36% of all games registered on Steam have never been played – report

By Brenna Hillier
16 April 2014 05:59 GMT

Steam users are familiar with the regret of purchases that never get played; according to a new report, 36% of all Steam games fall into this category.


Ars Technica used a random sample of the approximately 172 million publicly accessible Steam profile pages to generate this information, scraping data from up to 90,000 profiles per day for “about two months”.

The site turned up plenty of other interesting facts. The most owned game on Steam is free-to-play MOBA Dota 2 with 25 million owners, which is pretty good for a game that was invite-only until a few months ago.

Team Fortress 2 is next with 20 million owners – another free-to-play title, it’s worth noting – with the numbers dropping off sharply thereafter.

If you look at the same list of games but pay attention to player figures, it’s interesting to note that Half-Life 2: Lost Coast has not been played by 10.7 million of its 12.77 million owners. Half-life 2: Deathmatch has a similar stat, having been played by just 2.8 million of its 11.02 million owners. Both games are free with various Half-life bundles.

When you just look at total player numbers, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 still reign supreme, and once you look at total hours devoted to each game, the two heavyweights are joined by Counter-strike: Source and Counter-strike. Dota 2 has accumulated so many hours of play time that Ars couldn’t even fit it on the same chart as the other games.

In terms of total hours per player, though, Football Manager 2014 is top dog at about 100 median hours, with Skyrim in second place and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 just behind.

We didn’t want to just repost Ars Technica’s full set of charts, so it’s really worthwhile clicking through to see the full results – as well as for a more complete discussion of how the site gathered its data.

Thanks, games.on.net.

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