charts shows Average Players, Peak Players, and Current Active Players.

SteamDB just gives us more information.

That’s fine people have been talking about the active player base shrinking and I just wanted to show that compared to other gearbox games

Well you tried derch. And I think more than anything the biggest point to make is that over watch’s lifetime sales is definitely not comparable to the current number of people playing in one region on the system with the least number of players and the most competition in terms of games (lol and dota for example). Clearly these two type of numbers are not comparable in the least.

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Still missing the point here. Derch is presenting numbers, not interpreting what they mean. Math is not biased in and of itself, people manipulate and interpret the math, which creates bias.

Derch is not arguing anything except that the figures presented are being quoted over and over out of context. He is merely attempting to provide context.

If you wish to make an argument based on other figures, by all means do so, but please provide those figures in context as Derch has.

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Did you even bother to look at the link I provided? Also, I’m not disagreeing with Derch’s argument that active player drop is normal for GBX’s historic franchises. My argument is that SteamDB gives us a more clear picture of what is really happening based on the information it provides.

Here is Battleborn’s specific SteamDB page. I’ve posted the information in another thread (Here specifically), but I’ll drop it here as well.

Here we see the total number of people that own the game on steam, the total number of people that have played the game at least once since owning it, and the total number of players in the last two weeks. Additionally, the average and median playtimes for these players is provided.

Notice that under 25% of the people that own the game have played in the last two weeks. Of this 25%, they average 6.8 hours in two weeks which breaks down to just under a half an hour a day.

Here is the graph of Owners (Green), Total Players (Red), and Players in two weeks (Blue) all compared over the last month. We see here that the Players in two weeks has been roughly cut in half in the last month. On a positive note, game ownership is on the upswing, but this is can be attributed to the Steam sale the last two weeks. Even still, the Net ownership of Battleborn on Steam from the beginning to the end of the Summer Sale appears to have been around 0.

In summary, about 150k people own Battleborn on Steam. Currently, less than 25% of the population actively plays the game in any way. Inside of this roughly 33k people, the average two week playtime is half and hour per day. A decent amount of people own the game, but do not play enough on a daily basis.

It is perfectly reasonable to compare these figures in the context of Overwatch. Across all three platforms, Overwatch sold roughly 7 million copies in the first week and that figured jumped to 10 million by June 14th. This number is likely even higher right now, but we’ll use this figure. Using the UK retail sales figures here, PC had an 18% share, translating to about 1.8 million Overwatch PC activations compared to Battleborn’s 150k Steam owners. Obviously, as previously shown, not all of these people are playing their respective games, but if you compare at even at 22% total player count, which remember is Battleborn’s two-week number, this is a population comparison of 400k for Overwatch to 33k for Battleborn. That is, roughly, the apples to apples comparison between the populations for the two games.

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Doesnt matter when the actual amount of people playing is so low. I mean if it dropped off to 3 million people, well, that’s still a lot of people.

No, I didn’t. I was hoping someone with a more mathmatical bent would collate and explain the data as you have done. Thank you very much! Oh, and thank you, too, Derch!

You have both managed to put into perspective what the people who have been trying to argue with numbers comparing apples and oranges all along. I really do appreciate the time it took for you both to clarify things. Now I feel I can make my own decision as to what the numbers mean to the future of Battleborn.

Games always have a drop off after the initial release, Gearbox’s fanbase for their games are small, but dedicated.
(Which IMHO, is much better than a large fanbase that are made up people who are just waiting for their next fix.)

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Typically, after the first year, number of active players only goes down. most gamers have next to no attention span.

Also, you can’t base a game’s success exclusively on the average player count. How the game sells, and the general reception of the game matter quite a bit more.

Of course the meaning of success is very subjective. Personally, as an aspiring game dev, if even one person finds that they enjoyed the game, I consider that a success. I’m a storyteller at heart, and I love BB for it’s lore, granted the way it’s presented needs work. "=^= Destiny flashbacks.

Sorry! Getting off track, player numbers alone don’t mean a game is successful, sales, reception and personal opinions matter too!

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I just wish everyone would stop comparing BB numbers to OW numbers. And it’s not even because they already get compared too much for 2 different types of games. It’s because it reminds me of every MMO there is someone who always claims that X MMO is dead because it has a fraction of the subscribers that WoW has. And I am sure if I was more involved with the strategy game scene I would see the same type of comparisons with Y RTS compared to Warcraft 3 or starcraft 2.

Blizzard has their niche, and it is very bland games designed to appeal to the largest possible audience polished to be as shiny as possible. And comparing any company to Blizzard is a horrible idea because their whole business model is set up to take in as many people as possible, let alone comparing them to a company that is actually trying new things with their games.

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Umm not this small when you have around or under 1k people on (PC) peak times.

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:

  1. Borderlands: ~42.8%
  2. Borderlands 2: ~50%
  3. Borderlands TPS: ~70%
  4. Battleborn: ~76.4%

The second month drops (from first month numbers):

  1. Borderlands: ~31%
  2. Borderlands 2: ~50%
  3. Borderlands TPS: ~34%
  4. 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:

  1. 2,282 players in month 1.
  2. 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.

  1. ~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. ~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.

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As I type this, 12:40am Pacific Time on Tues night/ Wed morning, on Steam:

329 Battleborn players

6373 Borderlands 2 players
1079 Borderlands TPS players
809 Borderlands players

+1 for “let’s see these numbers overlayed on the same graph.” Someone who comes in and just glances at these, or who doesn’t know how to really analyze a graph in the first place (probably too many :confused:), will assume all these games had similar performance when really it doesn’t say that at all. Battleborn was beat not only by BL2 and TPS (by an entire order of magnitude), but it even had worse numbers than BL1! Saying all games lose users after launch is an exercise in tedium. GBX has had time to grow its brand, FPSs are now consistently the best sellers in the video game market, and there are very likely more gamers now than there were when BL1 came out. All that and BB couldn’t even pull half the numbers that a late-blooming BL1 did!? <–That’s the context these numbers should be put in.

Honestly, the way the graphs are set up is even more galling in light of the fact that the percentage of lost/retained players doesn’t tell you whether you’re at the tipping point for having a healthy total daily player base. (<-- For many on the PC, the answer to this seems to be ‘no’ or ‘barely’). Raw numbers are important here precisely because the daily userbase is so low. (As plenty of people have pointed out, the best way to fix matchmaking is to get more people into the matchmaking pool at any given time.)

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