Inside the Numbers

My biggest issue with the Buzz Index is how it games that started out looking really good — and therefore gained a lot of attention on Twitter and Facebook — could rank higher than they should based simply on the numbers they accumulated around launch. That’s almost always the busiest time for a game’s PR and likely when most people will be turned on to the game. While I do present the month-by-month risers, those represent a very small snapshot in time, one that can change drastically from one month to the next.

I first pulled Buzz Index numbers on December 15. I last pulled the Facebook and Twitter numbers yesterday, August 1. That’s a full seven and a half months, and today, I’d like to look at how games have risen (or fallen) in that time to see how well their changes match up with their overall standing. It stands to reason that someone who followed a game in that time is new to the game — whether they’re actually playing or just interested — and isn’t just someone who subscribed when the hype was high around launch and stayed on after because they forgot, or were too lazy to, unfriend or unfollow. It might give us a better indicator of what games actually are growing and who’s growing the fastest.

The first column in the chart below indicates the top 25 games in overall Facebook Likes, counting only games that launched prior to December 2011, so as to avoid that “new game” rush. The second column includes games with those same criteria, ranked by changes in their FB Like totals from Dec. 15 to Aug. 1.

Rank Game Total Game Change
1 World of Warcraft 4,382,898 World of Warcraft 2,157,142
2 Runescape 902,059 Fiesta Online 453,650
3 MapleStory 837,627 Runescape 291,127
4 Fiesta Online 703,650 AdventureQuest Worlds 223,547
5 APB: Reloaded 523,615 DC Universe Online 127,540
6 DC Universe Online 439,092 MapleStory 126,661
7 AdventureQuest Worlds 391,824 Lineage 2 87,240
8 Wizard101 365,712 Wizard101 75,135
9 Aion 354,111 Runes of Magic 58,545
10 Lineage 2 343,761 Aion 57,791
11 Rift 276,480 Star Trek Online 47,837
12 Lord of the Rings Online 249,774 Rusty Hearts 37,849
13 Eve Online 161,675 Battlestar Galactica Online 35,280
14 Guild Wars 154,428 Lord of the Rings Online 34,771
15 Vindictus 147,152 Forsaken World 33,166
16 Star Trek Online 139,277 APB: Reloaded 26,524
17 Runes of Magic 137,817 Guild Wars 26,030
18 Battle of the Immortals 134,929 Perfect World 22,197
19 Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising 124,221 Eve Online 22,098
20 Forsaken World 120,642 Monkey Quest 19,288
21 Battlestar Galactica Online 119,772 Dungeons & Dragons Online 19,114
22 Rusty Hearts 95,777 Battle of the Immortals 16,403
23 Dungeons & Dragons Online 95,159 Vindictus 16,041
24 Rappelz 92,409 Rappelz 15,319
25 Jade Dynasty 91,040 Final Fantasy XI 12,204

For the most part, the two charts aren’t too different. APB: Reloaded, which has been up and down with Facebook, is understandably near the bottom of the second chart, but what’s most amazing to me is to see several very old games — five+ years or more — still bringing in new people, and at a rate that makes them among the best in the industry. These include Eve Online, LOTRO, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Final Fantasy XI, Runescape, and Guild Wars. Oh, and if you’re not yet believing John Smedley when he says DC Universe Online has been wildly successful since going F2P… well, start believing.

So how about Twitter? Using the same criteria, here’s what we get:

Rank Game Total Game Change
1 World of Warcraft 226,794 World of Warcraft 60,164
2 AdventureQuest Worlds 56,984 AdventureQuest Worlds 19,831
3 Runescape 41,944 Runescape 16,162
4 Lord of the Rings Online 33,089 Lord of the Rings Online 8,457
5 DC Universe Online 30,476 Guild Wars 8,158
6 Rift 27,880 DC Universe Online 8,020
7 MapleStory 26,423 Eve Online 7,581
8 Eve Online 22,744 Star Trek Online 6,013
9 Wizard101 20,309 Wizard101 5,195
10 Guild Wars 19,319 MapleStory 4,101
11 Final Fantasy XIV 14,681 Aion 3,049
12 Aion 13,496 Final Fantasy XIV 2,191
13 Star Trek Online 13,094 City of Heroes 1,879
14 APB: Reloaded 8,305 Lineage 2 1,842
15 Final Fantasy XI 7,596 Final Fantasy XI 1,408
16 Rappelz 7,483 Battlestar Galactica Online 1,258
17 City of Heroes 6,244 Dungeons & Dragons Online 1,243
18 Fiesta Online 5,598 APB: Reloaded 983
19 Lineage 2 5,455 Perfect World 972
20 Dungeons & Dragons Online 5,335 EverQuest 940
21 EverQuest II 5,217 EverQuest II 917
22 Age of Conan 4,458 Age of Conan 758
23 Allods Online 4,205 Monkey Quest 664
24 Battlestar Galactica Online 3,995 Allods Online 550
25 Perfect World 3,807 Forsaken World 524

First of all, it’s amazing how much more attention newer games get. Perfect World is #37 on the overall Twitter charts, which includes new and unreleased games. The #1 game in most new followers is Guild Wars 2 (85,321), followed closely behind by Star Wars: The Old Republic (82,730). World of Warcraft is #3, and PlanetSide 2 is #4 (35,947). All are in the top 7 overall, with The Elder Scrolls Online sitting at #5 after just three months.

There are still a number of older games on both charts, though perhaps the extra thousand or so followers for either EverQuest isn’t that significant. Still, all of these charts might disprove the notion, which I voiced in a Gamebreaker hit the other day, that “everyone who will play World of Warcraft has already played World of Warcraft.” While the Facebook change is misleading, as explained earlier, that’s still about 600,000 FB fans and 60,000 on Twitter who are choosing to follow the game for the first time. According to Wikipedia, Facebook grows at the rate of about 100 million new users every 200 days, which roughly accounts for the 7 1/2 months covered here, so maybe these gains just represent the small portion of new FB users who have been playing WoW for a long time.

Finally, just for fun, here are the month-by-month breakdowns of two other highly anticipated games, one that launched right around when I started this and another that’s yet to come out. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions:

Date GW2 Facebook GW2 Twitter SWTOR FB SWTOR Twitter
Dec. 15 246,937 38,901 416,781 102,197
Jan. 15 254,119 41,895 1,119,935 148,229
Feb. 15 268,975 46,350 1,691,542 162,050
Mar. 15 415,161 72,858 1,856,605 169,293
Apr. 15 453,585 86,204 1,912,242 181,592
Apr. 30 483,209 99,490 2,000,940 184,088
May 31 518,663 108,829 2,058,787 183,969
June 30 543,618 115,977 2,090,476 185,330
July 31 579,079 124,222 2,100,071 184,927
Total Change 332,142 85,321 1,683,290 82,730
Last 3 Months 95,870 24,732 99,131 839
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One Response to Inside the Numbers

  1. Simon says:

    Surely the biggest issue should be it is largely meaningless, takeTwitter for example, virtually no normal person uses it, it is simply those who want to self-promote, promote their busniess/product, which is why the vast majority of Twitter accounts show no activity and a few percent of users are responsible for the vast majority of the tweets.

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