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Plugged In

Raptr reveals world’s most-played games

Plugged In

Starcraft II, NCAA Football 2011, and LEGO Harry Potter are all flying high in the software sales charts -- but is anyone actually playing them?

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Modern Warfare 2

We found out with the help of Raptr, a service that's part
instant-messaging program, part Facebook-style social network, and part
achievement tracker. As long as you have its handy desktop client
installed, Raptr can tell you what you're playing, and how long you've
played it for.

Turns out, the most-played game in the world right now (according to
Raptr) isn't a new release. In fact, it's only barely in the top ten
selling games for July. It's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,
on Xbox 360, whose players racked up well over a million hours over the
course of August. On average, MW2 players spent between one-and-a-half
and two hours per session.

That's a pretty healthy chunk of time -- and it manages to outclass
several of gaming's notorious time sinks. Holding onto the number two
spot, PC stalwart World of Warcraft managed about 570,000 hours over the same time period. No slouch, to be sure, but still well off the pace.

Farmville,
renowned as a life-sucking experience, is lagging in comparison, down
in seventh place and outplayed seven-to one by Modern Warfare 2. It
might be the most-played game on Facebook, but it's got a long way to
go to top the Raptr charts. (Although, we should note, there's probably
some self-selection bias going on here: Raptr users, by their very
nature, seem more likely to consider themselves "gamers," and thus more
likely to favor core games like Modern Warfare over lighter fare like
Farmville.)

Still, you have to look down to the number four slot to find
anything approaching a new release. Starcraft II, which came out right
at the end of July, racked up almost a quarter of a million hours over
August, essentially its debut month. Madden NFL 11,
which came out about ten days into August, entered the chart at eighth
place, and should climb once it's had a chance to accumulate a full
month of stats.

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Raptr

But the oddest entry on the chart? Maplestory,
in the number-nine slot; a quirky, free, two-dimensional online
role-playing game from Korean company Wiznet. Estimates put it at
around 100 million subscribers, although only about ten per cent of
that total is in Western territories. With a look more akin to a
classic, Mario-style platform game than World of Warcraft's immersive
3D experience, it's strange company for Madden and shooter Gears of War
2, which sandwich it in this month's chart. Strange though it seems, it
accumulated well over 100,000 player-hours over August.

* Raptr is a service which lets you see what your friends on Xbox,
PS3, Steam, and Xfire are playing, chat in-game across popular IM and
gaming services, and share game stats and achievements in your custom
profile. You can download it at raptr.com.

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