A free to play DayZ/Minecraft mashup is Steam's most popular 2014 game
March 9, 2015 6:50 AM   Subscribe

What is the most popular Steam game of 2014? The answer may surprise you, as it's a free to play game made by sixteen year old Nelson Sexton. (In totally unsurprising news, the game with the most hours played per user is Football Manager 2015.)
posted by MartinWisse (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's worth noting that according to its Wiki, Deadzone is based on The Infestation: Survivor Stories (which is the renamed version of WarZ), a game that is infamous for sharing lots of elements with DayZ.

Can't parse. Is this an actual article on a real gaming news site? It seems so...unpolished. Still, the game itself seems interesting, and the idea that anyone can be a game developer now? Wow.

They mention a "kids mmo" where kids design other mmos? I gotta read more about that too.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:58 AM on March 9, 2015


Our household has thousands of hours logged into Football Manager simply because it's turn-based. You can leave it on all day and just take a turn now and then as the fancy strikes.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:59 AM on March 9, 2015


Oh nevermind. WarZ and DayZ are different things. I am out of it.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:00 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a testament to the breadth of the modern gaming scene that I had never heard of Unturned before reading this article.

Obviously it's pretty easy to decide to DL a free game, but I wonder if the free to play stuff like that and Robocraft is so popular partially because the larger publishers really don't make games for kids anymore. The AAA people decided to go after a certain adultish male demographic only because they were the most reliable buyers and the slack had to be picked up somewhere.

Does Valve get money somehow from offering F2P games? They must, right? Obviously they're not getting their usual 30% from sales.
posted by selfnoise at 7:05 AM on March 9, 2015


Gaming, where your proper nouns are all either incredibly similar to each other, some multi-coloned mess or both.
posted by Artw at 7:05 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The 3 year old Crusader Kings 2 averages 99 hours per person, which seems ludicrously low to me.

(Introduced to me to the determent of work and family by Rustic Etruscan in this thread)
posted by shothotbot at 7:12 AM on March 9, 2015


Oh nevermind. WarZ and DayZ are different things. I am out of it.

Yes.

Once upon a time there was ArmaII, a somewhat hardcore military first person shooter, for whom somebody made DayZ, a zombie mod in which you arrive naked on an island infested by zombies and other players and have to survive.

That proved mildly popular so somebody else made a cash-in game called WarZ, which was so godawful it was kicked off Steam, got renamed, got cloned in turn as Deadzone, which finally served as inspiration for Unturned, together with a large dose of Minecraft.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:15 AM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


This should be the place where people suggest games. For instance, I avoid Crusader Kings 2 because I'm scared it will eat my soul.

Instead I play Elder Scrolls Online very, very sparingly. :-)
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:15 AM on March 9, 2015


The 3 year old Crusader Kings 2 averages 99 hours per person, which seems ludicrously low to me.

I think a lot of people boot this up after getting it in a bundle, root around a little, throw up their hands in bewilderment, and close it.

I think I have about 30 hours in it, despite hating strategy games. Mainly because the game makes it so much fun to be incompetant.

By the way, if you are the strange sort of person who loves rare achievements this game is perfect. Achievements only kick in if you're playing Ironman, and most people don't know to even turn it on, so they're all rare. Plus I have an achievement for getting 3 popes at once!
posted by selfnoise at 7:18 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Only 2014 game I bought on these lists was Shadows or Mordor, probably because I have over 1000hrs on both Kerbal Space Program and Terraria.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:22 AM on March 9, 2015


The 3 year old Crusader Kings 2 averages 99 hours per person, which seems ludicrously low to me.

I think a lot of people boot this up after getting it in a bundle, root around a little, throw up their hands in bewilderment, and close it.


Good guess. I bought way back when and have a bit over 8 hours in, ALL of which is me installing it, starting it up, not really making it all the way through a tutorial and uninstalling it a couple of weeks later.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:25 AM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


That proved mildly popular so somebody else made a cash-in game called WarZ, which was so godawful it was kicked off Steam, got renamed, got cloned in turn as Deadzone, which finally served as inspiration for Unturned, together with a large dose of Minecraft.

Incidentally, the the maker of WarZ's most "famous" previous project is probably Big Rigs: Over The Wheel Racing, known for being just really really bad. Alex Navarro actually revisited it last year for AGDQ.
posted by kmz at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, pretty big heads up from that article. For some reason the data doesn't include DOTA 2. I'm pretty sure that "Steam's most popular 2014 game" is DOTA 2.
posted by selfnoise at 7:38 AM on March 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


The 3 year old Crusader Kings 2 averages 99 hours per person, which seems ludicrously low to me.

Does Steam show this data publicly anywhere? I'm really curious how my activity stacks up against the mean.

I think the game I've put the most time in overall (according to Steam, anyway, I can't speak to anything prior) would be X3:Terran Conflict. That game is massive. I've logged somewhere between 200 and 300 hours on it and am about 3/4 of the way through one of the five or so campaigns. I gave up after I got stuck in a mission with the wrong kind of capital ship and reverting to a point where I could make the right decision about what ship to buy would have added another 40 or 50 hours to my playtime.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:44 AM on March 9, 2015


I, on the other hand, shall go after multiple gaming segments and innovatively mash up genres with... wait for it...

KimZ - in which you play as Kim Kardashian, fighting and sneaking your way through the zombie infested wreckage of Los Angeles to salvage the hottest clothes and accessories from the ruins.

"They had the sweetest Lanvin bag at Maxfield... before the world went to hell. From here, there's twelve blocks of flesh eating zombies and a burning oil tanker between us and Melrose. We've got a fire axe, the keys to a police car parked two blocks over, and a molotov cocktail I just made out of a bottle of Crystal Head vodka. There's no way I'm letting that bag rot away on a shelf while a bunch of zombies paw at it. Let's roll..."
posted by Naberius at 7:49 AM on March 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


KimZ - in which you play as Kim Kardashian, fighting and sneaking your way through the zombie infested wreckage of Los Angeles to salvage the hottest clothes and accessories from the ruins.

I would actually play this. I would play it so hard.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:03 AM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I spent a little time with Unturned a while back and thought it was (a) super duper rough but (b) kinda interesting for all that. I think I jumped into it specifically because it was mentioned (by RPS, probably?) as a free DayZ-alike worth half a look, and I still haven't checked out actual DayZ because I'm not sure I'm up for the time commitment that'd justify spending money and brainpower on the work-in-progress new version. So having something in that vein to fiddle with was interesting.

I stole a truck (though is it stealing in a post-economic zombie wasteland where the previous owner is undead?), and found a gun and some colorful flares on a half-sunken boat, and raided an idyllic-except-for-the-corpses picket fence town for canned goods, and hid in a barn for a while, and ate some mysterious berries that brought on a psychedelic haze through which I ran like the dickens along a highway at night while zombies glowed weirdly in the distance. Which: not bad for a free dalliance, though it was rough enough that I haven't gone back yet.
posted by cortex at 8:11 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The 3 year old Crusader Kings 2 averages 99 hours per person, which seems ludicrously low to me.

I played about three or four hours, decided it was too complicated for me to keep all the various elements and rules in my head, and shrugged and uninstalled it. It's super-cool and I love the stories that people who play it tell (if you'd like a quick shot of comedy, /r/ShitCrusaderKingsSay is gold), but it's just too much for me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:36 AM on March 9, 2015


I admire Ars' data mining (and Valve making the data available), but I think there's something a bit wonky in their measurements. I'm particularly confused by the report that Civilization: Beyond Earth has sold 2.1M copies but only 0.8M owners played it. It's definitely a bit of a turkey of a game, as this graph of how many people are playing it shows. But the game was never free; IIRC the cheapest it's been is $30 or so. I can't believe over half the people who bought it never played it. Maybe only played it an hour or two?

Personally I'm bummed to see so many Early Access games dominating the charts. I've beaten this drum before, and I've been convinced that Early Access is a good thing for game diversity. But it also sucks a lot of energy and momentum out of games. Both the Early Access success itself; by the time it's officially released it's a bit "meh". And also that personally I'd rather play a polished and finished game but increasingly feel obligated to play some unfinished half idea because it's where all the community excitement is. Blah.
posted by Nelson at 10:07 AM on March 9, 2015


Ive wanted to try the Game of Thrones mod for CK2, but haven't been able to grasp the rules either. I settled for reading /r/CK2GameOfthrones/ by proxy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:19 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I played about three or four hours, decided it was too complicated for me to keep all the various elements and rules in my head, and shrugged and uninstalled it.

It's weird. Last year I made a resolution that come hell or high water I was going to figure out how to play CK2. And I did! (If you haven't played recently that have made the tutorials SOMEWHAT better, so might be worth trying).

The funny thing is, once you figure out enough to sort of understand what's happening on a 5 foot level in all of the game areas, you realize that the game just has a bad interface and discoverability, and the underlying stuff is simple and not super satisfying. The greatest example is the war interface, which is such a combination of clumsy and abstract that it's rarely worth paying attention to.

It's the combination of family dynamics and role-playing elements that are most compelling in the game, and periodically you have to wrestle with an annoying layer of strategy-lite. I found the game to be most fun playing a smaller power, where you can keep everything in front of you. And then, hey, if the Byzantine Empire invades, you, know, shit happens.

If you've looked at the most recent DLC they did it basically added more RPG elements and I kind of hope they make a "King of Dragon Pass" type game in the future where they lean harder in that direction.

(And if it makes you feel better, Soren Johnson interviewed the designer of the game on a recent episode of the Designer Notes podcast and if the designer of Civ 4 finds CK2 confusing (and he does) you should feel ok about not getting it either)

Ive wanted to try the Game of Thrones mod for CK2, but haven't been able to grasp the rules either. I settled for reading /r/CK2GameOfthrones/ by proxy.


I can't even get it to work! Just crashes every time.
posted by selfnoise at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2015


joyceanmachine: "KimZ - in which you play as Kim Kardashian, fighting and sneaking your way through the zombie infested wreckage of Los Angeles to salvage the hottest clothes and accessories from the ruins.

I would actually play this. I would play it so hard.
"

Not only you. Of course, given the lead, I would probably end up losing, due to spiteful suicides.
posted by Samizdata at 1:20 PM on March 9, 2015


I've avoided all the incarnations of WarZ but #2 on that list, Heroes and Generals, did something incredible for me. It gave me an amazing, large scale shooter with great gunplay mechanics, then shat all over it with the actual full game.

You get to play in skirmish maps for the first couple levels. They're restricted to just infantry weapons with a few light vehicles (that die fairly easily to bullet based guns and grenades). It is amazing, the maps are well designed, the vehicles are balanced, there are free bicycles for you to hop on with a friend and stealthily (engines are loud) sneak up on objectives. Very good stuff.

You get to the "real" game, and the most basic, shit tank will two hit you from a thousand meters with its sniper machine gun. You do not start with an AT gun of any kind. You can pick up a panzerfaust, disposable one use AT weapon, from the spawn area but cannot use you fucking primary weapon. Switch to your primary and you drop the faust. So you have to baby cradle this thing across kilometers of map, then sneak up on a tank that can see everything (lololol turret elevation and spare vegetation), and shoot it in the ass. Three. Fucking. Times. That's right, rear armor takes three rockets to kill.

But its fine, you can just get AP grenades after farming some regular grenade kill. That you have to burn in game currency to restock. Or pay real money to unlock and restock faster. Ditto for the rocket launchers that can eventually unlock (or pay real money now!).

Except that there are one hit body-shot sniper rifles. Any range, one hit kill, any part of your body, insane bullet velocity.

I never knew exactly how good Planetside 2 was until I played this shitpile. Such a cash grab.

If I could burn my Steam Library to remove just my number from that list of "users who purchased" I fucking would. This new generation of "passes the smell test briefly enough to grab your cash" Freemium game needs to die in a fire.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:05 PM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't believe over half the people who bought it never played it. Maybe only played it an hour or two?

I can believe it, going by the number of people who complain of having a huge backlog of games that they've bought but never gotten around to play it. People often buy on impulse when they're in the middle of something else, thinking they'll get around to it, but then never do, especially if the reaction to the game turns out to be lukewarm.
posted by Drexen at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2015


Yeah, I got 400+ games on Steam (and more on GOG and Origin) I bought "because I might want to play them some day" or as a replacement for copies bought in the nineties. Of those, I've only played a couple for longer than a few hours.

For a lot of games, the ones you need to invest time and effort in to get something out of it, you have to be in the mood to play it. So I frex bought Civ V more than a year ago but only started playing it this Christmas.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:37 PM on March 9, 2015


I got Crusader Kings 2, spent a good chunk of time (29 hours, apparently) working through video tutorials and enjoying learning how the game worked, and then, having understood the basics, I stopped playing because actually playing the game wasn't fun for me. Apparently it's one of those games which I enjoy learning the rules of, but don't enjoy actually playing past that point.
posted by Bugbread at 3:34 PM on March 9, 2015


Yeah I don't really "get" CK2 despite having dozens of hours logged - I usually try to conquer as much stuff as I possibly can but I just get bogged down by choosing between dozens of generic courtiers to marry my children off to and not understanding why I can't raise liege levies. And then the combat is really boring and there is this scraping noise that really grates on my ears. And then there's a whole metagame where you can spend obscene amounts of money to upgrade your fort so it gets barely +1 HP and its like...no.

I think people enjoy it for the sake of roleplaying and I keep trying to play it like a traditional turn based strategy where you try to conquer as much land as you possibly can - hence the not getting it.
posted by pravit at 5:03 PM on March 9, 2015


I would actually play this. I would play it so hard."

Not only you.


Yeah, Kim Z was obviously written as a joke, but throughout the day, the more I thought about it the more I realized, you know, that would actually be a lot of fun!

Sadly I am not 16 years old, and so have no idea how to just... make a video game in my room.
posted by Naberius at 7:15 PM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Personally I'm bummed to see so many Early Access games dominating the charts. I've beaten this drum before, and I've been convinced that Early Access is a good thing for game diversity. But it also sucks a lot of energy and momentum out of games.

Even good games like Starbound and Planetary Annihilation seem to flag due to their early success that alleviates the incentive to make a great, complete game. For instance, PA has great macro, units and music, but the campaign is a series of skirmishes and there's still no save option in combat or a way to set the starting location of enemy AIs.Then again there are games like Kerbal and Prison Architect that have clearly benefited from Early Access. And well, Might & Magic X may not have changed the landscape of gaming forever, but I'll gladly take it after the franchise being seemingly subsumed by Heroes of MM.

not understanding why I can't raise liege levies


IIRC you need to have a good relationship with your vassals and be at war.
posted by ersatz at 3:46 PM on March 10, 2015


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