Dataminer suggests massive Destiny 2 playerbase slump

If player dataminers are right, Destiny 2 is in trouble, and I’m not talking about the ongoing Eververse rioting.

Destiny 2 player and Redditor stevetheimpact collected data from roughly a tenth the playerbase between launch and the end of 2017 by scraping Bungie’s API for unique members and their last date played.

“Total player count dropped from 1,307,165 to 321,843 from launch to the end of the year, which is a drop of 75.37%,” he posted last night. “PS4 player count dropped from 712,431 to 158,523, which is a drop of 77.74%. XBox player count dropped from 594,987 to 127,428, which is a drop of 78.58%. PC player count dropped from 194,607 to 35,892, which is a drop of 81.55%.”

stevetheimpact does admit that his data represent only a sample of the total player population and aren’t 100% accurate. The raw data have been made available for anyone who wants to parse them.

Redditors have also pointed out that Bungie is currently hiring for a new Head of Narrative Development. Adding even more perspective to what’s going on over there, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has spoken out about a big reboot of Destiny 2 undertaken during the game’s development and claims that the contentious Eververse cash shop was Bungie’s, not Activision’s, idea.

Source: Reddit. With special thanks to Ted!
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51 Comments on "Dataminer suggests massive Destiny 2 playerbase slump"

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Alex Malone

Isn’t this a fairly standard slump in players?

I remember when No Man’s Sky slumped like this there were tons of articles about it, but when you do a proper analysis of big hits, a 75%-80% drop in players is actually pretty standard. The only games that ever managed to do better were proper MMOs that were built for longevity, but with the market as it is we haven’t seen one like this in ages. Even something like ESO, which manages to maintain good player numbers, does so via player churn rather than retention.

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Sray

Some perspective on the numbers.

A. This type of drop off is actually typical of all AAA mulitplayer games; that’s why we have season passes, pre-orders and day one DLC. Much like blockbuster movies, big budget games make the majority of their money early, and fade out quickly.

B. These sample numbers suggest a 80% drop in population for a game that has sold an estimated 12 million copies (according to the Reddit post we’re quoting here); which means 2.4 million people are still playing. That is rarified air for any video game, let alone a MMO.

Not making any judgement calls on the actual state of the game, but based on industry status quo, these numbers actually suggest a fairly healthy game population this far from release.

Estranged
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Estranged

D2 just isn’t liked around these parts. LOL

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Sray

If people want to dislike the game, that’s fine ; but it terrifies me that in a couple dozen responses here before me, not one person stopped to do the basic math of multiplying the results by ten to get a rough idea of how many people are still playing according to this sample. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine that whenever raw number are posted, so many people just blurt out something based on the first emotion that pops into their head before taking a moment to consider the data, and put it into some context.

Btw, my number of 2.4 million is based on simply looking at the averages, and saying “ok, that’s an 80% drop from 12 million”; but the actual math (the sample is actually just under 11%, so you have to multiply by 9 otherwise you end up with numbers that are too high) puts the number of still playing at roughly 2.9 million. The population decline trend might concerning to Activision and Bungie, but there’s also a good chance that they’re quite happy with those numbers at this point.

Estranged
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Estranged

Right. Also, I’ll get out my salt box and say the only “commercially successful” game that is acceptable around these parts is WoW.

This game isn’t reaching Star Citizen levels of spite just yet, but the bias towards anything Destiny is obvious.

How many games wish they had 2.9 million players?

About all of them?

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Knox Harrington

I don’t know about “around these parts” because I’m relatively new here, but WoW is the only “commercially successful” MMO, whether you want to accept it or not. It’s one of the top selling games of all time, MMO or otherwise. No other MMO can even come close to its commercial success.

I’m not sure the WoW vs Destiny argument is even worth having at this point considering how shallow of an experience Destiny is. It’s a very mechanically sound shooter but there’s really not much to do compared to traditional MMO’s like EQ, etc. Destiny can only be fairly compared to games closer in nature to it, like Grand Theft Auto Online or something.

Destiny strikes me as just another online game with some borrowed MMORPG elements, but not enough to satisfy traditional MMO gamers. Destiny 2’s limited social functionality alone comes to mind. They launched that game without things that have become so standard in MMO’s that we don’t even bother calling them features. I can see why people here would be salty if they bought into this game’s hype expecting a full fledged MMO experience.

Estranged
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Estranged

Hey Knox!

Well, I can see your point.

However, there is a commonality with the Destiny 2 information, it is a search for the negative.

We already know the disapproval is real, there is no need for people to pile on with misleading “data”, in my opinion.

Guess everyone needs their cross to carry, mine is more about games trying to sell me really expensive stuff without a somewhat solid delivery date.

Everyone knew what Destiny 2 would be at launch. The game never had text chat incorporated, using mobile apps for text communication has been the normal mode since Destiny 1 launched.

Also, the game has no sub, so I don’t expect WoW level content.

If one appreciates retro versus popular, that is fine. However, there is no need to take out our frustrations on a Don Quixote crusade.

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Denice J. Cook

This kept happening in Destiny 1 as it was repeatedly revamped as well. Coming, going, leaving, returning. Clearly Bungie and Activision are laughing all the way to the bank. They got your money for the game and expansions; what do they care whether you stick around to play it or not? They know they will get everyone back for the next launch.

As for the RNG loot box debacle, that’s just disgusting, though. Rather than putting off similar behavior in other games, it seems that EA’s getting caught in SW:BF2 etc. is merely drawing other devs and publishers in to copy them instead.

This leads me to believe that data mining shows they make more money that way, or enough that it’s more worthwhile just skipping the creation of new content and doing the loot box thing instead. I guess other devs and publishers jumping on board must be the result of seeing EA not back down or change (obviously that must be because the money is still rolling in, despite the vocal minority not liking it).

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agemyth 😩

I don’t think those numbers are all that strange for a game like Destiny 2. Most players are probably just interested in playing through things once, or doing the item level grind in the endgame once. It is not an MMO and the people who play it are not MMO players.

I am still confused why Bungie signed up for this shitshow with Activision (for a decade) when it wanted to get a break from Halo/Microsoft. This is still a game a lot like Halo (with loot) and they put themselves in just as difficult or more difficult deadlines and metrics to meet for ActiBlizz.

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Danny Smith

Can anyone remember the last time a brand got this poisoned? I mean even battlefront 2 isnt going to do shit to the star wars brand. But how many of these players are coming back for destiny 3?

I think this ten year plan has gone rotten.

-also genuinely surprised how commonly you see folks on the Destiny reddit talk about dropping the game for MHW on the 25th. Granted im a destiny and monhun player myself and both are loot focussed to a degree i just didnt think the cross over would be as significant as it appears to be.

Which surely has bungie sweating a little.

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Dug From The Earth

Both my son and I havent played since Nov, with no real desire to go back any time soon. The few co-workers that played as well, are also in the same boat.

This is another game that will judge its “amazing” success on the initial box sales, and nothing more, leading to repeat the same actions a couple years from now with Destiny 3, or their next spin off game.

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Robert Mann

How can every single platform drop more than the total? Methinks there’s a math error there somewhere. *That’s all I got here, I had concerns well before release and avoided it.*

hurbster
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hurbster

Says it all really…

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Armsbend

“it’s hard to make content”

;_;

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Bryan Turner

This reminds me of the time Blizzard tried forcing the Real Money Auction House down our throat in Diablo 3, any one see anything like that now (as more and more platinum selling games lose money off of backlash against Loot Boxes you can bet those things go to the museum of failed ideas).

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Dug From The Earth

Blizzard at least had the grit to realize it was a total F-up on their part, and rework/remove/redo huge aspects of the game to turn things around. Sure, it took some time for both the needed changes, and the players to warm back up to it, but D3 became much more popular and played years after it was initially released.

Its doubtful we will see Bungie do anything similar. They are content with the box sales for the most part, and there really isnt any motivating factor to make them spend time, money and resources to go back to the drawing board. They dont seem to care about their image like Blizzard did with Diablo 3.

Mitzruti
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Mitzruti

what happened on dec 9th? there’s a definite dint in the curve there.

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Danny Smith

A christmas ‘event’ that people expected to be an mmo style event but really got a mobile game one where you got a tiny taste of the items but a 4 grand cash shop bill was required for all of it based on rng loot boxes. The game runs by a dirtbag mobage model.

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Nathan Aldana

probably when the christmas event came out and before people realized it was nothing but a lootbox sale/.

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Melissa McDonald

my education says that drop is “precipitous”. My gamer side wants to use profanity.

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Nathan Aldana

..is anyone surprised with how many moves bungie made to make it extremely obvious destiny 2 only cares about your wallet?

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Dug From The Earth

pretty sure these results are in direct response to that, so no… no surprise what so ever.

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cursedseishi

Doesn’t surprise me. The one thing Bungie had going for it heading from Destiny 1 to Destiny 2 was the promise of strong gunplay and the hope they learned from their past mistakes. And yet the game was practically developed in a vacuum by vacuous airheads who decided they could make lootbox content easier than actual content–and sell expansions expanding that rather than expanding actual in-game content.

They could of kept the lootbox level up rewards, it would be worth it to me more than motes of light were in the original. The biggest mistake has been the continued insistence of the lootboxes as the meat of the game however. There are raids, sure, but increasingly the game has veered towards the boxes over them. Making shaders consumable, even holiday timed and exclusive ones, and using that as the biggest reason to play older content should of had everyone in that office stop and slap the person who said it.

And that isn’t even touching on the murky deluge of post-release amateur mistakes. Promoting purchasable xp grinding items and (trying to) hide the fact the game nukes your xp gains while lying to your face about them. Doubling XP requirements AFTER the first thing was found out quietly, after promising more open talk regarding changes forwards. Busted, non-working items that they continue to sell–even for real money–with no promise on when they’ll work correctly. Holiday events in general. Hell, Destiny 1 already had its blowback on timed yearly content similarly to the Dawning event with several of them requiring paid purchases to even participate in some of it.

The fact that they’ve been so committed and Luke Smith in particular so invested in forcing the game down the Free-to-Play market route has been the biggest issue to me and why I’ve refused to buy this game so far. If I want fun multiplayer gunplay, I got Halo 3 still. Or heck, even Halo 4. If I want a fun MMO experience, I got FF14. If I want a game to ream me over playing for free… well… I can find that anywhere.

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FG3000

I enjoyed the campaign but the second I got to the end game I lost all intrest. PVP was SMALL 4v4? really? this game should have had a battlefield mode with at least 50v50. And the fact I couldnt queue up for raids without a clan, a clan I had to find OUTSIDE game …what a mess

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Danny Smith

The saddest fact is Bungie -who made Halos big team battle an esports darling- apparently cannot deal with more than 4v4 pvp anymore.

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Denice J. Cook

Nah, they’re just too cheap to invest in dedicated servers so they had to lessen the lag somehow. That’s why the PvP for Destiny 2 was lowered to 4v4 and 2v2 versus Destiny 1. Why don’t they just do split screen and nothing more then, sheesh!

Even the nerfing of super regens, as well as the conspicuous absence of Mayhem crucible mode, is to lessen lag.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

Makes sense. I haven’t logged in for a few weeks now. The Dawning lockbox “event” was my breaking point. There’s no reason for me to log in anymore as all the little content in the game is entirely unrewarding. Shooting things just for fun wears out quickly and there’s other games out there where I can do that and also get some fun swag for doing so. Running yet another Strike for a dupe legendary is boring. Another Public Event for 2 tokens and a blue is just gross. There’s just nothing left in the game that interests me.

At this point I feel like Bungie needs to pull a FFXIV: ARR. Shut it all down and just remake the game. I don’t even care if my stuff is wiped in the process. What I have isn’t interesting or powerful anyway. I feel like the potential for a great game is still there, they just need to redo it all.

Also if anyone hasn’t seen it yet, the remaining playerbase has reached a point where they’re drawing comics about how bad Eververse is instead of playing:

Whipped up a two page comic about Tess [OC] from DestinyTheGame

I rather enjoyed it.

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Danny Smith

Yeah it actually gives me FFXIV 1.0 vibes. But Square was desperate to save the FF brand after the infamous ‘decade of lightning’ nearly ruined it. I dont think activision cares if just one of their shooters is a failure when CoD still shits dollars 24/7.

Plus according to the contract leak if bungie fails to deliver with destiny all the assetts default to activision so its win-win for them.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Yeah, Bungie would have to care about the game and brand to do a re-boot. Clearly, all they care about is selling loot boxes. As other’s have pointed out, they got all their money on initial sales of season’s passes with the game, etc. All the rest is just icing on the cake.

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Arktouros

Another one super glad I skipped.

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Nick // Genghis

I love the art. I love the engine polish and the weapon/combat system to pair with it. It creates a great carrot on the end of the stick albeit if it isn’t a bit shallow like others have said. Those Pros (for right now) have me interested enough to continue playing ever do casually just so I can play with my friends and not have to be super hardcore about it. Maybe I’m a filthy casual and don’t care about the Eververse stuff all that much.

That said, do Bungie/Activ. play any other looter shooters like Warframe or The Div? Do they not understand that repetition and constantly recycling content for weeklies have a generally chore-like, draining effect on the player base? Don’t they understand that as veterans of D2 (light level 300-335) we want a challenge in the strikes, raid, AND the open world? Especially for folks with 3 characters… Where are the world tiers for the open world? Where are the intricate, challenging raid mechanics? Why are strikes on a RNG based rotation? Who cares about the cash shop stuff honestly. It doesn’t affect me, if you choose to support they via microtrans, so be it. The only reason people care so much is because the game ultimately lacks a basic sense of what content is and stuffed the cash shop in to give people a sense of something to reach for, but made it accessible ONLY by general play time and completing the winter quests which still only give you an [RNGesus Sacrifice]x1 and if you don’t get what you want… Keep playing! And try again with another engram. Copy/paste and rinse/repeat wears on anyone in any game regardless of genre and it a very noticeable thing in an MMO these days.

Solution: make infinite forest… Infinite. Give it a horde mode rising in intensity and boss density. Allow us to choose which strikes we want to do. Some are just plain awful. Easy fixes with minimal time investment for people that work actively with the code for the game. Give 1 to 3 month raid lair intervals for injecting content like Eater of Worlds with varying mechanics and see what works and what doesn’t then continue down that path. Hell at this point, most folks just want them to add back in what was available with D1 towards the end of it’s lifespan. I never played D1 and this sounds like a great idea to at least get more content in the game in general. Variety is lacking in every game nowadays that’s supposed to be AAA-developed which is sad as they have the potential to have a broader scope and more resources with a second game in an IP. Time will tell but if they second DLC launches in the next month or so with little to no other content besides a raid lair, a few PvP maps, and some skins and a few exotics, it might be time to move on. To what? Idk. Tried Warframe, not huge on the art or the inventory systems and progression and platwall but it’s a great game overall, tried TheDiv again and that’s a great game as well just a little lacking on my friends and people I know that play but have tried the new content for it several times and it’s great fun but I want something new.

I say this on every comment cus I’m a schmuck, but here’s hoping Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, Chronicles of Elyria, Pantheon, or Ashes of Creation can get into the market and do well for what they offer.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

tbh the open world scales with your weapons/powr level anyway so it’s not like you kill mobs faster with max level gear vs lower level gear anyway. lool

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Nick // Genghis

Right… It’s just one head scratcher after another dude… Give us enemies with more mechanics to learn and more HP and stuff and all’s well. (I would hope lol)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

eh my high end good weapons already feel pretty weak against regular w/e open world mobs. i’d hate for them to make the mobs spongier.

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Nick // Genghis

Its a fine line that’s for sure to balance ttk of ai. I just feel like in only very certain encounters do I feel even remotely challenged beyond being like spammed and Insta killed. Its a weird feeling, hard to describe.

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Dobablo

I blame PUBG :D

Coolit
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Coolit

I tried the beta and although it looked pretty it felt like a shallow game so I didn’t purchase it.

I’m so glad I went with my gut feeling after reading all the crap that went on and it’s no surprise the game has failed to hold it’s audience.

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Boom

Insert shocked face that another “big” title is ultimately lacklustre

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Yet, it had awesome reviews by a lot of commercial game sites.

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Denice J. Cook

The worst of the loot box nonsense didn’t happen until later, probably intentionally, to garner them better initial reviews. Thinking about it now, that’s pretty gross.

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nobleeinherjar

Destiny 2 is easily my biggest buyer’s remorse of 2017. My only source of buyer’s remorse, I think, but still a pretty huge one. Lesson learned.

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Loopy

Same. I thought i would really enjoy the game based on what i saw during beta, but the end result was a shallow story, and grindy experience.

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Melissa McDonald

Mine would be Overwatch. I’ve had more fun in the alpha of Wild West Online than that one.

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nobleeinherjar

Actually, yeah. I had fun with Overwatch around launch, but I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew what I knew now.

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Tandor

I’m never too sure of the difference, if any, between “datamining” and “hacking”!

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Melissa McDonald

I recall viewing source code on a page once and embedded in it was a big comment:
“You’re looking – we’re hiring coders!” :)

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Dobablo

Datamining is downloading of publicly available data. Hacking would involve the downloading of data to which the user should not have access.

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Tandor

Thanks. So in this case, “scraping Bungie’s API for unique members and their last date played” simply involves downloading publicly available data rather than any form of breaking into it? Perhaps my follow-up question should be what is meant by “scraping Bungie’s API”? I’m not by any means accusing data miners of hacking, I’m just unclear where one ends and the other begins when it comes to unlocking stuff that developers very likely never intended to be published.

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cursedseishi

I’m not too familiar myself, but from glancing over the reddit post it appears he ran some basic entry level checks against the game. It also doesn’t look like he was datamining the game itself, but rather the websites Bungie uses to link accounts to the game where such information would be located. It would also be why he makes the assumption of account creation dates in the reddit post since they likely wouldn’t have information on when the accounts themselves were actually made.

Hacking would intend that he forced his way into the backends of the game or said sites, and if he had done that I’d imagine he would of found more… or at least, dug more out.

Again though, far from my forte so if there’s anyone more knowledgeable (more than likely it is a rock or stump) on this, I would defer to them!

borghive
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borghive

A reskin of a crappy shooter, no big surprise there. The market is done with these games that are all flash and no depth. I also never understood why destiny was so popular to begin with.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i know i’ve stopped playing, but not due to any of the controversy. i just find that the set of weekly chores combined with a lack of progression feel week to week in a game that is centered around that sort of thing to be ultimately boring nad tedious.

throw in that last week we had trouble doing the events weekly becuase we were the only 2 players doing them and it made it that much more painful and pretty much at that point i was done.

so uninstalled yday and we’ll have to see if the 2nd dlc in the season pass is worth a damn or not but i am somewhat doubting it.

wpDiscuz