During a panel at GDC all about the interesting metrics SteamSpy spits out, creator and owner Sergey Galyonkin (also Head of Publishing for Eastern Europe at Epic Games) shared all sorts of data scraped from the public-facing user profiles of Steam.
One of the most interesting tidbits was that Chinese players spend over twice as many hours a week playing PUBG than US players. That’s China’s average of 16 hours to the USA’s measly, pathetic, embarrassing 7 hours.
The disparity can partially be attributed to SteamSpy’s assertion that around 78% of Steam users in China own PUBG, meaning it’s their main jam (at least on Steam). US Steam users own six times more games than the average Chinese user too, which could mean US players are splitting their time between more games while the Chinese players are dedicated to PUBG on Steam.
The popularity of internet cafes in China is also important to take into account. With profiles tied to each computer, a stream of customers playing on the same profiles could be buffing the weekly average. But the only fact is that we can’t, and never will, determine exactly why there’s such a split. Theory is all we have, and my theory is that the US players need to quit their day jobs and pick up the damn pace already! Mars can wait.
Keep in mind that SteamSpy’s data is not completely accurate. It collects data once a day from public Steam profiles based on the Web API provided by Valve. Because a small percentage of profiles are private (99.9% are public according to Galyonkin) and the Valve Web API servers don’t work as they should, be sure to approach all of SteamSpy’s data with a grain of salt.
The margins of error are explained in detail by Galyonkin on SteamSpy, but the basic idea is that the the more a game sells, the more reliable the data. The less a game sells, the less reliable.