Context of Steam Charts Data

While it’s not a perfect execution (having all 4 games on the same graph so that all numbers are on the same scale would have been much better), it does provide more information and context than pretty much anyone else that has thrown numbers has provided. It’s slightly misleading, but, if you know how to read graphs, it’s all pretty apparent:

Battleborn is doing slightly worse than what you would normally expect but only slightly worse. The game isn’t in immediately threat of dying, but it is worrisome. It is also due to a rather terrible confluence of negative factors (Overwatch, fumbling the matchmaking “improvement”), but that’s something you have to infer.

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Like I said, it is a really rough estimate based on UK sales distribution. It is most likely higher than that for sure, but 1.8 ~ 2 million seems like a decent guess at a floor.

I’m honestly not certain what people want @Derch to say.

If you’re interested in how the numbers break down, read

and


##Facts:

  1. Battleborn sold fewer copies than other Gearbox games, for a lot of complex reasons.
  2. Battleborn’s player population fell broadly in-line with other GBX games over a similar time period.
  3. Battleborn had a stronger first month fall, and weaker second. In total, the fall was “above average” but not wildly above average.
  4. This is a bad thing for PC players. In fact, I would claim it’s a very bad thing. @Derch at no point claims that it isn’t.
  5. It is clear that based on the active player numbers on PC, something needs to be done to improve their experience, or else it will be difficult for them to find games in the future.
  6. This same problem is not currently being seen on the consoles. In fact, it’s unclear whether there is a problem on the consoles at all – we simply do not have the data, but anecdotal evidence tells us that active populations there are much, much higher.
  7. GBX is doing everything in its power to make the game better, and correct these issues. (this last one is not a “fact” per se, call it an article of faith).

All @Derch was trying to show is the very real trend that AAA titles often lose large portions of their population after an initial peak. Video games behave a lot like blockbuster movies in this way, they tend to “sell out” in their opening weekend and do significantly worse over time.

Battleborn had a harder “open” than many other games, which means that when the drop-off hit, it really hurt.

He never said that this is good, he just said that this is the way things tend to work.


Further, he wanted to make sure we weren’t using a false equivalence – claiming that OW’s 10,000,000 activated accounts is at all similar to the “concurrent active player” data that the Steam Chart gives.

A better comparison would be to say that:

Battleborn sold: 150k copies on PC + X copies on PS4 + Y copies on Xbox One.

Overwatch sold: 10,000,000 copies across all platforms.

Currently, 850 players (on average) play Battleborn at any given time on PC, and we don’t know how many play it on PS4 or Xbox One.

We have no idea how many of the 10,000,000 people who own Overwatch play it at any given time, those numbers are not available to us.


None of this means,

  1. Battleborn is healthy.
  2. That @Derch thinks Battleborn’s PC population is healthy.
  3. Or that we should just sit on our hands rather than offering suggestions to improve Battleborn.

Thanks for the time.

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That wouldn’t be good since Borderlands started with 60K plus players and BB started with around 5K at at time, Battleborn would be pretty much a flat line making it not look like it does. By seperating them you can see the drop.

This is not about player counts, but the drop percentage in the first few months. To show those drops you have to do each within their own numbers.

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[quote=“Derch, post:64, topic:1539992, full:true”]That wouldn’t be good since Borderlands started with 60K plus players and BB started with around 5K at at time, Battleborn would be pretty much a flat line making it not look like it does. By seperating them you can see the drop.
[/quote]

Yeah, I missed the additional 0 on BL2 and TPS, which is definitely going to mess things around. Of course, since BL and BB have similar numbers, you could’ve laid those on top of each other in a separate “zoom in” graph (i.e. one graph with all 4 and another with just BL and BB). Would give a better sense of scale and comparison, imo.

But right now you get the better idea of the drop, which this thread is all about. Combining only makes that less clear. The most clear way to show each drop is to show them on their own. You have active player counts on the side as well.

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Eh, it’s really just personal preference. I prefer information that’s going to be compared to be on the same graph rather than split up (mainly because that’s what the research articles I’m used to reading tend to do).

Thinking about it now, I probably would have put them all on the same graph with the y axis as a percent of max players in order to get them on the same scale; from there, you just give the specific numbers for each data point in the text (or in subtext for the graph). That’d get the point across better since the percentage of remaining players is really what you’re getting at; but, then again, that’s just me.

then you don’t see the player counts and see less data I know I could of just put more data in the op. But this way you see player counts, accurate drops in comparison to each others. The data is the data, no matter how it is shown. It is shown accurately and without trying to twist it.

I haven’t been around in a while but this thread grabbed my attention. It shouldn’t be a mystery why this thread is eliciting the reaction it is. It’s pretty easy to illustrate why with a simple analogy:

If people eat limburger cheese and meat, but they have to wait a month for it to arrive from the store, and they keep getting sick… they’re going to figure out pretty quickly it’s a problem with the meat. If they then stop buying the meat but then some guy wearing a “I Love Meat” T-Shirt comes up to them and tells them “Well you know, month old limburger cheese and month old meat smell the same. I’m not saying if that’s a good or bad thing, I’m just putting it in context for you.” those people are not going to be very receptive to that info. They’ve already gotten sick, they’ve already made up their mind about meat, and that info does nothing for their past experiences or future ones.

And in the case of this thread, just as the above analogy, the info here does no good for solving the problem, it doesn’t explain why there’s a problem, and it comes off as either pretentious, worthless, disruptive, or downright hostile, depending on the intent that is projected on the provider of the info.

The people playing on PC don’t care if the falloff at release was like other PC titles, like other GBX titles, or the most random event in the history of all time. That “context” does nothing for the person waiting in queue nor for the people that are trying to convince their friends to play with them. It sounds like great rhetoric, but it’s as useful as pointing out that Battleborn, like other software, is stored and executed using a series of 1s and 0s.

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I’m not quite sure what you mean by this given the information I have provided, along with a simple interpretation.

Most games follow this trend. Great games, however, do not end up with sub 1K players on a given night a month after release. The graphs only prove there is something very wrong with Battleborn and free gold skins, Shift codes and a cash shop wasn’t really a solution.
The longer Gearbox takes to improve the game the less chance of anyone coming back to the game.

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Wow, obscure analogy. I don’t agree. Perhaps rather than being [quote=“zesban, post:69, topic:1539992”]
pretentious, worthless, disruptive, or downright hostile
[/quote]

I see this thread as a breath of fresh air. Rather than taking random numbers from sites to support an already formed opinion, this thread presents numbers, in historical context, without espousing any opinion as to what they represent at all.

I’m really not sure why any post that doesn’t flat-out agree with the concept that Battleborn is a failure, is doomed, and GBX owes the community for the financial, psychological and emotional torment of being forced to buy it and play it, is somehow transformed into a guy wearing an “I love meat” t-shirt.

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Your chart is off for Battleborn. Take a look at these numbers here https://steamdb.info/app/394230/graphs/ and you’ll see that the amount of players in a day peaked at 12000 on May 3rd and dropped to 2000 on June 3rd.

If you were following the data before, you would see that the playerbase’s size corresponds with the 40-50% sales that Battleborn did within the first three months. That is the number one reason why the playerbase isn’t dropping as much as Borderlands 1 and 2 after two months.

Another surprising ratio is the amount of people who liked your status compared to the amount of people who clicked your link.

It’s uncommon for a game to lose 5/6s of it’s population within its first month.

I guess i’m a bit late to the thread. It seems danwarr said everything I wanted to say

This thread wasn’t meant to solve problems but put numbers that I saw going around the forums in context. Context matters. I am not a game dev nor do I work in marketing, I just play games. I don’t have the answer, and I’m not even really asking a question in the OP, just trying to put out context.

I tried really hard to be neutral in the OP as well, I don’t know how being neutral and not taking a stance on anything but just presenting context could be anything like “pretentious, worthless, disruptive, or downright hostile” How can you be hostile when you don’t take a side? [quote=“aboynamedjojo, post:73, topic:1539992”]
Your chart is off for Battleborn. Take a look at these numbers here https://steamdb.info/app/394230/graphs/ and you’ll see that the amount of players in a day peaked at 12000 on May 3rd and dropped to 2000 on June 3rd.
[/quote]

If you look at the link I provided in the OP you will see the numbers are very real, they are average players over the span of a month, not peak.

I said I wasn’t making any statements just showing the numbers but if you want to grab the sales why the month 2-3 wasn’t as bad, you should also point out the fact none of those other games had market competition like overwatch at the start either that could of caused it to get that bad.

Again its also not common to have a game as big as overwatch come out so close to release as well, there were more uncommon factors.

The point was if the average AAA game looses lets say 60% of thier player base in the first 2-3 months and BB lost 80% yes its not doing as well, but thats different from saying BB lost 80% and saying nothing about you should of expected it to loose more than 60% because all AAA do, and rarely does a game have to compete with Blizzard putting out direct market competition.

Again that context makes a very large difference. Context matters.

I’m still not saying BB is going to be a massive success, I’m not saying it will turn around, I’m not saying it will fail, I’m not saying any of that because I don’t know and its too early to tell.

I’m providing context.

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But it does begin to give us an idea of what the problem isn’t, which can be important.

As an example, if most games lose 5% of their population Month-over-month and Battleborn lost 85%, there could be wildly different solutions than if Battleborn is on par with how an “average” game performs over the same period.

It could be as big a difference as to whether you take the route that Diablo III took with Reaper of Souls (essentially re-release your game through a DLC) or you take the route that Evolve is taking (go F2P in order to bolster your player base).

Since our opinions matter (to a degree) in what decision is ultimately made, it’s important we are using good information to form those opinions.

I didn’t read @Derch 's post as, “everything is going to be fine,” I read it as an explanation of how other games performed over similar periods.

I can, however, understand how in a bad situation – anything that doesn’t seem like a direct solution – can come off as “useless.” I don’t necessarily agree, but I can understand that.

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[quote=“sbspalding, post:75, topic:1539992, full:true”]As an example, if most games lose 5% of their population Month-over-month and Battleborn lost 85%, there could be wildly different solutions than if Battleborn is on par with how an “average” game performs over the same period.
[/quote]

Well, Battleborn isn’t really on par with “average”. It’s doing worse than what normally happens but not that much worse.

The numbers tell us that Battleborn isn’t doing well, but not to the extent that many doomsayers suggest (because a steep decline a month after release is to be expected).

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Agreed. :slight_smile:

Real Battleborn falls somewhere between scenario one and two in my example. I was just trying to point out that different diseases often require different cures.

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I see this thread as a breath of fresh air. Rather than taking random numbers from sites to support an already formed opinion, this thread presents numbers, in historical context, without espousing any opinion as to what they represent at all.

I’m really not sure why any post that doesn’t flat-out agree with the concept that Battleborn is a failure, is doomed, and GBX owes the community for the financial, psychological and emotional torment of being forced to buy it and play it, is somehow transformed into a guy wearing an “I love meat” t-shirt.
[/quote]

Let me explain.

You see, @derch has a Purple Box around his posts. This Purple Box means that he’s spent so much time on these forums that he’s been promoted to being a moderator like community member. Much in the same way a big fan of meat, as a product, might hang out with a crowd of meat lovers. And since in the analogy this character can’t have a magical glowing Purple Box around them, the I Love Meat T-Shirt represents their heavy involvement in the meat product community.

Further, in the analogy, the limburger cheese represents most of the games a gamer might play. All of those games “lose 60% of their players in their first month” just as the cheese smells after its first month. Also in the analogy Battleborn is represented by the bad meat. It also smelled after a month, just as Battleborn lost over 60% in its first month.

But the bad meat makes people sick, and that’s not good for the people eating it. And Battleborn can’t afford to lose over 60% of it’s players, because that’s not good for the people playing it.

The point of the analogy is to highlight then that pointing out that both do smell, and pointing out that both lost the same percentage of players, will elicit hostility from people, which this thread has. It doesn’t matter if the OP intended to be “pretentious, worthless, disruptive, or downright hostile”, perception is reality and that’s what the consequences of a post like that are going to be.

Also, I’d like to point out that it doesn’t matter if other games also lose 60% of their players in the first month, because 1) this isn’t a forum for other games and 2) Battleborn couldn’t afford to lose 60% of its players, regardless of whether other games did or not.

I’ll reiterate that knowing that Battleborn is like other games doesn’t give players who see 329 concurrent players on and are waiting for a queue or are dealing with the same team crushing them over and over again or keep running in to the same awful behaving group anything to go on. It’s great rhetoric, info for the sake of info when answers are needed.

And if your argument is that this info is for the developers, not for the players, then that falls flat. It won’t help the players sure, but at least the developers will know their game is like others, the developers already know. The developers know better than us how their game is performing, and their business knows better than us what to expect based on industry performance, platform performance, genre performance, and from their own historical performance.

The thing I’ll add this time is a caution: In an effort to keep the gloom and doom and naysayers at bay, don’t become apologists. Apologists are arguably worse in a situation like this than a naysayer. Remember, the naysayers still have enough passion and care enough to speak up and be in the conversation. Even if their perspective is negative, they still want things to get better. All an apologist does is apologize, which turns off the naysayers, creates disengagement, and eventually suffers the whole community.

If you really want to help Battleborn, do so by continuing to provide feedback on what improvements can be made to win players back, even if it’s just what your group of friends are telling you what they’d need to see before they’d be interested in playing again. Because they’re not telling GBX, but they’re telling you, and while the developers are very aware of how their game has performed, they have no idea what the players who aren’t here need from them to get them playing again.

If you want to go a step further, you can also start gathering up what has gotten better and sharing that with players that have stopped playing. Again, be wary here though, because if what’s gotten better isn’t interesting it may just become noise to others. And if what’s gotten worse was what they cared about more, like item or class nerfs or level changes, and they come back and try BB again, it may turn them off of the game for a long time. So if you are going to recruit, don’t do so haphazardly, as that isn’t helping either. And if in learning what someone you’d like to recruit is looking for you find now’s not the time to ask them to play BB again, at least share that for the developers to know as well.

Basically the best way to help Battleborn’s community is not to debate or apologize within the community, it’s to try to engage others in to the community as players or even fans, and to provide feedback to the developers on the challenges you encounter while trying to do so. That way they can aggregate that feedback and use it to effectively steer their game to something that will attract large amounts of players.

Not for the devs for people here. I’ve seen the drop talked about so much but never with context, so I wanted to address that being spread all over. Yes there is a drop but its not as bad as it looks since a big drop is typical with almost all AAA games.

The other one I talked about was the 10,000,000 vs 1,000 people kept saying which I used the basketball vs football analogy.

I’m hoping to make the conversation about the numbers a bit more honest.

Just adding context to the numbers being talked about, once again. There has been a lack of it.

See in this respect I completely disagree with you. It is as bad as it looks, because regardless of this context, it still has the same effect on how the game plays.

If this were a single player game or if after the drop there were still 10,000+ online, then I’d agree with you completely. But since the drop takes the population to such a low amount that it has a direct effect on gameplay, that context is also important.

To ignore such, or to speak as if ignorant to it, is dangerous. It’s dangerous because without also including that context, the statements can come off as one-sided and will undoubtedly elicit negative reactions from folks.

Yes, other games also have a big drop off after their release. But other games aren’t multiplayer focused affairs that started with a rather low player base before such a drop off. This isn’t true of any of the Borderlands games, nor is it true of most games as multiplayer focused games are in the minority in gaming.

Think of this like a statistical study. What was your strategy for selecting your sample population? Did your selection strategy model the problem you’re studying? In what ways did it not model your problem? What’s your confidence in the results of your study? How does this affect your margin of error?

There’s an old saying, there are three types of lies: lies, dam*ed lies, and statistics. This saying refers to the fact that when a statistical problem is approached, it’s always approached with bias and always lacks all of the information to make its resulting data pure. This is why good data and statistical analysis also includes this information with the data presented.

Presenting any data without that context is telling a lie, a statistical lie.

Here I can already point out several reasons for why the margin of error on your claim that Battleborn is like most other games is huge:

  • Your sample population is too small to be statistically significant (Only 3 samples)
  • Your selection strategy was highly biased (Only GBX titles)
  • Your selection strategy did not model the problem well (Only non-multiplayer focused games)
  • Your analysis was not normalized (All data was presented in its own measurements, no strategy was applied to make it consistent, i.e. player numbers on Borderlands secondary release instead of primary release, and the graphs are presented in raw numbers instead of percentages or other normalized means for direct comparison)

If the true goal is honesty, then in the pursuit of honesty offer the full statistical picture, perform good analysis, and present the data in good statistical context.

For instance, this data and the claim it supports has a high margin of error and thus should be taken with very low confidence.