How does PlayTracker Insight work and is it accurate?
PlayTracker Insight gathers public data from gamers around the world in a random sample and extrapolates that data to estimate total values.
PlayTracker correlates that random data with internal data from PlayTracker users to get more detailed information, for example the "Achievements over time" graph, which shows how a game has fared over the years.
PlayTracker Insight's current sample consists of over 50 thousand Steam accounts whose full game libraries are synced into a database with over 34 million data points. This makes PlayTracker Insight a reasonably reliable market analysis with a margin of error under 1% for 95% confidence. It is, however, still an estimate, and can be off. This is no different to other similar services.
The sample grows every day as PlayTracker crawls new accounts. The current sample is updated on a cycle lasting around 2 days, meaning data for a game's launch weekend should be fully accurate by the beginning of the next week.
PlayTracker started gathering data in early March 2019.
Why are you giving everyone access to this data?
After Steam changed profiles to be private by default, SteamSpy locked most useful data and graphs behind a paywall because a lot of things were broken and needed fixing. I disagree with this philosophy and believe it will be easier to fix and improve Insight with the help of the public. Furthermore, it's simply useful and fun to browse data, and I think it can survive off Patreon donations.
If there are no ads, how will the site survive?
Patreon donations encouraged by unlocking new features. New features for everyone via funding goals and exclusive convenience/cosmetic/advanced features for supporters via benefits. For example a convenience feature is the ability to compare data between games on the same graph, a cosmetic feature will be the ability to change the highlight color on your PlayTracker profile and an advanced feature will be more detail in the existing graphs like monthly datapoints instead of yearly for the "Achievements over time" graph.
Who are you and why are you spending your time on this?
I'm Marijan and PlayTracker was originally the graduate project for my bachelor's degree in multimedia computer engineering. Back then, it was just a profile site. It got such praise from my peers and professors, that I decided to take it public and continue working on it in my free time, for fun and to learn new skills and hone my existing ones. I opened the Patreon hoping that eventually it will make enough in donations to cover the cost of hosting (almost there) and maybe eventually enough for it to replace my side gigs and allow me to spend more time on it.
My day-job pays the bills, so I do not feel pressured for PlayTracker to be profitable and have been able to keep it up and develop it further for almost a year now while technically running a loss every month. It's like a Netflix subscription at this point - it costs me about 10€ a month and takes up a lot of my time, but it's enjoyable so I'm cool with it.
I'm not associated with any company in the gaming industry. Some friends help me out with advice on things in their area of expertise, and are credited in the Impressum. They are not associated with any company in the gaming industry either.
What is "popularity"?
Popularity is a metric derived from the number of people that own a game and the number of people that are actively (in the past two weeks) playing it. The active players have a 4x multiplier, which evens the two numbers out in importance. I tested various popularity algorithm and found this one to be the best.
Can I use your data for my own thing?
Yes. Be it in an article or elsewhere, you may use PlayTracker Insight data, article text, and article cover images. Please give credit if it is not too inconvenient, and consider donating on Patreon. Feel free to contact me on this topic if needed.
If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.