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Half Life 2 : Ep2 Stats – Neat but invasive

November 19, 2007

I like stats for some reason, and apparently the guys at Valve do too. To go along with the Hardware Survey Results they released recently, here are the Half Life 2 : Episode Two Stats as collected by the steam client. (EP1 stats are here)

Some interesting numbers in there for ep2, such as the average play time being 4 hours, 45 minutes and the average completion time is now 6 hours, 12 minutes. I guess not everyone is finishing. I know I didn’t though I plan to sooner or later. It’s admittedly still pretty early to get much out of these numbers, but it will be interesting to see how ep2 stacks up against ep1 in a few months.

The ep2 stat tracking has a few new items being tracked as opposed to the stats for ep1, the neatest of which is the “death maps” that graphically show where people have been dying on each level.

ep2deathmap.jpg

Again, this sort of statistical information is cool for those of us into that sort of thing but it also raises my eyebrows a bit. I wasn’t aware steam was collecting this level of detail about it’s player base. The hardware survey is fine as it’s an easy opt in/out, but this other stuff is a bit more murky to me. Do you get an option to opt of of this level of data gathering? I don’t recall seeing it anywhere, though I may have missed it. It’s a bit invasive if you ask me, unless there’s an easy opt out option.

I suspect the next time I play a Valve title I’ll have this strange sensation of being watched. Sadly, it will be a valid sensation too.

-ab

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