Tuesday, August 14, 2007

0.40% (Part Two)

Andrew Shih wrote in with some excellent analysis of the Valve hardware survey numbers.

I think that Valve's survey is a little misleading here, and that the vast majority of the "1.5 Gb to 1.99 Gb" category (24.05%) is actually made up of people with 2Gb. Something about Valve's methodology (recall that it auto-collects data) causes computers to under-report their total RAM.

You can see this effect by looking at the "1 Gb to 1.49 Gb" category. Consider that 1Gb has been pretty standard for gamer computers built in the past 3-4years or so. You would think that a ton of today's computers would have 1Gb. Yet the survey reports only 4.78% in this category.

More evidence: the "1.5 Gb to 1.99 Gb" category comprises almost a quarter of all computers surveyed. Very, very few people have computers with 1.5Gb -- you either have 512kb, 1Gb, or 2Gb. 1.5Gb isn't an option from any mainstream computer maker, or even most of the OEM shops. It defies common sense that this category would comprise such a large portion of the total, unless it includes computers with 2Gb that under-reported their total.

I agree with your overall point -- that PC game makers are limiting their audience (and thus endangering the industry) by imposing extremely high system requirements -- but I think your 0.40% example is inaccurate.

I didn't notice that when I was looking at Valve's numbers, but his argument seems entirely plausible.

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