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And What of Raptr? August 10, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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I originally installed Raptr to track my game play time.  I wanted to see what games I was really playing over the course of time.

And for that it has worked out well enough.  I had previously used XFire, which did give me better low level data, but which always had some problem or another.  It was bad at tracking certain games.  I could never, for example, get it to track EVE Online, a game I have played a lot of over the years.  Leaving that out of the mix would be a serious gap.

So, since late 2010, Raptr has been keeping track of my time spent playing games.

The start date is a little late to get a real sense of my gaming history.  EverQuest II is dramatically under represented in hour played if the time frame had been from 2004 or even 2006 forward.  And there is a big chunk of time allocated to EverQuest II Extended, which is still counted as a separate game despite having been merged into EverQuest II in late 2011.  And game tracking isn’t perfect.  There are games it does not track.  Nobody will know, as an example, how many hours I have spent playing Civilization II.

But it gets the basic job done.

And over the years Raptr has added some things that I have found interesting.  I like the friend’s list comparisons for each game, so you can see who else plays a game on your list.  I am okay with the notification of people launching a game.  It often isn’t that helpful, but once in a while it alerts me that Potshot is logging on.  And the yearly gaming reports have some fun trivia.

Raptr2012RareAchi

I was also happy when Raptr let me import my XFire stats, which basically added Battlefield 1942 to my list.

RaptrBF1942

XFire used to be quite useful back in the day for games like that.  You could see your friends online and join them on the server on which they were playing.  That was a huge boon, as the server interface for the game was a mess.

And they have given out some fun stuff as part of promotions done in conjunction with games like Rift and EVE Online.  While I flew around a bit in the Catalyst destroyer in EVE, I think the little Raptr dino pet in Rift is probably my favorite.

Four Enter... plus a dino

Four Enter… plus a dino

Generally speaking, I like Raptr and look at it regularly.

Of course, there have always been parts of Raptr that I haven’t cared for.

I realize, for example, that Raptr probably has to have an IM client built into it, but given nearly a dozen other IM services on my system, it isn’t one I use very often.

They also push a lot of promotions at me in which I have no interest, something that has ramped up since Raptr started giving you points for your play time which you can spend on these special offers.  I have a lot of points and haven’t spent a one.

And they have started integrating other services into the client so I can launch my games, stream on Twitch, optimize my video settings, share screen shots, and record gaming sessions, none of which I particularly want or need.  Even if I wanted to do something like stream, I am not sure the first recommendation for getting started would be “Install Raptr!”

I understand that Raptr has to find its niche and make money, but as each of these features has been added over time, the bits I actually use have been pushed further and further into the background.  Not so long ago I used to be able to just bring up my profile from the taskbar control.  Now I can only bring up the Control Center.

Out of Control

Out of Control

From there I can click on my avatar in the upper right hand corner to get to my profile.  But that is my social media profile (which I no longer use because they don’t want external stuff… like blog posts… linked and I am not interested in having essentially another blog) and I have to click on About to get to the little bit of detail that I actually want to see.

That BoonSmith has a lot of hours...

That BoonSmith has a lot of hours…

I know, cry me a river over the horrible inconvenience I face trying to access a bit of trivial data.

What I installed Raptr for in the first place is mostly still there, even if it gets moved around or hidden more and more often.  But more and more Raptr is cramming stuff into their client that does not interest me, which is not without cost.  Just sitting idle the various Raptr processes are eat up more memory and processing time than Steam.  At some point I have to ask myself if I am the type of person Raptr wants using their service.  Are they burying the bits of their service I like because they would really rather people like me just go away?

 

 

Comments»

1. Ranni, the Flamingbard - August 10, 2014

I feel the same. I used to love Rapt before when it didn’t feel so “in your face” and loaded with, what I see as, bloat. Just wanted to keep track of my game time.

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2. Space Noob - August 10, 2014

Interesting. How much resources does it use up, can you opt out of the social network crap and, more importantly, how easy is it to get rid of? I’ve been thinking of installing a tracker.

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3. bhagpuss - August 10, 2014

I installed it a couple of years ago but within days I uninstalled it.

Ironically, the IM functionality was what I installed it for but I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted, which was open a chat window that would sit inside an MMO and stay there. It kept popping up on top or underneath or something that I didn’t like. I forget what.

I still haven’t found an IM type thing that will integrate itself seamlessly into any MMO and stay always on, always on top and not interfere with gameplay. I’d pay for something like that.

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4. zyngor - August 10, 2014

I’ll admit the only reason I really ever installed Raptr was to pick up Rift for free (right before it went F2P, of course). It seemed too good of a deal (free) to pass, and it got me extra inventory spaces and souls that I would have missed out on otherwise.

I’ll occasionally check in on the site for any good freebies, but other than that I am personally not interested in the tracking functionality.

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5. guest - August 10, 2014

So, what’s your handle? I just started with it a couple weeks ago.

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6. zaphod6502 - August 10, 2014

Raptr (and XFire) are basically marketing spyware apps nowadays. They generate revenue by promoting games and giving out weekend passes and beta keys to encourage people to buy the full game. The tracking of games played is a secondary function to all the other crap they have added over the years.

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7. Rowan - August 10, 2014

I encountered a similar problem with Klout a couple years ago when they stopped tracking the sorts of things I was interested in for a completely different (to me) set of charts and graphs. They lost me as a user since I was clearly not their target audience.

Regarding Raptr, it’s good to track /played, but I don’t use any of the other bells or whistles.

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8. Wilhelm Arcturus - August 10, 2014

@Space Noob – The overhead isn’t that much, at least on my system. Firefox is a much bigger load. I was more surprised that Steam, which is a much bigger client, is as light as it is.

@Bhagpuss – In-game IM client for external service? You know, you only have to mention that to somebody at SOE and they’ll drop EverQuest Next to make such a thing that you control by twitching your nose and wiggling your ears.

@guest – Wilhelm Arcturus

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9. SynCaine - August 11, 2014

Yet another reason I buy everything on Steam now, built-in tracking without all the bloat.

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10. Vatec - August 11, 2014

I’m with zyngor and SynCaine on this one. Only installed Raptr for the Rift promo they had last year. Kept it because I found the game-tracking semi-useful. Pretty much buy everything on Steam now because absolutely everyone is trying to launch a “gaming platform” nowadays (Arc, Glyph, etc.), but why would I want =another= gaming platform when I already own close to 100 titles on an established (and presumably reliable) platform already?

And I’m seriously considering ditching Raptr because of all the added “features.” I have an nVidia card, so I already have GeForce Experience to optimize my video settings and (should I ever lose my mind) stream my gameplay. Those are Raptr features that I will never use. And I don’t use the word “never” very often ;^)

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11. kevinbrill - August 11, 2014

*Shameless Plug*

In case anyone is interested, I’ve been working on building a PC time tracking app. I’ve been running it for around a year now, and if anyone is interested, you can see the site in action at:

http://tempusgameit.com

And here’s my profile page:

http://tempusgameit.com/users/profile/kevin

I’m always looking for people to give it a try and give feedback.

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12. silvertemplar - August 13, 2014

I like to track my gameplay, but one of the main features i always wanted from Raptr/Xfire was seeing what games are popular and how popular they are, especially in the MMO/Online space where it’s sometimes vital to know when a game is on the downswing before you drop cash on it (and realise there’s no one playing). Kinda like knowing whether Wildstar have alot of empty servers now or not.

Anyway, Xfire had a good tool for this back in the day, Raptr never had and they have been hiding these stats deeper and deeper . The only way i seem to find these stats is from some 3rd party sites that somehow get the data.

So i’m also considering ditching it in favor of just going with Steam, although steam has given me issues in the past if i didn’t run the game via Steam . Especially all these freaking UBISOFT games that have yet another launcher that follows on top of the Steam launcher and that seem to totally throw Steam tracking off.

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