[MUD-DEV] a shrinking pool of players?

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Tue Feb 15 19:04:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Tue, 15 Feb 2000 21:11:30 EST 
PartyG2816  <PartyG2816 at aol.com> wrote:

> In a message dated 2/15/00 8:08:18 PM Central Standard Time,
> MSellers at maxis.com writes:

>>> it's between 10,000 and 200,000 at the extreme high end.
>>> Probably around 50K.  Just a gross estimate, but I've run these
>>> numbers before and I think we tend to overestimate them.  

> Heh, EQ alone can testify to the 50k mark...

There are too, mostly distinct populations under discussion here:

  1) The players of (usually commercial) graphical MUDs.

  2) The players of text based MUDs

The two populations do overlap, but not I'd guess to any significant
percentage.  We also know that the population of #1 is over 100K
given UO's reported player base.  

We don't have accurate figures for the total sum for #1 as that
figure is individually jealously guarded by AC, EQ, UO etc as
confidential marketting data, and the results of their several
(expensive) market surveys are, similarly, proprietary data.  Ergo,
the numbers we get from Raph, Michael etc are, as they've said
several times filtered-for-public-conumption numbers (this is no
commentary on them, its a simple fact of working for a company whose
corporate interests they must represent).  So, we do a lot of
educated guessing:

As for the number of players in #2, this gets much harder as there
are no direct tracking methods (eg paid accounts), and the mapping
of active player characters to human numbers is quite definitely
less than 1:1.  Exactly what that ratio is, is unknown.

My own poorly educated guess for ##1 is somewhere approaching 200K

For #2 I suspect (sucked out of my thumb) that actual size of the
player base has grown in recent years, but that the churn rate is
massively higher than it used to be, and that players are, by the
percentages, much more fickle than they used to be.

  -- Text MUD players don't play as much or for as long as they used
     to, and the total length of a MUD player's life is shorter
     (they cease playing MUDs sooner).

  -- They carry significantly less attachment to the games they play

Translation: The pyramid is much broader and the bottom is violently
churning with players coming and leaving.  The pyramid used to be
taller and narrower, of less total volume, but also of greater
_apparent_ stability.

Of course, I have no real numbers.  This is just guess work and
thumb sucking.  

J C Lawrence                                 Home: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                              Other: coder at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--

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