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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

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Ezra

The "in-game" count for groups is the count of Steam users apart of that group currently playing any game via Steam. The "cats" group for example has 139 people in-game presently.

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/cats

Anyone can make a group in Steam, it doesn't mean what you think it means.

Hamlet Au

"group currently playing any game via Steam"

I think that number is represented by the Online figure, not the In-Game figure. Which definitely clicked one up the moment after I logged into SL.

Imnotgoing Sideways

I gotta second Ezra. It's the members of the group in a game... But no particular game. We'll have to wait for SL to land in the Library before we get a good solid Steam tracking. (^_^)

That said... Thanks for pointing out that group is there. (^_^)y

Kadah Coba

What Ezra said.

"In-game" only means playing (or just running) anything thru Steam. And you can put anything in your games list too, I got bored one day and added Notepad++ in to mine and logged about 100k hours from it idling in the background.

If you're concerned about Steam tracking your SL usage, don't launch it through steam. And I do hope you know that LL tracks far more about what you do in SL than Steam does, but at least Steam is upfront about it and publicly shares some of the quarterly reports.

Hamlet Au

I just reproduced the same thing again -- log into SL, the in-game number goes up one immediately. Log out of SL, the in-game number goes down one immediately.

Interference

That last comment suggests you did not understand the ones preceding it, which were essentially that the number you're looking at is people in the group playing ANY game, not necessarily SL. To simply repeat your original test will not get you a new result.

You should try playing ANY other game and checking that number. You'll find that it goes up regardless.

Logging into SL outside of steam shouldn't affect the number at all.

Hamlet Au

"You should try playing ANY other game and checking that number. You'll find that it goes up regardless."

Yeah, but games like DOTA and TF2 have concurrencies in the tens of thousands, which will fluctuate second by second, not just several dozens, which typically do not. Though could be just a false causality, as I said.

Frans Charming

To test what Ezra and others say, add Notepad to steam, and start notepad through it.

Dave Bell

Hamlet, which SL Viewer do you use? Official Linden Labs or TPV?

Moni Duettmann

What is Steam?

Frans Charming

Steam is a very popular digital content store and community for games and that is now expanding beyond games.

http://store.steampowered.com/about/

shockwave yareach

Moni -- you are familiar with the App store for iphones, right? Well, Steam is similar for PCs except that up to now it has only sold games online. You can login to your steam account, buy a game, download it, and be playing in minutes. And you can add your friends who also play in steam, and form communities.

Steam is about to expand and sell more than just games. They are going to offer any program that's made for the PC and provide social communities between them as well. Try it - it's a great system. (Although i fail to see how Steam can possibly know that I'm running SL on my computer and tell my friends/increment counters that I am.)

And if you are leery of everyone under the sun tracking your every move, just don't allow steam to startup every power on. If it doesn't run, it can't snoop. I use steam and I play, but steam isn't running until I say I want to play. I need the MIPS for... other things.

Ajax Manatiso

And we care that they know how many SLU members are on Steam -- why? Even the most pathological paranoic will have trouble worrying about that one.

Archangel Mortenwold

I'm still not convinced that Second Life will derive any real benefits from this deal with Steam. Steam may get an upsurge on the creative content front, but I don't see how SL gets anything out of the bargain. Since it has never been and will never be a gaming platform, and lacks the tools to make it into a gaming platform, it would be foolish to assume that SL will receive any significant influx of gamers, much less retain any noteworthy number of those who do enter the grid.

Archangel Mortenwold

Frans, your comment still doesn't explain what Steam is. As a film student and screenwriter, I can tell you about the concept known in the business as a logline. It's a short, one-or-two-sentence long description of what a movie is about. If you can't explain it like that, the most likely reaction from others is going to be, "Great. What else is playing?"

Similarly, saying that Steam is "a very popular digital content store and community for games and that is now expanding beyond games" doesn't tell us very much, and most people probably don't want to bother clicking on the link. What digital content does the store sell? Games? What kind of games? What's the number of titles? What are some of the titles it carries, and are those games worth going through Steam for? You have to be able to describe all that and more in one or two short sentences. It's done in Hollywood for movie screenplays all the time. The logline is what sells the idea to a producer, or to your friends when deciding what movie to see over the weekend.

Hamlet Au

"And we care that they know how many SLU members are on Steam -- why?"

Because it'll be a very good way for fellow SL users on Steam to better interact and play with each other, same as with any other title on Steam. Among many other reasons. If I were an SL game developer, I'd be paying VERY close attention to SLU usage on Steam, for one thing.

foneco zuzu

If login in via steam gives direct access as premium benefits that is a good move!

Archangel Mortenwold

Hamlet, why would SLers who use Steam care how many other SLers are also using it? It's meaningless information most people won't care about, just like most people probably don't care how many people attended the last baseball game they attended — they're focused on the game, not how many people came to the stadium. You might care if you're the CEO of Linden Lab or whoever runs Valve, but who else?

Again, and this cannot be repeated enough, SL is not a game. It never has been and it never will be. The tools for making it into a gaming platform along the lines of World of Warcraft simply are not there, nor does Linden Lab seem particularly interested in devoting the time and resources to creating and implementing those tools. Yes, there are plenty f regions on the grid wherein SL users can "role play", but those role playing scenarios are much much different from what you'd see in the average MMORPG. And the number of those regions is steadily dropping because the economy is in the toilet with no sign of recovery in our great grandchildren's lifetimes, and Linden Lab refuses to compensate for this by lowering region tier prices to allow more users to afford virtual land within the grid — people just can't afford what has become an extremely expensive hobby.

So this brings us back to the original question: why should people care how many SLers are on Steam? Why would you assume that people who use both Steam and SL would necessarily reach out to one another? Do you have any idea just how many people around the world actually use SL? And do you really think that, contrary to human nature, we in SL aren't isolating ourselves into mini-communities within the grid just like we do in the outside world, and not venturing far beyond those mini-communities? Okay, so let's say I break down and go on Steam to play "Orcs Must Die 2". If I'm a hardcore online gamer, do I really care if someone in SL I likely have never met and likely won't is also on there? No! I'm gonna be too busy playing the game. And seeing the kind of games Steam has, is someone who may never have heard of Second Life before going to suddenly flock over there, especially when upon entering the grid I find out it's nothing like the games I play on Steam and isn't going to be? Well, no.

Now, I know a lot of people don't put any stock in what you write, Hamlet, when it comes to topics like this. And there's a reason, one that has nothing to do with being shortsighted or stuck in the past or lacking vision. It's because we who've been using SL for years now recognize what SL is and always has been, what its capabilities and limitations are, and what the capabilities, limitations, and intentions of Linden Lab are. And we know from this knowledge that, as much as you want it to be, SL is just never going to become a gaming platform. Its biggest strength was and always will be serving as a way for people from all over the globe to interact socially, form interpersonal relationships ranging from the romantic to the purely professional, and help in education.

So I'm going to ask you something you may never have devoted much thought to, Hamlet, if any at all. Exactly what games do you think can be imported into SL? How do you bring a game like "War of the Immortals", for example, to SL when none of the tools for making SL into an MMORPG are there? What's more, given the prohibitively high cost of owning virtual land in SL, just how many game developers, really, are crazed enough to throw away money on a virtual world that has none of the tools they need to successfully recreate their products?

And then there are all those content creators, business owners, and regular users to contend with who just want to sell stuff they made, share their creations, hang out, party, and have virtual sex with each other. What about them and their visions for the grid?

These are hard questions that need to be addressed before Linden Lab or anyone else can just start making business deals or implement features a relative few users asked for and most don't exploit, and that are, like virtual land, priced ridiculously high (i.e. mesh imports).

No, if Linden Lab wants to reverse the decline in revenue, first it must adapt to economic realities and lower its tier prices so more people can pay money to acquire virtual land — and then invite former region owners back with an aggressive promotional campaign that will also attract new region buyers. Next it needs to return to the roots of what made SL so popular in its early years, namely, as a social networking grid that allows users to interact with each other, sell their wares, and engage in educational activities, among other things. Bring back the teen grid and do away with the segregation of "adult" content that never accomplished what it was supposed to (protecting underage users from exposure to inappropriate material). If Linden Lab does that, then both it and SL can feasibly be salvaged, maybe even grow again.

If it doesn't, if it keeps trying to promote SL as a gaming platform without developing the tools necessary to make it into one or making it affordable to the Lab's target audience, then I seriously doubt deals like the one with Steam will be able to prevent SL's slow decay.

rodvik linden

Thanks :) My hope is that as Steam expands to become more than games a portion of Steam users will enjoy Second Life.

As a creativity platform which requires a significant amount of tech savvy to enjoy it seems like a good fit.

Things like Garrys mod are perhaps a good indicator of interest.

Anyway if we do enjoy some newbies from Steam I hope you will all make them welcome :)

Seven Overdrive

I'm just waiting for those newbies from Steam to die from sticker shock when they see the price required to have a private space to be "creative" in. Good luck with that one.

Kadah Coba

@Rod, I actually came to SL from Garry's Mod.

rodvik linden

@Kadah, very cool!

Nexii Malthus

@Rod, @Kadah,

I came from Garry's Mod as well actually back in '05.

Kadah Coba

@Rod, Though I may likely end up moving on from my dev work on SL and Firestorm to something else due to the way SL has been changing very recently for the worse and how the company is deciding to (not) interact with and behave towards its users/customer base and open source development community. :(

Darien Caldwell

There's been an SL group on steam for years:

Second Life Users - Public
965 Members | 34 In-Game | 257 Online

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