Maybe I'm just a nerd who's looking for any justification out there as to why he took a 9am "Statistical Methods of Psychology" course in college, but damnit, I think numbers are interesting (ooooh). As a corollary to that (ahhhh), I think that all video game developers should treat their games in the style of Bungie and Valve : with raw, detailed statistical analyses of even the most minute of details.
I've been enjoying Valve's hardware surveys as of late. They're an awesome way to get a snapshot of what's important to the gaming community -- although the latest survey's one-million users aren't necessarily reflective of everygamerontheplanet , I'm pretty confident that a survey of that magnitude can tell us a pretty good deal about what's going on hardware-wise. In this case, nobody seems to run SLI, even more of nobody seems to run Crossfire, and nearly as many nobodies as the first example game on DirectX10-compatible platforms. Yikes.
You can check out all the fun results for yourself. Although the survey I'm referencing ended August 2007, there's a new survey that just started a few days ago. Every website under the sun seems to be offering an article right now that directly compares the newest survey against its direct predecessor, but I think that's rather worthless. After all, the current-running survey from around 130,000 users at the time of this post. The previous survey had over one million samples, making comparing the two a rather pointless exercise at this stage o' the game.
Even more interesting, however, are Valve's statistics for Half Life 2: Episode Two . Criticism of the game aside, it's pretty neat to see details like average total time spent playing, average session, et cetera. Check out the graphs, and you'll note that people have beaten the game in anywhere from 2.5 (!??!?!) to 10+ hours -- that's one heck of a difficulty curve. That, or some people are just really enjoying (or hating) the scenery.
I also like the Achievements tab -- apparently nobody like sending the game's garden gnome into space (an epic task, for sure). It's awesome enough that Valve is jumping on the achievement bandwagon with its titles. And now, you can see just how 'leet you really are. Seriously, check these stats out; they're geeky fun.
As it stands, 0% of Maximum PC Associate Editors have played Half Life 2: Episode Two. However, 100% of that sampled group loved the crap out of Portal, and enjoyed themselves some moist, delicious cake. Yum.