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Reader Comments (66)

Posted: May 7th 2009 6:21PM (Unverified) said

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I've been thinking and looking into it some more. These Might and Magic numbers cannot be correct. The multiplayer no longer has any servers, so that would assume people were playing twice as much single player might and magic as they were playing combined single player and multiplayer versions of hl2.exe.

Apologies in doubting the findings of researchers and statisticians, but something is dodgy there. The sample must be off somehow, as I'm completely sure that does not represent gaming trends across the country.

The only sensible explanation I can see here is an outrageous amount of copies of Heroes given out for some bizarre region in the area where the sample was taking place. I can't think of any other reason why the numbers would be so abnormally high. The single player campaign is 6 hours long, there is no multiplayer, it is statistically incredibly unlikely that it would outdo a huge amount of multiplayer games.
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Posted: May 7th 2009 11:24PM (Unverified) said

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*looks around guiltily*

I must admit, I've been playing a lot of Dark Messiah lately. I'm on my third play-through with a new character build. Actually, the game surprised me. I picked it up on a Steam special - pretty much on a whim. What little marketing I'd seen previously had led me to believe that the game was not something I'd enjoy.

When the special came up, I tried the demo. Then I bought it right away and I've been playing it every week since then :) Maybe there's more folks like me out there. Who knows?
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Posted: May 7th 2009 6:15PM (Unverified) said

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You've horribly misread this data. This is a list of the most played- by people who play them- games and says nothing of their relative popularity.

One million people playing WoW for an average of 8 hours a day and One person playing DMoMM 16 hours a day doesn't mean DMoMM is more popular. It just means that DMoMMs 'playerbase' plays for twice as long.

What this tells me is that there are a lot of AFKers in second life. And... I can't explain Dark Messiah. The absence of games like The Sims can be explained by the fact that that is a casual game and 'casual gamers' don't tend to poopsock...

Posted: May 7th 2009 6:30PM J Brad Hicks said

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This justifies the amount of coverage this blog gives to SL, which had always seemed excessive to me before. But I am still entirely baffled by one thing. What in the heck is there to DO in Second Life for 13 hours PERIOD, let alone 13 hours a week? I spent a couple of evenings poking around in it, and never once found anything to DO other than stand around admiring other people's art. And even that wasn't all that impressive. Seriously, can we get an article about not "environments" in SL, not "protests" in SL, but *activities* in SL? Because the last time I checked, I must not have been looking in the right place, because I couldn't find any.

Posted: May 7th 2009 11:28PM (Unverified) said

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Well, I work in SL, myself. That may not be atypical, but it isn't unusual. There's a number of people I don't get much chance to spend time with (like my daughter who is on other side of the world) whom I spend time with via SL also.

Plus I've got this big creative project on that I'm working on, of which SL is a part. Other people are doing their own things. A lot of them are playing games or otherwise role-playing, I imagine, but I can't speak for them.
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Posted: May 7th 2009 6:31PM (Unverified) said

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I get a kick out how everyone skews the stats to suit their own POV. The arrogance of RC5583 is telling and indicates someone who has a future on the President's staff in the White House.

I know it is nearly impossible for people who frequent this site to step back and look at these numbers objectively but there is no reason to doubt them and our humble coorespondent did not even come close to trying to shape this into anything but what the numbers tell us. Good reporting and quite interesting stuff.

Now for the rest of you -- go ahead and continue to pick them apart and you'll find your MMO-of-choice still doesn't see their numbers shift.

Posted: May 7th 2009 6:35PM MrGutts said

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180k is a pretty large sample of folks.

Consider when CNN / FOX / NBC / ABC perform a poll it's only like a 1000 people and they go onto generalize the whole population with those 1000 people. Fox normally polls all the Republicans and CNN and the rest poll mostly Demarcates or is it the other way around. :P

Posted: May 7th 2009 7:17PM mitchgant said

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If those are the results Neilsen is getting, I think it is time to expand and try to diversify their polling base. Those numbers are whacked. While they may VERY CLEARLY represent their 180,000 households, but it would seem highly likely that those households do not very clearly represent the rest of 'Merica.

I'm sure I could find 180,000 "representative" households in parts of America that stand lockstep behind the GOP, but to extrapolate that to the entire country as a whole would be ridic (especially looking at DC these days).

Also, SL needs to be taken off the list. Not a game. VR platform, not a game.

Posted: May 7th 2009 8:11PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with the comment that SL is not a game. It might be an experimental business tool, a 3D chat room with avatars, a virtual reality, and a toy* but, from my limited understanding of SL, it is not game.

Considering this site has a tagline of "Daily news about MMOs", discussion about SL has a place here. I would not expect coverage on SL if this site's tagline was "Daily news about MMOGs", however.

*: Games have standardized rules expected to be followed by all players and they have goals. Toys do not. Toys are just meant to be "something to play with."
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Posted: May 7th 2009 11:34PM (Unverified) said

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Perhaps it's that the 180K households don't clearly represent the readers who come to Massively?

When this story was handed to me, you could have knocked me over with a feather, but it *is* plausible. SL users over 25 are highly engaged with the most engaged being the 45+ age group - and particularly when you get into retirees (a *lot* of the people I know in SL are retirees - I wonder if their grandkids even know their grandparents spend so much time on SL). So, surprising data, but credible to us.

Nielsen's methodologies are also pretty solid, generally. They're well-respected and have been doing this forever. I don't recall the last time they made an error that caused a significant bump in their results.
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Posted: May 7th 2009 7:28PM madeleen said

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These are interesting results.

And considering all the protesting, I'm given the impression that SL is the average gamer's dirty little secret.

LOL

Posted: May 7th 2009 8:25PM Dblade said

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Yeah, I don't see this. I'm guessing what they do is just pool the total minutes for all 180k people and then pool the total minutes metered on each game.

What they don't do I'm betting is publish the real number of specific players per game, causing a small amount of players who play a lot of time per week to skew the survey. And you see it in games 2-4. Low total minutes played, but an abnormally high minutes per week average.

They need to publish the real numbers of gamers per game, witholding that is casting doubts on this survey at least to me.

Posted: May 7th 2009 8:42PM TheJackman said

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Lol a little behind check the TMP% 46.710 vs 3.206! And still 2nd life is not a game! its more like a vchat box!

Posted: May 7th 2009 9:42PM (Unverified) said

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Hehe I second Dale Innis and Madeleen :) Why so much anger because of the puny 15.5 millions registered Second Life users actually use their highly creative virtual world *far more* than, say, any other game? Just make it as a goal for yourself: "from now on, I'll play [insert favourite MMORPG name here] more hours per day to beat those dastardly Second Life idiots". Nothing like having goals and objectives, right? :)

BTW, the table on Nielsen's blog is sadly missing a column, "Share", which is mentioned at the bottom, but does not show up. It might have been edited out. Granted, when adding up the "share", I'm sure the value would be way over 100% — as Madeleen mentioned, most people will be playing more than one game, and spending some time on Second Life too — so those values might actually be a bit misleading (at least if expressed as a percentage).

Still, we *know* there are 11 million registered users in WoW, of which almost all are very active (in the sense that they pay Blizzard), while there are 15.5 million registered users in Second Life, of which about 10% log in "regularly" (for a certain value of "regular", which is taken by Linden Lab to mean "more than twice over a time period"). So by taking a "snapshot" over a month, I would expect the actual number of WoW vs. SL users to be about 10:1. The point that Tateru makes, however, is that SL users will log in to SL for longer periods of time than other types of users — e.g. gamers and social site visitors.

Posted: May 7th 2009 10:25PM (Unverified) said

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Every time I hear 'there is nothing to do in SL' I shudder at just how much that says about the significant number of people who feel that way. It reminds me of the kid who say, "I'm bored" during the Summer.

We aren't really that socially and creatively bankrupt are we? Do we have to have another boss to defeat around the corner to not be bored? To me THAT defined boredom and was the reason I left after my WoW trial.

My good real life friends, who are WoWers, tell my I missed the point, which I think means I didn't meet a lot of people and get into raids together. That could be very fun I imagine, the sense of collaboration toward a very ominous goal, a bigger boss. I don't suppose talking to people is entirely boring to those who play WoW. In fact, it has become the social vehicle for my friends who recently met their guild friend in real life for the first time. I can accept that WoW is great for them. But I can't help thinking how much richer their interactions could be with the additional freedom SL affords.

Spending time getting to know cultures, exploring, goofing off, shopping, listening to good music, even live music, with like minded fans is less appealing to them. Role play involving language skills and imagination probably comes off as silly or too taxing (and I don't mean the sex rp).

Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of idiots in SL. And there are a lot of social connections in WoW that are under-appreciated by SLers, I'll bet. (I know kids that actually collaborate on homework over voice and chat in WoW.)

The part I hope isn't true is that the number of people really living up to the tee-shirt logos and tag lines that read 'entertain me' could be increasing.

Posted: May 7th 2009 11:27PM LaughingTarget said

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Neilson Ratings aren't a truly random sample. Because people can reject having their usage tracked, you can only say that these percentages are representative of those who actually accept surveys and ratings in their home. A random sample is the only valid sample in any statistical universe and to be truly random, each and every member of the universe must have an equal chance of being selected and recorded. Neilson Ratings do not follow this rule because of that rejection factor.

Posted: May 8th 2009 12:12AM madeleen said

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Maybe...

But then why would all the advertising companies pay attention to Neilson ratings all these years?

In fact the lives of our television shows depend on their ratings.

So how could they drop the ball so badly, if they did, on game usage?
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Posted: May 9th 2009 9:37AM LaughingTarget said

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Who knows. This is a new thing for them, the recording methodology could be different and they'll need to figure that out.
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Posted: May 8th 2009 12:41AM karnisov said

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what exactly was the method of data collection? the nielsen site is fairly vague about how data is collected. does it require software installation? if that is the case, its entirely reasonable that their numbers are off because alot of gamers probably wouldn't let them "install spyware on my box", leaving you with the goob demographic. secondly, because nielsen is selling this data to advertisers, you cannot completely rule out payola. linden lab slipping nielsen a few ducks to buff up their numbers so advertisers will want to be in second life? we've seen alot of execs leave linden lately. people don't leave if the grass is green. i smell a fish, that is past its expiration date. lol.

Posted: May 8th 2009 1:36AM (Unverified) said

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The South Park World of Warcraft episode is on. Maybe next year there will be a South Park Second Life episode. It would certainly be more entertaining than a South Park Eve Online

:)

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