Good day everybody.
As part of our attempt to gather a variety of views and opinions from the World of Tanks Console playerbase, we’ve reached out to one of those in our Community Contributor program
So I’m gonna start this off by saying that I DO NOT speak for the average player, as much as I maintain any ability level is achievable by any and all, I am aware that at current I am above average. But I don’t think personal rating, winrate, WN8 or any other form of generated number tells you about the person behind the controller, whether keyboard and mouse of a console controller. I make these points because I want to disassociate skill levels from the term average, and myself from it being claimed I consider myself to be among the core playerbase.
So I’ll start with the some stats for you all, I have purposefully geared these in favor of console, not to try make console look better, but to show you that even scaled to make consoles audience seem more interactive, the levels of out of game interaction with the content are still so minimal. The current rounded number of Xbox registered users is 11 million and around 7 million PS4 registered users, which however impressive for a console game is still in the shadows of PC’s in excess of 110 million (UPDATE – 110 million was the number given to me in person by a WG staff member as the rough number or PC users, and matches many public statements. But when I went and looked at numbers given out as the result of data mining on http://wot-news.com/stat/server/eu/norm/en , the total players across each server I found added to 70 million, 68,085,654 to be exact. I believe this to be because the aforementioned site doesn’t include people who haven’t played many or any games. I’m going to keep using the 110 as this was from a more official source AND because it gears the numbers to look far more favorably on console to counter my argument. This is to show that even with my own numbers designed to work against me how easily it matches what I thought previous to working the numbers). I took the data for server peaks on Saturday the 15th of July, they were as follows: PC EU 110,000 (across both servers), PC NA 15,000 (Across both servers), PC RU 600,000, Blitz EU 22,000, Warships EU 12,000, Warplanes EU 1100, Xbox 17,000 and PS4 12,000 (console has server roaming and so this is for all online population). I showed the console numbers to a person at WarGaming to get precise numbers and I was told these “the numbers are within what WG observed live”. The selection was to just give perspective over WarGaming titles in terms of populations.
I decided to take some Twitch numbers at 2:30pm GMT on July the 16th, the highest views on a console stream (all Xbox coincidentally) came out thusly: in 1st 25, in 2nd 7 and in 3rd only 5. All 3 were people who are streamers only, this does mean they don’t bring in the rare twitch users from YouTube audience the way The Beard Guys, Sinz and MadFridayTV would. The contrast to PC on the other hand is drastic. Top of the list with 1200 was SirFoch , in 2nd was Ace TV with around 600 and in 3rd a channel with 500 (didn’t take down the name). To get to a point where the viewers are less than 50 for a PC stream you have to get to the 29th streamer on the list, and to get below 30 you have to get to the 37th streamer on the list. To get as low as 9 you have to get to the 48th channel and for below 5 the 70th. At the time there were around 6,000 people watching world of tanks tagged streams on Twitch, around 40 of those were watching console, a total of 0.67% of total viewers.
So surely that means that with say 0.1% of margin that is similar to the percentage of registered Console players compared to pc? Well I gave you the numbers before and 18 million (combined user base for console) is 16.36% of 110 million. This means that compared to percentage player base Xbox and PS4 is more than 15% off having the same fraction of the twitch viewers. But interestingly the 40 people make up 0.0002% of the total registered users of Console, and the 5960 pc viewers make up 0.0054% of the total pc registered users. The numbers are drastically different when it comes to comparing to total registered users. But how about against active players? Well Console’s 40 makes up 0.14% when put against the peak numbers from the 15th, and pc makes up 0.82% when compared to numbers from the same data set. So even against active players Console comes out behind, although not as drastically different to compared to total user base. To me this shows disparity between Console and pc where pc players seem to be more active in out of game content. The peak data also provides Console as being 4 % of the peak players of just Eu, Ru and NA. The 725k from those 3 regions account for 0.66% of the total registered users, and the 29,000 for all servers on Console comes to 0.16%.
Let me regale you with a few more numbers before I get onto some downright inflammatory assumptions and speculations! Console has 17.3% of pc’s register playerbase, yet on twitch we make up 0.6% of total viewers. I imagine if you do YouTube views and subs of the biggest channels you’d find a similar figures, although maybe to a lesser percentage I imagine. To compare the biggest of each I know of, The Mighty Jingles with 569,000 and The Beard Guys with 22,000, is a roughly 3.7% difference compared to each other. The sub numbers make Jingles audience 0.52% of the total pc player base, and The Beard Guys audience 0.12% of the total console audience. So again the % is different. Though the lines are blurred far more on YouTube due to how diverse the audience has become. Thanks to PointyHairedJedi and more recently Jingles, pc viewers have started watching more console content. Compared to the near insular communities within much of twitch this blurs the lines vastly more than with twitch. I hope you take note of these numbers and draw conclusions of your own and to not take anything here as gospel. Frankly the numbers are statistically insignificant but I do believe they illustrate something I believe to be a truth and I believe that further research would only back my belief.
So now onto the interesting and rage-comment bating stuff! What does it show? Well to me the thing that shows from all this is that outside of actually playing the game, the majority of consoles active players do not follow the game. By this I mean they do not interact with forums, they do not watch YouTube videos, they do not watch twitch streams and nor do they interact with social media for game only purposes. Most people reading this consider someone to be a fan of a game when they watch the YouTube videos, or watch the live streams or even listen to the podcast on top of playing the game itself. It becomes part of life almost, in some cases it becomes entirely life.
So you have to ask why? Why is the fraction of the Consoles total player base who watch live streams seemingly 27 times smaller than the total player base of PC players who watch twitch live streams. Is it that console streams and content is boring? Are they just not as good as their PC brethren? I’m sure some of you are saying yes or “well duh” and even more saying “PC master race” right now, but all jokes aside console streams even get PC people watching and I’m sure some reading this are among them .The number of PC players I’ve seen start coming to Console streams because they enjoy the often less toxic attitudes that sometimes persist within areas of the PC community on tanks, and frankly the graphics and personalities of the streamers, this says otherwise. So that seems unlikely to be the cause. So then why does it happen? Surely I’ve been skirting around the problem as to why the average player doesn’t watch long enough! Well, nearly. But let us clear something up and answer it in the process, or at least so I believe.
Many people speak on the forums and social media platforms about knowing or wanting what’s best for the average player. But I think that by speaking about it where they are or that they are even speaking about it shows they are clearly not the average player, and what they want is often far from what the people they think they represent want. Let’s look at how Console is differently geared than PC. Console gets around 1.3 to 1.4 times more XP and around 1.3 times more credits. This means you can easily hurtle up the tech tree’s (I was once averaging less than 500 games per Tier 10 with minimal free xp used, and after my first 3 the only free XP was from grinding not bought. Yet continues that less than 500 games till my 13th tier 10 at around 6400 games). So from the very start the game doesn’t really require people to do “deep learning” about the game. Whereas on PC you could be 3-4 thousand games in and not hit Tier 10, on Console you can average your way through games, just going for caps and RB shooting and be at Tier 10 in 1000 games.
Now let’s look at the meta difference as it stands. At the moment a few things massively change but their overall effect is slight, yet situationally drastic. Console still has 850 alpha TD’s and they have still got similar RoF to PC 750 alpha’s. Console still has a 6 shot Waffle. Why does this matter? Well because for someone who wants to put minimal time into the game but see big numbers, an E3/E4 are amazing. Especially doing YouTube I have learnt how differently people see things. Let’s take the IS-3, when I was grinding it if I did less than 4k damage I considered myself to be having a bad game, to have a great game required at least 6500 damage or something amazing to have happened. But I’ve been shown games of people doing 3400 damage in the same tank as their highest ever damage, I’ve been sent Jagaru games of 4700 as the best they’ve ever done. This is meant in no way to look down upon those people, we all have different expectations and we are all at different points on the learning curve. Those same people may one day think that 7k in a Jagaru is subpar, and 5k in an IS-3 “will have to do”. The point is to show how differently people on the same game can see things. So imagine people who consider 3k damage a good game at tier 10, they don’t really look into the game outside of being on the couch with a controller so have no concept of scale of how much you reading this would expect from different classes or tanks, they just know that if they do 3k in any vehicle they did well and had fun. So E3, 2 shots can be 2k on Console. E-4 is the same. The Foch 155 had its alpha nerfed to 770 but 2 clips can still be 4500 damage easily. The counter to this is that we get instant knowledge of being spotted. This allows high level players with better reaction and knowledge to take as much action to avoid being spanked by the actual average console player.
So the average user all in all has no interest in world of tanks beyond being on the couch, and this is why I call it the couch meta and refer to the average player also as the couch meta, as they are entwined. The average player for Console walks in from school, work, etc and isn’t a World of Tanks fan, they sit on the couch with a controller and are still not decidedly a World of Tanks fan, they browse their games to what to play today, they are still not yet a World of Tanks fan, they go past Fifa, past Call of Duty, past their free with gold games and see World of Tanks… they decide now they are a World of Tanks fan. They launch the game, they play some mean war machines; maybe with friends or maybe alone, maybe for half an hour or maybe for 5. Maybe they have a game they take a photo of to show a friend, then it’s time to power down the console or go to another game. Once they’ve put the controller down or quit to dashboard, they stop being a world of tanks fan. Their interest starts when they want to play, and leaves when they don’t. They don’t get off and think “now I get to watch Ben and lam before I go to bed” they don’t think “I’ll listen to a podcast on tanks on my way to work” they don’t think “well this is to easy to do high damage there for it’s unfair to medium and better players so I want the 850 alpha’s nerfed”. The playerbase has been directed towards minimal involvement in the game since they started it, from the meta to the tutorials. This minimal involvement is why, I think, console has lower levels of viewers for Twitch and less subs for YouTube as a percentage of total or active playerbase.
In conclusion, by reading this you are not the average console player. By taking the time to care about the game you lose that title. Does that invalidate your opinion? Hell no. Does it mean your opinion is drowned out? Believe it or not, no. Does it mean that the people who have the biggest say in what happens go off the numbers to help the people who probably least care about being helped or that even know they’re being helped? Well I’ll leave that up to you. The point of writing this was not to make anyone’s opinion lesser, nor to make anyone’s mean more. It was purely to point out some perspective. However well meant our best intentions can be, if based on wrong assumptions it can cause there to be no positive outcome. I hope from this people can maybe step back to get a better view of the whole picture. Do some research of your own, run my numbers again, run your own numbers, read some more articles, do whatever you can to find out as much information as possible and always welcome more.
So I’ll end on a question back for all of you, well maybe a couple. For starters do you agree with what I’ve said and if not why? But the main questions, if I’m right, does this change your outlook? And what do you think it means for the future of the game?
*optional extra of self promotion* [If you enjoyed this or simply want to know more, in my recent Rippa Rambles (yes I talk this much as well) I go into more details about the console specific meta and how it affects things. It can be found on YouTube here in or on Soundcloud here and don’t forget to let me know what YOU think]. You can also visit Jack’s YouTube channel for gameplay and other commentary here.
*Optional extra sorta footnote* [Also (I know i don’t shut up) a big thanks to Rita and Deco for encouraging me to write this and for deeming it worthy of posting, and to all of you who have read this far!]