IFDB statistics, part 1: Publishing date

Click here to read all posts from the IFDB statistics series.

A few months back Mike Roberts, the curator of IFDB, together with Andrew Plotkin released the full IFDB database dump. This is certainly a great deed, since the IFDB is the most complete source of information about IF to date and there’s always a risk of data loss if the database is behind only one person. The database is an invaluable resource to (future) historians, researchers and people who love statistics.

And I do love statistics.

I’ve pulled a lot of interesting graphs from the database and will present them in a series of blog posts, of which this is the first one. We’ll start slow by looking at the games’ publishing dates and progress later to searching for more and more specific correlations.

It’s worth noting that while IFDB has a lot of information, it’s by no means comprehensive or 100% accurate. Therefore all this data reflects IFDB contents rather than the real world. How much the truth differs from the available data is open to discussion.

Click on the images to see the full data set, an interactive chart and chart display options. All available statistics can be seen collected on this page. More graphs are added as the series progresses.

You can also gladly suggest in the comments what kind of data you’d like to see analyzed.

Publishing date by year

There are 4173 games in the database, of which 4027 have a known publishing date. The graph for total number of games over time looks like this:

Total amount of games

More informative is the number of games published each year:

Games by year

You can see the “golden age” from mid-80s to early 90s, a small dip, and a steep rise starting soon after. I have no explanation for why there were so many releases in 2001–2003. In 2001 there were twice as many releases as in 2009.

In recent years the number of releases has varied between 115 (in 2009) and 173 (in 2010). There’s no discernible trend to either direction and there’s not enough data to make any predictions about the future. 2012 is not included in the graph but at the end of October there were 164 releases which is already more than in 2011 (153 releases).

Publishing month

Games published by month

This (and the next graph) is wildly inaccurate since about 70% of games have only the publishing year listed, not the exact date (which is why January 1st is excluded). Still, you see what you’d expect: IFComp games are released in October so it has the most releases and November is not a good time to release because the competition draws all the attention.

Publishing weekday

Publishing weekday

Games are released most often on Sunday and least often on Friday. Shouldn’t be a surprise that weekends are the most common release days as most games are hobbyist efforts.

Next time we’ll look at development system popularity.

4 thoughts on “IFDB statistics, part 1: Publishing date

  1. Fascinating! Even on the first graph, you can clearly see the dip caused by the early 1990es decline of the genre. And the monthly graph shows two more peaks: March (which can’t be due to the Spring Thing, it’s a tiny comp) and surprisingly enough September, just *before* the IFcomp. I don’t know what to make of that, but it’s interesting. Can’t wait for the rest of it!

  2. I wonder whether the 2001-2003 surge has to do with an increase in Speed-IF popularity; at least, I unscientifically have the feeling that there were more speed and mini-comps in that period than subsequently, which might have bulked out the output with a lot more short games; so it might be interesting to look at what percentage of a given stat category are for games with a Speed-IF tag.

    I could be totally wrong, though.

  3. Looking at the wiki, 2001 was indeed the year with the most speedIFs. (2000 and 2001 were also years with over 50 comp entries.) That’s not enough to count for a spike on its own, but they’re probably good indicators of the levels of productive energy around at the time.

  4. Er, I meant to say: 2001 had the most speedIF events, and speedIF events dropped off significantly in 2004.

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