We all had fun pouring ourselves over the new Steam hardware survey results last week, but accompanying those were also some Steam stats for Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
Looking back at the equivalent Episode One stats, average total playtime was 4 hours, 1 minute, with average completion time at 5 hours, 36 minutes. 38.82 per cent of people completed the game, although Valve notes that over 50 per cent reached the final map, and suggests that people were quitting before the credits or that there is a bug in how they collected the data.
So how does Episode Two stack up? On the surface of it, not all that differently. Average total playtime is up, but only to 4 hours, 45 minutes, while average completion time is now 6 hours, 12 minutes. The Episode Two stats page doesn't specifically list a completion percentage, but if you check the Achivements monitoring page, some of the Achievements associated with acts at the very end of the game have been unlocked by over 50 per cent of the Steam player-base who have played Episode Two.
So, maybe not what Valve was hoping to hear? It depends how you look at it. Probably the most important detail missing is that we're still only just over a month into the game's life, whereas the Episode One stats page covers a period between 6th June 2006 and this morning. A better comparison, then, would be the stats people first observed on 26th June 2006, at which point the average playtime was just under three hours, with average completion time just over five.
Assuming that a lot of the people who have completed Episode Two on the PC in its first month on sale are hardcore fans of the series, then it seems safer to compare their feats to the early-days stats from Episode One, and to assume that people who come to it slightly later will either take more time or spend more time over it. The early adopter comparison would suggest that Episode Two takes over an hour longer and that most have got an hour and a half more out of it.
What's more, PS3 and Xbox 360 stats are not reflected, and it would be interesting to see how many less fussy Valve fans chose to take home the latter version a couple of days later rather than sitting there at 8am on the morning of the Steam unlock chomping at the bit.
The Episode Two stats page also includes some highly sexual graphs and "death maps", which note where people usually died. You can also observe, as with the Steam hardware survey, who was using which version of DirectX, and which difficulty level people opted for - with over 70 per cent playing through the game on Medium, and just under 18 per cent playing on Easy.