Today is an incredibly exciting day. Do you know why? Today, we get to unravel the secrets of the gaming world by looking at through a lens of analysis instead of baseless conjecture. I have actually been very excited for quite a long time to be able to provide this information to you all, and to unravel its deepest secrets. As an aside, I work with statistics and data, in a very real way. I have several systems at my work with hundreds of thousands of records that I can use to try and mine out information from the data. My boss told me when I first started that one of the larger failings of courses in statistics is that analyzing the data is the last 5% of the project; the real bulk of the work is in collecting the information. So today, I get to that juicy five percent and get to find out information! What information? How long have I been collecting? Well...I have been collecting information starting on November 6th and ending December 30th. Every day I had it in my bookmarks to copy the results from Valve’s top 100 games by the current player count, which you can view
HERE (but don’t click just yet, it will be fun to see some stuff in the blog, I promise!)
And if you want to see the data I collected, it is available HERE
So, already, we have to talk about some of the flaws in this method. I am using current players at my time of sampling to determine a game’s rank. That is to say, 1 is the most popular game for the day, and 100 is the ‘least’ popular game (least being a very relative term considering the 1000’s of games for sale though). However, current players could wax and wane much more than peak players, so I am using peak players for some volume trending, which we will see later. Now, I tried to capture this data as soon as I checked my bookmarks on my computer, which for most Monday through Fridays would have been at about 5 PM. I think that the data may be a 48 hour period, but that timeframe should always be consistent. Weekends I tend to forget to check at the same time, and we also had 2 major holidays making my checks slightly inconsistent. There were even a few days that it slipped my mind completely! In addition, the holidays and the Steam sales will skew these stats in a horrible way, but they will provide some interesting details later, so I think the timing is just fine. It can also be neat to see how much a good sale affects a game! (protip...a lot) However, I still believe that the data is representative enough for what I want to show, so we will say that it is probably good enough. If it wasn't so bothersome to collect and analyze the data, I would be very curious to keep going with it, as there are some games I would love to see more on (Rust and Revengeance come to mind).
Also, one last side note before I get started: Anything that isn't Excel sucks. This makes me very sad. I tried to use Google Docs to analyze the data, but because it is cloud based it runs very slowly. In addition to that, the way that it creates charts is flat out terrible. It was unworkable. I would have done it on my work computer with Excel, but unfortunately, Docs are blocked as a site, so I couldn't move the data over. I ended up using OpenOffice, which is an open source office like product, meaning it is free. It has similar tools to Excel, but it just feels clunky...one of the biggest things I miss was being able to drag a range for a chart up and down the data set to change what the chart was showing, as that would let me see what the charts would look like for all 200 some games. I hate to say it, but when it comes to this kind of stuff, you really can't beat Excel. Who knew? Anyway....