Xfire has the capability to track players time in games of their choice. Though not perfect, it does give a glimpse of these players (people who load Xfire) favorite games.
As far as MMO's are concerned, I feel it can be used to do more in respect to players and times.We can also track sub numbers for MMO's in a general capacity. This would be more in line of "paying" commercial based games, by either a large distributor or game developer.
So, a while back, I posted an article (2008) which took a noted news story about the current World of Warcraft population in the US and created a formula to help see how many players can be calculated in all other MMO's based on that formula. What happened is a pretty close and accurate picture of players in various MMO's, and since that time I still have been able to use that formula to this day. Check out the article to see a more in depth discussion of that calculation.
This really took flight when last week Cryptic noted just how many people were playing Star Trek Online. When I saw this, I thought it was time again to try the formula. What happened was a pretty scary comparison that was almost completely accurate to their posted numbers. Cryptic noted a 100k player base. I did my formula and got 96k almost 97k. This of course was based on a Wednesday reading. Sunday numbers are usually more accurate as this IS the busiest day for all MMO's. So, I thought, maybe we need to really do an in depth analysis using Sunday numbers.
Now, I never claimed that the numbers are 100%, accurate, They are a pretty close representation though of what has either been discussed by news pundits or forum goers for total subs of some MMO's. And if a company ever announces their numbers, as seen by the Cryptic count for STO, it can garner a pretty darn accurate calculation.
Since a lot of companies do not release this data, the "Xfire Game" has really become a good way to see just how well this works.
Today, I will do a run of the Sunday count for Xfire for several games being discussed lately. I pick these for the very reason we need a tool like Xfire and my calc. These companies have not, or do not release their numbers. If they do, it is rare.
As well, I will add Aion, as eventually we WILL get numbers (NCSoft does their numbers about once or twice a year), and of course STO, since we did get a report recently.
Lets see how they fare.
Star Trek OnlineWe will start here. As we KNOW how many are playing thanks to Cryptic's recent announcement of over 100k players, it will be a good jumping off point to see how our calc is working.
The calc rate is multiple the number of Xfire users x 120.05. Using the calc system we see - 980 x 120.05 = 117,649 subs. Over 100k. Interesting.
AionNext, I want to show a game that we know has a large population based on reports from NCSoft. Now, of course, most forum goers or blog gurus call this game a failure. I would beg to differ, and I believe Xfires data shows this.
Our calc system states...3864 x 120.05 = 463,873 subs. Basically almost as much as Lineage 2 had been stated to have at one point and time (over 600k in 2007). And as always since it's launch, in the top 10 on Xfire. Now, I am sorry, but this does NOT take into account how many of those subs are gold sellers...
Lord of the Rings OnlineOver and over it has been stated that LOTRO is a good "200k" sub game. I for one believe it, and Xfire really corroborates this.
Calc says? 1780 x 120.05 = 213,689 subs. Still a good sub rate and steady. Wish Turbine would just come out and tell us. For me, I think a company should be proud of that many players in todays MMO market. Since I have been doing these calcs, LOTRO has consistently done this number of players...except when they release an expansion, then there is a jump.
Age of ConanA lot of discussion has been traveling the blogosphere as well as the forums that AoC has progressed beyond the old days, and is a more stable game. Some servers look busy according to the forumites, and Funcom has been able to keep it afloat (though financials have said otherwise). How do the Xfire stats look?
677 x 120.05 = 81,274 subs.
If we read the report for Funcom in their financials, they state "stabilization". This Xfire data corroborates that. They continue to hold this area in the Xfire ratings AND have stabilized in subs if Xfire is to be trusted.
Warhammer OnlineMy new favorite. Recently Bioware has made comments about the Mythic division and how WAR is actually "profitable". How many subs does a profitable game need? What does Xfire say...
621 x 120.05 = 74,551 subs. Could it be possible that with 4 servers and 50k plus players, any MMO could be profitable? Seeing Age of Conan has held to this area and is still afloat, I may not doubt it now. Especially if we watch Age of Conan with the expansion and new financials report. How will these numbers increase? I will watch these two games closely. They are thought to be case studies of failures for their time. Yet, I also feel they are also the most improved games over time, unlike some others on this list.
Dungeons & Dragons OnlineThis is a unique case, and I want it here to show how Xfire can still help us figure out what is considered a paying customer, compared to a freebie player. Recently Turbine has stated that they have "1 Meeelllion players" (note the pinky held next to my cheek as I say this..). In so many words; Turbine. The leader of misleading statements.
If we read further into the press release this came from, we also see these words..."paid subscriber base has more than doubled"....AHA. DDO at one point...before the "Free to Play" model, was noted as either having 25k or 50k players subbing. What does Xfire say they have now?
930 x 120.05 = 111,647 subs. So, 1 million players, yes, but I still say 100k plus subscribers paying a monthly fee. Now, this also does not take into account how many people pay for extras (and are not subbed). I still will say it. This hybrid model that DDO has is truly the way other games with low subs should go. We are guaranteed that Turbine is turning some very nice profits right now.
Everquest 2I always wish to throw this one in there. This game is hard to pigeon hole, because we hardly see or hear about this game, and I always wonder what SOE needs to keep a game afloat. I always want to include Vanguard also (to show what a real failure looks like)...but, for now, EQ2 is good, as we know they have a dedicated playerbase, but not a huge sub lot (at least based on what we know and see).
293 x 120.05 = 35,175 subs. Now, is this really profitable? Has the game been out long enough to make back it's money? I guess it does help that they force players to repurchase EVERY expansion every time they launch a new one (almost 40 bucks a box every 6-8 months). Maybe all along EQ2 has made it's money off of the two-boxers and those who purchase new expansions at launch. For now, low player rates, but dedicated players keep EQ2 afloat.
The argument I keep hearing is Xfire cannot be used as a valid tool for these numbers. I will continue to disagree, as these numbers clearly show a lot of matching data with what we know about these games. We can never be 100% sure, but if I need to know how well a game is doing, I can look at Xfire and get a rough guesstimate.
The Calc I have continues to show some interesting data to this day, and as long as we have this tool, I will continue to try and use it to help me see how well these games are doing.
If you are ever worried about if you should play a game depending on if there are enough players to group with, etc, then try Xfire and see if it is doing well there.