Tag Archives: Raptr

Raptr is Dead as of September 30

Last month I asked if Raptr was dead.  Now it seems that I asked the question close to the point where there would be no doubt.

I peeked over at the site today and found a notification on the main page with a link to a press release.

The press release announced the end of the service.

September 1, 2017

Today we are announcing that we will be shutting down Raptr on September 30, 2017.  The world is different today than when we first launched Raptr.  Microsoft, Nvidia, and AMD all have their own game optimization tools now and they do a fine job.  So it’s time for us to get out of the way.

We are sad to say goodbye to Raptr. Many of you have invested a lot of time on Raptr so if you’d like to export your tracked gameplay data, follow the instructions below:

  • Go to Raptr.com
  • Sign in to your Raptr account
  • Once you are signed in, click here to get your gameplay data.

If you have any other questions, please send us feedback.

We are proud of the service we built and the community who helped grow Raptr to be used by millions of gamers worldwide.  Thank you for your support for the past 10 years.

Dennis “Thresh” Fong
Co-founder and CEO

It is nice that you can get a JSON file with your play time records in it.  Not sure what I will do with that, but I can sock it away in a directory to rediscover some day.

Here at the end of the service, my final top five games ranked by play time tracked are:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EVE Online
  3. Minecraft
  4. Rift
  5. Lord of the Rings Online

And so it goes.  You can look at the site for the remainder of the month.  After that it is likely to be some sort of link ad site and all that will be left is a Wikipedia entry and whatever the Internet Archive saved off.  Gamer social networks are not a viable business.

Addendum: Raptr sent out an email update about its shut down which was pretty much identical to the quote above, but which also included this tidbit:

Note: If you are a Plays.tv user, we want you to know Plays.tv launched as an independent company in January 2017 and is not affected by Raptr’s shutting down.

So I guess we know what Thresh is up to; trying to make Plays.tv a thing.

Is Raptr Dead or What?

I know the site is still up, and I can log in when I go there, but otherwise things seem pretty dead around Raptr these days.

I actually uninstalled the Raptr client a few months back because it wasn’t tracking games I was playing with any accuracy any more.  Primarily the problem was with EVE Online, which Raptr has always seemed to have problems with, though I am not sure why.  Both Discord and the Twitch client (which used to be the Curse client until Twitch bought them, and which I only keep around to keep my World of Warcraft addons up to date) both seem to know when I am playing EVE Online, so it isn’t like CCP is trying to hide the operation of their client.

Anyway, Raptr was gone.  I filled out the little exit survey to tell them about my issue and went on my way.

Recently though I have noticed that some of the instant messenger channels through which I keep track of people had started to fade.  Yahoo is the primary culprit here, having gone through a bout of cutting off third-party support to build a wall around itself in hopes that people would like it more.  No more watching multiple accounts via Trillian.  Instead you have to use their ad-tastic and awkward client.  I especially like how they now refuse to push email notifications to the built-in iOS mail app.  They couldn’t bring themselves to cut it off completely.  Instead they make it slightly less useful and pop up a dire warning about third party apps when you log into mail on their site.

So I put Raptr back on my computer.  It was one of the IM avenues I shared with Potshot, and with the coming of the the Mordor expansion and exploring plans to return to LOTRO I though it might be a good idea to have that available. (My Raptr friend’s list is mostly people who have not logged into the site in ages.)

However, since I put it back on the client has failed to log on most days I have tried.

My account is still good.  I can log onto their site directly with those credentials.  The client, however, fails.

I know Raptr has been looking for a new path, having failed, as so many have before them, to find the magic to create a general online gaming community portal.  They tried game tracking and instant messenger, repeating what founder Dennis Fong did when he launched Xfire.

That was the bit I signed up for.

They tried doing online forums and putting out play time stats and the like.  Then they tried their hand and optimizing your graphic settings, playing the utility role.  Then they dumped their console support to focus on the PC master race.  Then they got into video with their Plays.tv stuff, which I turned off almost immediately.

And now, looking at their site, their latest press releases and blog updates are almost a year and a half old at this point.  The place seems dead.  When I uninstalled the Raptr client again, even the exit survey was closed, like nobody was home.

So what is happening at Raptr?  Have they just given up?  Does anybody care?

Addendum: Dead was the correct guess.

Five Years of Raptr Tracking

I hit my five year anniversary with Raptr this week.  It is today actually.

RaptrLogo

Raptr, for those who do not know, is a gamer social network, an instant messenger client, a streaming platform, an advertising venture, a producer of gaming statistics, and a client that will track your video game play time.  Founded by Dennis “Thresh” Fong, it is essentially the second coming of Xfire, which was also founded by Dennis “Thresh” Fong and later sold Viacom.  Thresh is a matter of legend in some gaming circles, as the Wikipedia bio I linked will attest.  I used to be an avid reader of his old site, Firing Squad.

I also used to use Xfire back in the day and picked up Raptr five years back to track my game play time to see what I was really doing on that front.

I rarely use any of the other Raptr features.  Occasionally Potshot will send me an IM via the Raptr client, since we both use it, and I will occasionally log into a game when Raptr announces that a friend has just logged in.  I also used to be quite fond of the individual stats and summaries they used to offer.  Their individual yearly review was quite nice, but they stopped doing that a couple of years back.

Which means that I mostly leave it installed to track my game time.  To mark this five year anniversary I thought I would lay out the top 20 games that Raptr has tracked me playing.

So here we have the list, with the top 20 presented in order to the percentage of the total hours tracked.  So it is Rank, Percentage, Game, and (Raptr ranking/rep), the last being how I stack up in hours played versus the community. (details here)  Basically, Elite puts me in the top 10% of the community for hours played (plus achievements earned in some cases) for that game.

The ranking/rep chart

The ranking/rep chart

The list:

  1. 26.50%World of Warcraft (Elite)
  2. 18.12%EVE Online (Elite)
  3. 8.60%Rift (Elite)
  4. 7.28%EverQuest II (Elite*)
  5. 6.86%Minecraft (Elite)
  6. 6.24%Lord of the Rings Online (Elite)
  7. 5.10%World of Tanks (Elite)
  8. 4.86%Civilization V (Elite)
  9. 2.99%EverQuest (Hardcore)
  10. 1.65%Need for Speed: World (Elite)
  11. 1.46%Diablo III (Hardcore)
  12. 1.07%Defense Grid (Elite)
  13. 0.82%War Thunder (Hardcore)
  14. 0.76%Guild Wars 2 (Dedicated)
  15. 0.53%Empires & Allies (Hardcore)
  16. 0.44%Age of Empires II Age of Kings (Elite)
  17. 0.33%Path of Exile (Dedicated)
  18. 0.29%Neverwinter (Dedicated)
  19. 0.29%Total War: Rome II (Dedicated)
  20. 0.21%Torchlight II (Dedicated)

I suppose the top two are no surprise.  Or maybe they are to some readers.  To me they are not.  Years of playing WoW with a regular group bears out this number, even through the Cataclysm expansion.  And if anything, the EVE Online percentage is probably low.  Raptr has problems tracking it some days, so it should probably be much closer to the WoW number.

Then we get into the strange zone.

That Rift is number three ought to strike you as odd.  It benefits from Raptr tracking it accurately and all of my play time with the game, including when the instance group went to Telara, being within the five year tracking window.  So despite the fact that I didn’t start playing until nearly nine months after it launched and stopped not too long after the first expansion, it still represents a pretty good chunk of the last five years of play time.

Likewise, the ranking of EverQuest II is largely determined by the time frame measured.  If it had been a 12 year window, it probably would have been the top title.  A three year window would have seen it far down the list.  But within this five year time frame came EverQuest II Extended and a revival of my interest in the game for a bit.  And, just a side not, EQII and EQIIE are tracked as different games on Raptr, so that is the combined hours for both games. (I would be “Elite” if they were lumped together, hence the asterisk.  Otherwise I am “Hardcore” for EQII and “Elite” for EQIIE.)

And then there is Minecraft, which I started playing in June of this year and yet is in the number five spot for five years of game play.  Clearly that hooked me.  It even beat out Lord of the Rings Online, which I have played “seriously” a couple of times in the last five years.  Had I guessed at the ranking, I would have put LOTRO further up the list.

There was a time when I played a lot of World of Tanks and when Civilization V was a regular thing for me.  Then we are finally out of the all elite category.

EverQuest is a game from a bygone age. I spend more time posting about it than playing it I am sure.  I played all I could play of Need for Speed: World, and then it was closed down.

Diablo III and Defense Grid aren’t bad numbers for essentially single player games.  I feel like I have played more Diablo III than that.  Meanwhile, I am elite for Defense Grid because it only had so much content and I didn’t feel like chasing every single achievement. (Just most of them.)

War Thunder I ebb and flow on.  I reinstalled it last month and played it a bit.

The numbers reported for Guild Wars 2 though are completely bogus.  Raptr counts time spent in the launcher patching as game time.  It does that with EverQuest sometimes too, so that percentage is inflated as well.  But the GW2 number is mostly installing and patching the game.

Empires & Allies, a Zynga Facebook game, and the most embarrassing item on the list.  At least it wasn’t FarmVille.

And then we’re down below one half of one percent.  You can see which of the heirs to Diablo II I ended up playing the most along with a couple other titles, including a single MMORPG.

So there it is, five years of video game play time summed up.

Now the question is, what to do with Raptr.  Even a year back I was pondering if keeping it around was worth the CPU cycles.  It hasn’t given me a personal statistics report since my 2013 play time summary.  I suppose adding data to the Raptr pool helps generate their monthly stats for their own blog, though their relevance to the broader gaming world is pretty tenuous.  League of Legends, which tops the Raptr list, is not being played twelve times as much as Minecraft, as their October stats might lead you to believe.  Raptr represents a self-selected group of gamers that trend to the more hard core and much more to PvP, just like its predecessor, Xfire.

And the gamer social network aspect… well, I am still not sure if there is any real value in such a thing, given all of the other avenues for gamers to connect.

So does Raptr have any value?

And What of Raptr?

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?

 

 

Raptr Corrects My Perceptions – What I Played in 2013

As they did last year, Raptr sent me a nice summary of games that it tracked me playing over the past calendar year.  So I now have my gaming summary for 2013.

This is pretty much why I bother to run Raptr.  It quantifies my play time.

The report for 2012 wasn’t a big surprise.  The three games I said I was playing most of the year, Rift, EVE Online, and World of Tanks,  ended up being the top 3 in about the order I expected.  The three together represented 71% of the play time that Raptr tracked for me.

Raptr2012MostPlayed

I wasn’t keen on the circle displays, but the parity between my fantasy and space faring MMO time was pretty even.

For 2013 though, I have to admit that the numbers surprised me a bit.  My guess as to how things might stack up looked something like:

  • EVE Online in the #1 spot, what with the war in Fountain and Delve along with deployments to Curse.
  • Something close to a four-way tie between Rift, World of Tanks, Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft, each of which I played for about a season in 2013, but none of which I played all year long.
  • Then maybe Neverwinter, War Thunder, and a couple other games that I played in shorter streaks trailing behind

And what did I end up with?  I will put that after the cut in order to develop some moderate level of suspense.  Plus I have a lot (more) dumb graphics in the post that really look like crap and will clutter up the front page.  Go artistic me.

Continue reading

How Bribing Rift Players Brought Raptr to New Heights

Raptr put up a case study blog post about how their cooperation with Trion around Rift lead to an increase in average user play time and hours tracked, complete with a colorful chart that proves that everything went great.

The Chart

The Chart

The numbers being thrown about are a 58% increase in the average daily play time and a 470% increase overall in Rift hours, as tracked by Raptr.

This was accomplished via a two-prong approach.  First, Trion and Raptr offered up a free copy of Rift to players who had time tracked in games that seemed likely to have some overlap of interest.  Skyrim, World of Warcraft, and Torchlight II were mentioned specifically.

Second, Trion and Raptr offered some in-game rewards for people who already played Rift.  I mentioned these prizes as part of a mail bag post back in November.

The goggles reward

The goggles reward

The conclusion offered is pretty much “Huge success!”

During the Raptr Rewards promotion, RIFT’s daily active player numbers among Raptr members increased a full 470%.  By giving away free copies of the game, and giving users exclusive rewards to work towards, Raptr and Trion Worlds managed to lower the game’s barrier to entry and revitalize the game’s community.

However, there are a couple of key items missing.

The first is that there is no mention of how many new players this promotion really brought in.

While I would accept that the entire increase wasn’t current subscribers installing Raptr just to get a special in-game item, I have to think that they represent a large portion of the increase.  If I recall right, this promotion got Potshot to install Raptr again.  And it is a well established fact that players will jump through hoops happily if offered a shiny in-game item.

Then there is the second item, which is more of a glaring omission.

What happened on November 13, 2012, right as that chart begins to spike?

Oh, yeah, the Storm Legion expansion launched.  That alone could account for a lot of the increase, including the ramp up right before the expansion hit, as old players got themselves patched up and ready to go.

You would think that if you were going to count coup honestly, you might bring that detail up as part of your case study.  I am also curious about how the hours tracked continued after the end of the chart, which cut off as numbers were starting to decline.

Ah well.  It was certainly a success for Raptr, as I am sure that it got more people to use their service.  I can see that more people tracked time in Rift.  I just cannot tell if it added a single user to the pool of Rift players.

Now we’ll have to see if Raptr puts up a case study about the EVE Online Catalyst promotion.  That also corresponded with an increase in player activity.

Xfire Numbers Now Imported into Raptr

I was digging through the Raptr settings trying to get it to stop sending me email for really stupid things.

because who needs this crap?

because who needs this crap?

Along the way I found myself in the “Identities and Achievements” section of the settings.  I was wondering if any games I play might have had their achievements synced up with Raptr since I last looked.  So far, no, but I did spy a setting for another service.

RaptrXfire
You can enter your Xfire account.  And, more importantly, you can then import your hours tracked on Xfire into Raptr.

I suppose that shouldn’t be a big deal, since the team at Raptr was the team that did Xfire originally.

The upshot of this is that a bunch of tracking data of mine from Xfire is now reflected in my Raptr profile.  To give you an idea how old some of this data is, I have a new elite ranking for…

RaptrBF1942

I was playing Battlefield 1942… and specifically the Desert Combat mod for it… before EverQuest II came out.

That was back when the main reason I ran Xfire was to be able to launch games and jump onto the same server as a friend.  Is that even still a feature of either Xfire or Raptr any more?