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Why Does Halo 4's Population Keep Descreasing

OP Fruitcake Gypsy

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But COD is the best game on the 360. The majority of people enjoy that gameplay. They find it to be a quality game worth spending time playing. That's the point.

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I don't think the general public is aware of the specific reasons (gameplay wise) for not enjoying the game like we are, but it all stems from the same thing: Halo has changed. Because of this - people have stopped playing - despite purchasing the game. They may attribute it to something else (being unaware of why the game is suddenly less enjoyable) but there is one constant in all of this: the ever changing Halo gameplay. That must be looked at first.
Well, thanks for clearing that up. Nonetheless, there is nothing to support the claim that the decline in population is due to changes in gameplay. Moreover, there isn't even concrete evidence that this drop in population is something abnormal. I have voiced my opinion on this argument before. For numerous reasons, it's a complete waste of our time. First of all, there is not enough statistical information from the time before Reach. Meaning anyone can spout any numbers about the Halo 3 population and how it held at least 200,000 players at any moment all the way until 2009. A claim I refuted with links to the Bungie.net front page through 2008 to 2009, showing population no larger than that of Halo 4 now. What makes you think that the claim that Halo 3 held a higher population longer is any more reliable?

Secondly, if the population decrease is something out of the ordinary, if Halo 3 really held its population longer, what can we say about it? Who can actually prove that it's the gameplay that drew players away? Simple deduction like "I don't like it, my friends don't like it, therefore other people don't like it" is fallacious because it's based on a very small and carefully selected sample size that in no way represents the general population.

At the same time you are so sure that the population decline was caused by changes in gameplay, you ignore the fact that Halo hasn't been able to maintain a stable population since MW2 released in 2009. You completely ignore the fact that since 2007, the consumer interests may simply have changed.

There is a plethora of plausible reasons why the population dropped after the first weeks. I don't completely deny it could have been the changes in gameplay. But when considering the viability of reasons, I consider it much likely that it's simply because Halo isn't the king of the market anymore. That there are other games people would rather play, regardless of if the gameplay of Halo had changed or not.

The whole argument is so uncertain. Even the premise for the argument is unreliable. The only purpose of the argument is to try to use population as some sort of proof that there is something wrong with the game. But when I consider the most popular game on the market is also the one I consider to have the least gameplay value, it really makes the people, who don't like that Halo has become more like CoD but still argue there is something wrong with the population of Halo, a bunch of hypocrites. Ultimately, I don't care of Halo's population dropped to 100,000 players a day if that meant we would get a proper game that doesn't try to imitate the most popular game to achieve more popularity.

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So you're telling me a brand new Halo game that has been marketed out the -Yoink!-, sold better than any previous Halo title, and has over 15 MILLION more Xbox Live users available to it than Halo 3 can barely even match the population numbers of Halo 3?

And then you're telling me arguing that Halo's population isn't a good indication of peoples like/dislike of the game is stupid?
Who bought the game? Aside from the fans who have been around at least since Halo 3? If you think about it, those fifteen million new users are also the users who haven't experienced the change. None of them could possibly have left because the game has changed. Yes, more people have stopped playing the game than at this point in the lifetime of Halo 3. But how large percentage of those people were initially even ready to invest a lot of time to the game compared to Halo 3?

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I know you and I are in the same boat as to the direction we'd rather see Halo go (aka back to its roots), but I'm not understanding why you're so adamant about Halo 4's population not reinforcing the fact that the changes made are obviously turning players away.
Why? Because I couldn't care less about the popularity of Halo, and because I know that the reasons we don't perceive the game as a fun experience aren't the same reasons why an average Joe wouldn't consider it fun. I have enough objectivity left in me that I can consider other reasons for the population decrease.

At this point, you also know that I really hate the population argument with a passion. Now, why do you think I only linked one page showing the population of Halo 3 from December 2007? One sample hardly tells anything, it could have as well been a fluctuation and the actual population could have been higher. The Wayback Machine that is the only source for information on Halo 3 player data through old captures of Bungie.net front pages that show the population at the moment of capture is unreliable. Whenever I link those stats, I spend most of my time looking for page captures that work. Those are only a fraction of the total amount. As far as December 2007 goes, 5th was the only day that actually showed the data.

Now, how can we talk about something we have no reliable data about? How can we know Halo 3 didn't go through a similar phase as Halo 4? Because we remember how much the population counter showed? Do we really remember the actual numbers, or do we only remember the rare occasions when the counter was abnormally high? Ultimately, we know nothing about the Halo 3 population for a fact. We only assume it was higher than that of Halo 4, but we can never prove that. How can we debate if the main premise of the whole debate is unreliable?

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The population argument seems extremely valid to me.
But it isn't. The premise of the argument is that Halo 3 had a higher population longer than Halo 4. For the argument to have any reliability, that premise needs to be true. But can you really prove me that Halo 3 indeed managed to keep its population more stable than Halo 4? I know I can't, neither can I prove you wrong if you say that. The premise is unreliable, that makes the argument unreliable. And even if the premise was reliable, there are numerous potential reasons for population decline. So why change? I can question every piece of the argument in lack of valid proof, doesn't make it a very good argument, does it?
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Why? Because I could care less about the popularity of Halo,
I think you mean "couldn't care less". "Could care less" means you still care
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Why? Because I could care less about the popularity of Halo,
I think you mean "couldn't care less". "Could care less" means you still care
It was a typo. Thanks for the notice. I've been reading too much "could care less" in the last days. :)
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Or the fact that a new gaming console came out. The Wii U has been keeping me off of my xbox for a while, plus I've just been playing other games. Halo doesn't have to be the only game people ever play you know.
With all due respect, this is the worst excuse I've heard for this game yet and there have been many. This one is worthy of a -Yoink-. Nobody has switched to the Wii U and if so it would affect all games equal. Fact is 343 took a huge gamble thinking they could make a better CoD than Cod with a Halo label and it's backfiring big time. Sad thing is that so many CoD players were getting sick of the same game every year THEY might have actually switched to Halo had the core experience stayed the same but now why bother. Halo is now a lesser CoD than the tired CoD series......

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@tsassi

I think you're misrepresenting my assertion and lumping me in with the "Halo 3 had a better population than Halo 4, therefore Halo 4 sucks" crowd.

I'm simply stating my opinion that the changes made to Halo are the largest contributing factor in the stagnation of Halo's population. I realize there isn't irrefutable evidence proving that Halo 3 held a higher population than Halo 4 during this same time-span, but there is enough evidence to suggest that Halo 3's active population was around the same as Halo 4's - some data says more, some data says less.

There certainly aren't reliable figures available to make a concrete claim, so alas, we are stuck in a sort of limbo.

The important thing I'm trying to explain is the fact that Halo 4 outsold Halo 3 at launch. Absolutely crushed 3's numbers. On top of that, Halo 4 has available to it the largest player base in history.

In the fall of '07, Xbox Live had 8 million unique users.

In the spring of 2010, that number was reported to be over 23 million unique users.

So why then have we not seen a dramatic increase in Halo's population?


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If you think about it, those fifteen million new users are also the users who haven't experienced the change. None of them could possibly have left because the game has changed.
This is a very valid point, but again, it's not the awareness of change that is driving people away from Halo, it's the change itself and what it has done to the game.

I strongly believe that because Halo attempted to become more like COD and appeal to the masses, it actually lost any upper hand it had - that being its easily differentiable (unique) gameplay.

People don't have to understand how the game has changed from previous titles, or even be aware of it. That change can still influence their enjoyment and loyalty to the game.

So I go back to this:

More people on Xbox Live + More people being marketed to + More people buying the game = The same or less people playing it than the previous one?

That doesn't add up to me.

I think it's because Halo doesn't provide a unique and exciting enough experience for the masses and has pissed off a significant portion of its loyal fan base. This is derived from the changes made to the gameplay.

I'd love to hear what you think as you seem to be one of the few that can effectively communicate your opinions. But understand, I'm not trying to claim Halo 3 had better population numbers than Halo 4 - I'm pointing out and discussing the reasons as to why Halo 4's population numbers aren't irrefutably better than Halo 3/Reach's.

The way I see it, Halo's online population should have steadily increased over each title. Instead, we are arguing over whether or not the population has stayed the same or even decreased.

I blame that on the game itself. You and others are free to blame it on Santa Claus for all I care.
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"the changes made are obviously turning players away".

How do you know that? Can you speak to every person that bought the game and ask them why or why they aren't playing Halo 4?

Back in 2007, COD wasn't at its peak yet. Halo was still the most popular shooter that everybody wanted to play. It had the most hype surrounding it. There was no alternative for a casual audience. Halo's social playlists were more popular. Competitive players try to make it seem as if every single Halo player was a competitive player, when in fact, the majority has always been the casual audience.
Halo 2 and Halo 3 featured extremely unique gameplay that carved out a niche in the FPS market.

With the changes to Halo Reach and Halo 4, Halo as a game is no longer so unique. Bungie and now 343 attempted to merge Halo with that "COD style" gameplay that appeals so much to the casual player - with the intent on stealing some of that casual player base from COD.

Unfortunately, what ended up happening is the casual player still prefers COD and when they look at Halo, they no longer see a unique game that can hold their attention...they see a hybrid Halo/COD -Yoink!-...and believe me, the pure -Yoink!- that COD gameplay provides is much superior to this mutant Halo/COD hybrid we have now. So the casuals play COD...and we all know the competitive community isn't exactly happy with Halo's "evolution."

Halo was special because it was so unique. That's why people played it. It offered gameplay that specifically differentiated itself from other games. Halo was Halo. There wasn't anything like it (on console).

I believe the biggest mistake made by Bungie/343/Microsoft was to think they needed to bring COD elements to Halo to try and win over that "casual gamer."

No!

Halo should have stayed HALO. This would provide competitive players with the game they want and casuals with the game they know. It gets lost on a lot of people that while classic Halo was extremely competitive, it still allowed casual players to have a great time too!

A game based around competitive gameplay can devolve into a less competitive "casual experience."

It is very difficult to start out with a game based around casual gameplay elements and attempt to make it competitive.

We can't know 100% what is turning players away from Halo, but try to realize the correlation of the changes made to Halo and the stagnation of its population. I realize it is extremely easy to blame a great host of other factors as the cause, but take a moment and open your mind to the possibility that Halo's changes have hurt more than helped...because, and you can't deny this, it certainly hasn't helped.


The casual player still prefers COD? Of course! Taking over COD's casual audience isn't going to happen in a blink of an eye. COD is bigger than Halo ever was. It took Call of Duty three games to make Halo part of history.

You say Halo should have stayed Halo because it provided competititive players with the game they want and casuals with the game the know? LOL You dont get it do you? Those casuals don't want to play classic Halo anymore! Why would they go back to that, when COD gives them more variety, customization, and more options on how to play the game? That Halo game is history dude, it will not be successful in today's market. Bungie knew it, Microsoft knows it, and 343 knows it.

You might be loud in the internet, but the fact is, you are the minority. The casuals are the majority and that is why they focus on pleasing that crowd first. When/if 343 adds a classic playlist, I bet you it will be one of the least popular playlists. But of course nobody can change your mind. You think that by making Halo like it was before(stripping away any sort of customization and variety), it will bring back the casual audience screaming for victory!!

Nice dream you have there.
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You say Halo should have stayed Halo because it provided competititive players with the game they want and casuals with the game the know? LOL You dont get it do you? Those casuals don't want to play classic Halo anymore! Why would they go back to that, when COD gives them more variety, customization, and more options on how to play the game? That Halo game is history dude, it will not be successful in today's market. Bungie knew it, Microsoft knows it, and 343 knows it.
Barely being able to match Halo 3's population sure sounds like a success to me!

Dude, you have very little understanding of what I'm talking about and even less knowledge as to my opinions on the direction I believe Halo should have taken. So just stop.

Please, provide us with a post of substance instead of attacking me for these preconceived notions from your little head.
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You say Halo should have stayed Halo because it provided competititive players with the game they want and casuals with the game the know? LOL You dont get it do you? Those casuals don't want to play classic Halo anymore! Why would they go back to that, when COD gives them more variety, customization, and more options on how to play the game? That Halo game is history dude, it will not be successful in today's market. Bungie knew it, Microsoft knows it, and 343 knows it.
Barely being able to match Halo 3's population sure sounds like a success to me!

Dude, you have very little understanding of what I'm talking about and even less knowledge as to my opinions on the direction I believe Halo should have taken. So just stop.

Please, provide us with a post of substance instead of attacking me for these preconceived notions from your little head.


in his defense. you have no idea the actual size of his head.

All i ever wanted from this thread was more reliable data than peak charts. Why can we not get that?
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You might be loud in the internet, but the fact is, you are the minority. The casuals are the majority and that is why they focus on pleasing that crowd first. When/if 343 adds a classic playlist, I bet you it will be one of the least popular playlists. But of course nobody can change your mind. You think that by making Halo like it was before(stripping away any sort of customization and variety), it will bring back the casual audience screaming for victory!!

Nice dream you have there.
You know what I agree, most of the population which actually gives a damn about halo pales in comparison to the casual Market but in the words of sony "The casual market is a nice distraction".While it would be simple for 343i to abondon the "hardcore gamers" in pursuit of the casuals, it would be detrimental to the franchise while highly profitable because previous IP's which have attempted to do so have ALWAYS suffered a decline in quality.

I would have suggested that rather than appealing to a market which will quickly buy and migrate to the next product,343 should evolve Halo into a game which can be enjoyd by Hardcore gamers (Notice I didnt use the words Hardcore Halo fans meaning Halo didnt need to go back to halo 3 ).This way the casual Market buys halo day one/christmas just for the brand and the 343i gets its hardcore community.

Its a win win situation would you say ?
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I'm simply stating my opinion that the changes made to Halo are the largest contributing factor in the stagnation of Halo's population. I realize there isn't irrefutable evidence proving that Halo 3 held a higher population than Halo 4 during this same time-span, but there is enough evidence to suggest that Halo 3's active population was around the same as Halo 4's - some data says more, some data says less.

I strongly believe that because Halo attempted to become more like COD and appeal to the masses, it actually lost any upper hand it had - that being its easily differentiable (unique) gameplay.
And this is where I disagree. I accept the changes as a potential reason, but I wouldn't consider the reason the largest contributor. I definitely agree that by changing Halo lost the uniqueness advantage it had. I even warned everyone about it right from the start. Still, I have no reason to assume that's the biggest reason.

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More people on Xbox Live + More people being marketed to + More people buying the game = The same or less people playing it than the previous one?

That doesn't add up to me.
It could if you understood that Halo in general may not be the game people want to play anymore. A game is bound to go through stagnation at one point or another regardless of if it changes or not. How long do you think CoD is still going to last? Do you think people will still be playing Modern Warfare 6 in five years even if the game stayed as it is? Decade is a long time to keep people's interests in a single franchise. As nice as it would be to simply fix all these issues from scratch and see the population pour in and achieve an all time high, I highly doubt it's possible. I already deduced long ago that if 343i were ever going to go extend the franchise's lifespan, they would have to do something much more than copy CoD or return Halo back to its roots. After all, players have already experienced both.

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I blame that on the game itself. You and others are free to blame it on Santa Claus for all I care.
And I have no problem if you do. But using it as an argument to justify why Halo needs to turn back to what it was doesn't work to anyone's favor. If you think about it: if you can't convince me, someone who knows the game is flawed, that the population is indicative that there is something wrong with the game, what makes you think you could convince anyone else? After all, I'm mainly against the population argument because it's a waste of time and doesn't work in anyone's favor.
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You say Halo should have stayed Halo because it provided competititive players with the game they want and casuals with the game the know? LOL You dont get it do you? Those casuals don't want to play classic Halo anymore! Why would they go back to that, when COD gives them more variety, customization, and more options on how to play the game? That Halo game is history dude, it will not be successful in today's market. Bungie knew it, Microsoft knows it, and 343 knows it.
Barely being able to match Halo 3's population sure sounds like a success to me!

Dude, you have very little understanding of what I'm talking about and even less knowledge as to my opinions on the direction I believe Halo should have taken. So just stop.

Please, provide us with a post of substance instead of attacking me for these preconceived notions from your little head.


Its a fresh start, and a new developer. They are not focused on the population being bigger than Halo 3. They are focused on today and their vision on what the new Halo should be. They are trying to attract a new fanbase, it's kinda like starting over. Halo's past is irrelevant at this point. The fact that you're stll bringing up Halo 3's population being bigger is silly. It was bigger because it was still the FPS to beat, no other FPS was as popular. Things are obviously different now. 343 isn't going to dethrone COD in their first try. For the record, Halo 4 remains #2 on the xbl actitivity charts. It sold $300 million in the opening week, a new record for the Halo franchise. Lastly, it got great reviews and won numerous awards. Not bad for a fresh start. How is this a failure again? I guess you fail to see the business side of things, you don't know what failure is.

How am I attacking you? Wtf lol I'm simply debating.
Besides the butchering of custom games being the center of my lack of interest for Halo 4, I think it's a lack of a serious ranking system. I have the armor I want, ironically from beating the campaign not any multiplayer achievement. Why even bother playing more?

There's literally no incentive to keep playing, other than the gameplay itself. That's alright, but when you start realizing all the little problems, it keeps you from going back. The DMR is an auto-headshot machine, and there's no reason to use anything else. Don't use PV? Guess you're at a massive disadvantage. Tired of getting the exact same map over and over again? Tough luck, we're stuck with the voting system. Want to get back into your favorite playlist but haven't played in a while? No social option, guess you're stuck with your high--Yoink- truskill rating and are going to enjoy a royal butt-kicking until you go down.

Halo 4's multiplayer is a lake with the depth of a puddle. There's a lot to splash around in for a while, but then you realize you can't take a proper swim.

Edit: Looking at that chart, I love how the map pack literally did nothing to slow the decline of players. DLC is not a solve-all, 343. Fundamental problems require fundamental solutions.

Guess they didn't learn from Reach. You have to make big changes fast, otherwise... Look what happens!
Hello im posting the real reason halo has decreasing numbers i was the type of guy that has been with halo since the begining i have always defended halo on every front of its weaknesses lets look at halo CE great game that changed game history for the better it was the best game of its time other than zelda games that could possibly rival it now lets look at halo 2 it made Xbox a golden god its once rivaling predicisor ps2 with its awesome gta games and other good games from naughty dog and capcom etc... was now a shadow to xbox`s golden glory ALL thanks to Halo 2 amazing MP then the next gen Halo 3 was Not a God but An immortal being worshiped by EVERYONE it was not a golden game it was the worlds first PLATNIUM MP game that has ever been in existence it stayed alive and strong for like a solid 5 years it was like the God of Gods of video games if you didn`t play H3 you were either poor or stupid for not owning H3 but then they made Odst it was by my understanding a money maker to help make there next game reach but then something happend they changed halo halo did not need to be changed it was perfect armour abilities loadouts messed up inviz unlikable graphics regardless of them being better H3 graphics is where it should have stayed they should have just tweaked things but instead they changed it now all hope is lost bungie left 343 will never be able to repair halos broken wings instead they keep the game in a continus free fall down a vacume never to be king again lets look at what all they have messed up first the game is microsofts -Yoink- making people get sinslusly banned and people getting free dlc and in doing so ripping off the LE users and espcially the map pass buyers second very limited custom game options downgraded forge true it has magnets and shadows and gravity voluumes and trait zones however no zoom for monitior no coloring mongoose no unsc flying vechile and much more plus still no file shareing which should have been avalible at launch and the MP worst i`ve ever seen in any game to date they have very few gametypes and they rotate playlist like snipers and we still dont have -Yoinking!- grifball you get xp capped not only per day but also per game you do not get more xp for doing good scratch that you make maybe 100 200 more i mean seriosly i was 70 the 20th and had to wait till the first to level if i played it wouuld mean wasting commendation xp and oh i almost forgot xp doesnt role over plus they nerfed almost all weapons in the 30 megabyte patch 343i has not only failied to impress me they have failed as a industry i have even seen an article stating master chief may be taken out of halo games so says josh holmes i really hope that they can learn that this direction is going the wrong way 343i i callenge you to make halo 5 not suck bring back cortana somehow keep chief have ranked and social playlist dont be microsofts -Yoink- and please please turn this face palm terrible game series around b4 its to late come out with a forge world like map add griffball multiteam doubles snipers swat and a social playlist take away this stupid daily cap add more ranks and fix file sharing if you do exactly what i say i swear on my life may i be struck dead if what i say isnt truthful your game will be back in the game slowly but surely i promise... Sorry for my many many spelling errors Halo`s loyal yet sciptical fan XShadowSlay3rX :)
hands down: the spec. code disaster.

posted on the dedicated thread three times in a span of several weeks before 343 took it down and received no code, message, or news on the matter.
The fact is that the market has changed, and the player-base has grown up. I've loved Halo since the original Xbox days and have played well over 10,000 games online as I've aged with this franchise. Fact is, it was fun and possible for me to do that when I (and I'm guessing most of you) were younger and only had the responsibilities of school and a little minimum wage part-time job to worry about.
But we all have big-boy problems now, and I specifically don't have the free time to play a game as competitively as I used to, and that's just how I am by nature. I loved the good ol' days of Halo with your friends, and when people actually used their mics and were helpful to you. Back when people online would rather joke around and have fun, while also wanting to win. I remember the first game of Halo 2 I ever played was on Burial Mounds/Assault, and I asked my team what to do with the bomb and they actually explained the game-type to me. Go ahead and ask that nowadays, but I hope you have thick skin if you do.
I personally very much dislike this Halo, but continue to play through it due to nostalgia reasons probably. I still get competitive with it, but the years have not been kind to my Halo skills, as I'm pretty horrible now. That's not why I dislike it though, because I can put up with dying if it's done fairly. This game lacks fairness though. I loved the old, " everybody starts evenly, and that'll change as the game goes on" style of play. But now that's all gone, because of load-outs and abilities. I would have rather they just stuck with H3 equipment than implement all of these nonsensical toys.
But I digress, because as I said, the market and online player-base has changed. Casual games like CoD have their place, and that's okay. I play CoD whenever I feel like winding down and just aimlessly running around, pressing X to respawn more than any other button on the controller. The online community has that relaxed attitude in this day and age, where they just want to play and feel as if they're being rewarded, but in reality it's like teaching a dog to "sit" by giving them treats over and over again. You haven't really taught them to sit, you've taught them to sit to get a treat. Likewise, the CoD player hasn't gotten good at the game, they just play a lot and so unlock everything.
I'm sorry, but it all comes down to the obvious answer of business. You can think that the games are made "just for you" all you want, but the end-game is always money and profit. Why do you think these changes were made? Not to better the game, but to attract everybody possible. But it's so bad that NOBODY approves of the product. $220+ million in sales and only 90,000 players on at night on any day of the week? Come on.
I'll end by saying that the game industry in general has fallen many pegs down from what it used to be. I feel like a degree in computer science is one of the best career choices you could make in the modern world, because the video game industry is one of the only industries I know of where you can flat out give an incomplete, lazy, sloppy product, and still get paid handsomely. And somehow justify your $60 product with lame excuses as to why it is the way it is, and yet people will allow it and do nothing to change this culture of extortion. You're professionals, this is your job, you get paid to...well, I don't know anymore.
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Added a poll to OP to gauge community opinion accurately.
Accurately? Hardly. The answer may be neither choice. In fact, the premise that the pop is decreasing is itself debatable.

I know, you have charts, possibly as precise as your poll.
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Added a poll to OP to gauge community opinion accurately.
Accurately? Hardly. The answer may be neither choice. In fact, the premise that the pop is decreasing is itself debatable.

I know, you have charts, possibly as precise as your poll.
on that note the poll is incredibly bias as there is no way to answer without inadvertently agreeing that halo 4 is failing.
Maybe a lot of people purchased Halo 4 because they thought they were buying a Halo game? After a short while I think most of these people just realised how broken and silly the game is and went back to a Bungie game.
How about the economy? Maybe a video game and possibly a console are the kind of things people are doing without nowadays? Xbox Live Gold? It's not so much the costs but more the fact that they're easier to give up for other more important things.

Also, perhaps the population is not decreasing, but shifting. A lot of kids that played CE might actually have girlfriends now. Some may even have kids of their own, who might not be playing Dad's old games. SPARTAN Ops might help bring in a new crowd, but frankly either the Xbox controller needs a major overhaul in order to get the kid's attention, or else they need to try harder to get Kinect to work, or both, or something entirely different.

Where's the statistic that says console FPS games are bigger than ever?

Is it possible for a Sci-Fi shooter to be more appealing to the 18-34 demographic than a modern combat shooter, especially with so many recent young war veterans around?

Finally, just because we played Halo for hours, perhaps days on end doesn't mean the new folks are, or want to. With attention spans seeming to be getting so much shorter, it's possible that people are playing less Halo because their friends pull them away to some other game, only to be pulled away from that game, etc., and there are a LOT of games out there.

I agree that population is no indication of how well a game is liked.
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