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The official Xfire market data has been released, showing playing trends and hours played for users across multiple games. The most fascinating thing about the market chart is that the original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is still being played more than Diablo III...say what?
Xfire sent some chart data our way which gives a rough estimate of how many players are playing and for how many hours. For those of you who think that the data isn't important, keep in mind that it's the same data used by DFC Intelligence that helps gauge the overall market value of the video game industry. The data sampling from the Xfire stats indicate that as of May 21st, according to an Xfire representative "Diablo III usage peaked, with 11 percent of Xfire’s user base playing the game", however as of June 26th, "Usage fell to five percent of total Xfire users." Ouch.
You can check out the hours played and the amount of users tracked for Diablo III since April 2nd.
David Cole, CEO, DFC Intelligence commented about the charts and the declining numbers for Diablo III, saying...
"D3 is still on track to set a record in terms of total gameplay hours this year,” ... "Despite declining stats, which are typical of post-launch periods, usage of Diablo III is still quite high 45 days after its release."
I don't know if I agree with Cole on that. Modern Warfare, a game that released back in 2007, is now ahead of Diablo III according to the charts and Modern Warfare is long past the launch day novelty. It is possible that CoD 4 is still trucking along since it was the last Call of Duty that supported mods, dedicated servers and open-support for PC, which might explain its continued popularity.
As for such a steep decline in Diablo III, it could be a number of things and we'll completely forego the anti-consumerist trends. There is a passing note in the support for Diablo III that third-party software like Xfire may have to be disabled to run the game with better performance. There's also the recent comments from Blizzard that players are dropping off fast due to the lack of end-game support, which could play a huge factor for player retention, especially for casual gamers who may have bought into the game after being dedicated to an MMO like World of Warcraft.
The above statement about the lack of end-game content is insinuated by the CEO of Xfire, Malcolm CasSelle, who states that...
“The Diablo III user decline shown in these stats is greater for hours played than players overall,” ... “This suggests that many users are continuing to log in, but are playing with less intensity as the launch-day novelty wears off.”
I'm curious what the stats will look like three months from now when the game finally levels off with a more balanced player base. I'm also curious how this will affect Blizzard's Real-Money Auction House, which they only profit from based on real-money trades. A smaller player base would definitely eat into the profits.
For now, the game has slightly more serious problems attached to the services that overshadow it, such as the always-on and the RMAH and that's not to mention the legal trouble from other countries. Blizzard will probably want to deal with the serious offenses first before trying to figure out how to get more people playing Diablo III than Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
You can learn more about Xfire by paying a visit to the Official Website.