Context of Steam Charts Data

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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All games have massive drops like that.
But unless it’s a large brand name or made by blizzard it’s not going to retain many players for competitive type games.
Borderlands only did because it’s casual game.

You can see larger drop offs from CoD games, where the first three days has 20 mil but after you never see it crack 3 mil except maybe during summer break.

Honestly I didn’t even know battleborn was out until I saw someone I follow stream it.
There are ways to drag people back in but most devs don’t hire spin doctors, Activision does and they do well.

All thanks to sales, not the game. Two sales with 40-50% discount on first two months, while BL 1/2/tPS had none.

There’s an important factor these charts can’t show us.
Most likely the same as I have, we each have friends who play/own previous Gearbox titles but they refuse to buy or play Battleborn. It will be hard to get those numbers but they are a major factor.

im confused about that graph.

how can total number of owners go up and down over time?

like… some1 bought it then decided they didnt want it and got a refudn or something?

I guess we can see the first small wave of refunds between 12th-14th June, followed by a wave of new owners with a peak on the 20th June. Then theres another big drop (possibly refunds) with lowest on the 27th June. After that low it seems there were a wave of new buyers again, with a peak on 2nd July.

I don´t know exactly how Steam´s refund policies work, but as I understood it you can refund your game over a quiet long period.
Though its strange to see how fluid that owners-graph is due to refunding people, I think its interesting that the numbers climbed up again so fast after the drop of owners at the 27th June.

Comparing Battleborn to Overwatch is pointless. As a game developer, Blizzard has built a massive fan base over decades, because of that they have near limitless resources to pour into each project. While Overwatch and Battleborn have some similar aspects, they are very different games released by two very different Developers. That said, the verifiable numbers attached to Battleborn are abysmal.

The fact that player activity stabilized at around 1 k, shows that things are bleak. Sure, you can choose to look at it through percentages and compare it to Borderlands, it certainly paints a nicer picture. But your not taking into account the vast difference between Battleborn and Borderlands.

Even if no one was playing Borderlands online, you still had a massive campaign to explore. With Battleborn, if no one is around all you can do is run the same 8 missions. Battleborn NEEDS a vibrant active player base just to enjoy most of it’s features. Borderlands did not. While online activity complimented the game, it wasn’t necessary to enjoy it.

The total number of active players at any given time is too low to sustain a game that is so heavily focused on multiplayer.

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Yeah, those drops are too huge to be refunds only. I suppose it’s more of an inaccuracy in counting. As on that picture, “146k +/- 10k owners”, the range is 136k to 156k, pretty wide.

Thank you @sbspalding. I want to be clear, however, that I love Battleborn as a game and really would like to see it grow. I think it Gearbox keeps on making adjustments and improvements, the game will be in a much better place around September and October. It’s just that, at this point in the games life, the active player numbers, especially on PC, are very low and everyone needs to understand that this means Battleborn’s audience is quite niche. All we as players can do it to keep playing and enjoying the game. Hopefully the game can get more exposure once the Broadcaster functionality gets released so spectating games from a more dynamic angle is possible on places like Twitch.

Steam allows for refunds under a certain amount of hours played. This is speculation, but it’s possible people refunded, and then repurchased the game at the sale price, though I’m not 100% sure if Steam allows for this.

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Probably. I’m not making any claims as to why things look like they do, just that they look like they do.

I hope so too. :slight_smile:

As a PS4 player most of these issues don’t exist for me (PS4 matchmaking on the east-coast of the USA at the times I play has always been between 1-3 minutes), but our cousins on the PC need some help badly.

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Max that ever peaked 12.000, now 800 peak:

http://steamcharts.com/app/394230

10,000,0000… even dividing it by 38 time zones… still a big number I would say…

12,000… from BB…

not looking good , is it…

What is that 10,000,000 from?