Left 4 Dead proves online distribution works

Left 4 Dead‘s great fun. You know that. What you probably didn’t know is that by playing it online from its release until May you were an unwitting guinea pig for analysis firm DFC and social media company GamerDNA.

How? The two companies pooled their efforts to track user activity over 180,000 PC and Xbox 360 gamers via Steam, Xbox Live, and Xfire to see whether promotions (such as Steam’s 50% discount sale) and updates (the survival patch) would impact user activity and, if so, how. Excuse us if we’re stating the obvious but, surprise surprise, the more special offers/updates the more the game was played.

What’s more interesting though is the fact that both the PC and Xbox 360 experienced similar volumes of play until February (when Valve knocked 50% off the asking price) which saw a massive spike in PC usage but a decline in Xbox 360 gaming, a trend that’s continued until May with PC activity averaging a whopping 63 percent higher than Xbox 360 activity.

Industry site Gamasutra has access to the full report so, if you’re feeling stat hungry, check it out for yourself and drown in a sea of numbers. Or just fire up the game and shoot something instead.