Two-year special

And since we’re approaching the 2 years mark for the website, I figured I’d do a little special something and generate one big graphic with the whole 2-year range. So check it out.

A few things to notice, though:

  • Only the major games (in number of players) are included, plus their demos, making that 11 games. The last two lines (the ones without description) are Battlefield 2142 demo, and Battlefield 2 demo.
  • June 2005: the release of Battlefield 2 puts a sure dent on the online domination of Half-life 1 and 2. The funny thing is that, given time, HL1/2 gets its popularity back. My theory is that while many games went back to HL1/2 after a while, BF2 also gained popularity over time, making the game’s online penetration stable. As for HL1/2, it’s hard tor anyone to put our *the* game they’ve been used to, specially if it’s still wildly popular.
  • October 2006: the release of Battlefield 2142 is odd: the game gains popularity fast, but at the same time doesn’t immediately “steal” players from any other game (as has always happened in the past). The gamers who were playing BF2142 at the start where mostly new gamers (or gamers back from playing nothing), or games who spent more time online playing BF2142 on top of their other game of choice. Given time, this situation will probably stabilize (as it’s seem to be happening as the BF2/BF2142 fanbase is splitting).
  • November 2006: the Half-life 2 drop is attributed to the drop of Counter-Strike:Source players. If I had to guess, I’d say this is the initial backslash to the new dynamic weapon pricing. Given time, players will either come back, go to the original Counter-Strike, or try other games.
  • Despite being out of the spotlight, games like Unreal Tournament 20004 and Quake 3 still have a stable, devote fanbase. Games like Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory have actually been gaining popularity (even if very slowly). The same can be said for a few demos: the BF2 demo still have a lot of people playing it, and the BF2142 demo is going the same way.

I have previously posted a preview of this on Shacknews, so part of this post is a copy from that original one.

I’ll have some more in-depth analysis of some of the situations displayed by this graphic in the coming future.

2 Responses to “Two-year special”

  1. Tom Edwards Says:

    Nice work. Does anyone know what the recent HL1 dip and recovery is all about? The only thing I can think of is that Gamespy have been counting online CPL/CAL spectators as players, but that doesn’t cover the September fall in September.

  2. Zeh Says:

    Hey Tom, thanks.

    I don’t know what caused that drop on HL1, but I can tell you the drop was split between all mods – the fall is noticeable not only on CS but also on other mods such as DoD and TFC (there’s another graphic of the 2-year range as split by HL1 mods that I will publish on the website soon).

    Having spectators counted as players is a good theory, I have never thought of that. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s not the problem – it shouldn’t cover HLTV spectators as normal players as they come from other servers that usually aren’t public anyways, and just online for a few hours. Maybe the ‘cameras’ themselves do, though, but their number would be pretty low.

    On this specific case, I think there’s a number of theories to consider:

    1. Seasonal issues, like final school tests. On this case this drop is specific to HL1, so I’m not sure if that applies. Maybe if HL1 is more popular in US than in Europe (or vice versa).

    2. GameSpy issues. Sometimes GameSpy will drop a few servers from the range of servers they cover, only to start reading it back after a time. On this case the problem is too long (~2 months) and too gradual for that, so again I’m not sure if this applies.

    Probably this issue can be better understood by checking the number of servers against the number of players. If the number of servers has dropped, it’s probably cause number 2. If not, it’s another real mystery.

    I’ll investigate that in the future and try to generate a graphic containing the number of servers too. I’ve been puzzled by that hole for quite some time.

This website gathers data for various First Person Shooter games for PCs, and then build graphics with those numbers. This brings no answers, just questions. Where do we go from here?