Well, it looks like there was quite a bit of discussion on my Xfire stats vs subs post the other day.
Tipa at West Karana took it up over on her blog about how the numbers may be "questionable" for certain games, like EQ, EQ2 and even WoW.
Example: When I did a calc for WoW, I noted that they have a new sub rate of over 6 million players. This is difficult to fathom, as most of the stats have been mainly for the "West" and does not include any Asian or Persian countries.
Could WoW really have 6 million in the US alone?
No. I do not believe this. Just like my EQ2 numbers may also be misinformed.
There does seem to be a commonality in all games that are older and numbers being skewed somehow. For example, I do not question the stats for STO, WAR or AoC...not even Aion. Yet, all of these games have launched recently. EQ2? WoW? At least 5 years old.
So, could age have some factor in numbers being skewed or even 100% wrong?
Could there be a recurring theme of actual data and recent launches compared to numbers and older titles?
Lets take another game we know about that is a recent launch and see how it jibes with the Xfire data.
Hmm. 8 players on Xfire. Now, doesn't this add another conundrum to the stats issue. Could this be due to the fact it is mostly "younger" players whose computer has been set up by a parent, thus why would that parent load Xfire. As well, is the Free Realms player a "pro" at gaming or even understand or NEED Xfire? Or does it have something to do with the free part?
What I think we may need to note is there is going to be a select group of games that we can track this way, and that not ALL titles will work. Many factors will go into playing the Xfire game.
Take this example of how issues may affect our numbers here. Just look at STO. It was but a few days ago there was a drop in numbers, almost to the point of being zeroed out. Seems some outage on the server or with Xfire caused this problem. So, for those days, my numbers would have been wonky. But, as we can see, this week STO has normalized again.
If I continue to play with this, we may have to accept the fact that the game must be a "commercial" subs based game (which throws Free Realms, Runes of Magic, etc, out), must be less than 3-4 years old (I would say at least launched in 2007 or later, thus no more EQ2 or WoW for example) and the data has to be consistent for the week; No weird outages or buggy reporting by Xfire for the whole week. Finally, as a little fun, I will only report on some games if they decide to do an Xfire contest to see how many people are logging in due to prizes or giveaways. Funcom and Turbine have been notorious for this in the past, and it really makes the numbers wonky.
I really think this will be fun to watch for NEW launches. I would like to see how some games do when first opened. Final Fantasy XIV launches this year (according to most rumors...). How will they do here? Right now FFXI does about 30k subs according to the Xfire game. Yet, it does not meet our criteria, thus these numbers are most likely skewed.
So, for now, all we can see in the Xfire game is a bit of fun with some newer games that hopefully gives us a glimpse of how well they are doing.