The weird achievement stats on Steam

or “Why did they buy it, anyway?”

Ah, Steam. Some love it for its easy way to buy and install games or the Steam cloud that keeps your save files remotely, so you can still play the same game when you buy a new computer; some hate it for its DRM, lack of checks during install and its habit of always installing libraries you already have installed on your system.

But there is a more interesting thing about Steam: Achievements and Global Statistics.

The global statistics show how many people who own a certain game earned an achievement. Only Steam achievements are counted, but that’s not a big deal for what I was looking for.

You see, there are achievements that you earn when you simply launch the game and do the most basic thing. For example, Portal 2 have a “Wake Up Call”, which is basically “watch the intro sequence (which is part of the gameplay) and reach the point you have to do things by yourself”. Right now, the global statistics show that of all people who bought/own Portal 2, about 86% completed that part.

You know what that means? Of all people who paid for this game (one way or the other, either directly, with another package or simply bought as a gift to someone), about 14% never played the most basic part of the game.

Another example: Skyrim have an achievement for when you complete the “tutorial” part of the game: Look around, move a bit, hear some dialogs and that’s basically it. The achievement is earned when the player approaches a NPC to remove the rope that bounds his hands together. The achievement is named “Unbound” and was completed by 93.1% of all people who own Skyrim.

Skyrim is an interesting piece ’cause:

  1. It was launched recently
  2. It wasn’t part of any package so far
  3. It costs around US$ 60 and didn’t get into any “deals” yet.

Of everyone who bought the game, about 7% of them all never really played the game.

It’s weird trying to understand who would pay $60 for something and never use it.