Raptr Report pits Skyrim against MW3 for players' love

Gaming's most scientifically-sound awards dominated by recent blockbusters

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Ever-ready to cut through critical bias and drummed-up presale data, Raptr has released its Raptr Report for 2011, with data on which games commanded the most player attention. The report breaks the year's releases down into categories, calculating total playtime by Raptr's 10+ million users over launch month, per-player launch-week playtime and launch-month session length. There's a few surprises in there, but the list's two standouts are both November releases.

Modern Warfare 3 comes in with a healthy lead over fellow shooting-man threequels Battlefield 3 and Gears 3 – though the latter manages to just pip Activision's juggernaut for average session length, a category in which MW3 took an excruciatingly-close third place.

Skyrim commanded more total playtime than all its closest RPG competitors, combined, twice over. Dragon Age 2 and Two Worlds 2 managed to come closer to Bethesda's champion in average session length, with the Dark Souls hardcore displaying the least amount of single-session staying power.

Raptr calls the Open-World category “the toughest battle in 2011,” not least due to the genre encompassing plenty of shooters and RPGs as well. Arkham City manages to distinguish itself here, with Dead Island, LA Noire and Saints Row: The Third putting in a respectable showing. Volition's cracked-out brawler took the top spot in session length: turns out bashing people in the face with a giant purple johnson is addictive. And people like to do this in videogames as well, heyo.

FIFA 12 is the Skyrim of games without dragons in them, commanding a healthy lead over all the other sports titles combined. Average session length is an excruciatingly close matchup, almost suggesting that this is a category where the length of a single game tends to be mandated by some sort of in-game timer.

The Sims Social is the big success story of the Social category, managing to command more playtime than any offerings from genre titan Zynga. Then again, three of the game's four closest competitors are Zynga apps, all of which commanded longer session lengths than EA's new entrant.

Plenty of new IPs made their presence known in 2011, with LA Noire the unsurprising (and deserving) standout. Atlus' Catherine managed to best Rockstar's thriller in session length, vindicating the company's active campaign on behalf of the unconventional puzzler.

The overall battle for Raptr's Game of the Year slot comes down to a close fight between Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim. Far be it from us to pick favorites between titles whose fanbases display considerable acumen in firearms and the dark arts, so let's just say it's nice to see three other standouts from the years' releases holding their own.

Bonus numbers! Data on free-play titles compares online games' average daily playtime before and immediately after going F2P. As you can see, this category breaks down into two categories: the “DC Universe Online” bracket and the “everything else in the world” slot.

You can download the report at Raptr's page and conduct your own measured analysis. What do you think of the data?

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