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I have a website where I show player statistics.

On the Steam gaming platform the playtime is shown in days. But on my website I have always formatted it in a days, hours and minutes format.

Steam:

3000 hours

My Website:

125 Days 8 hours 2 minutes

What would you prefer in this case?

  • 3
    If I play 8 hours per day for 3 days...do you display "1 day"? Use hours and you won't need to explain any arcane logic... – Adriano Repetti Sep 7 '16 at 7:53
  • Then it would display 1 day on my website and 24 hours in steam. It's the total playtime in hours summarized. – Dev0r Sep 7 '16 at 7:55
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    That's why. 1 day implies one solar day for many/most users and they will think your count is wrong. Using hours you give exactly the same amount of information and it can't be misinterpreted – Adriano Repetti Sep 7 '16 at 7:57
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    Given the comments above, I guess this is why pilots count their experience in flight hours. I'd rather know pilots had 240 hours in the air rather than 10 days. Also, as it's usually said that it takes 10,000 hours to master something, people can work towards a "master" level in hours easier than days – gabe3886 Sep 7 '16 at 10:06
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I would prefer displaying hours. Putting personal preferences aside ...

I believe Steam uses hours display because hours are more graspable. If tell somebody "I have over 7 days of playtime". The other person will probably think of it as "ok, he/she has been playing it for a week". Counting out the usual daily routine.

But if you tell somebody I have over 2000 hours of playtime on Minecraft. There is no place for confusion. It is direct as it can be.

Even though my point is mainly about you telling somebody else about you game time. I believe the same principle applies to the service telling you the game time. For me, personally talking about days and weeks is too abstract. It is just harder to get my head around it.

  • Hours wins for me on the 'Don't make me think' principle. – PhillipW Sep 7 '16 at 16:21
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The problem: there's no perspective.

I could see it both ways. I understand the ambiguity that @AdrianoRepetti pointed out, however, if you told me you have over 2000 hours of playtime on a game, I would know it's a lot, but I have no idea how much it is. I have almost no perspective on what 3000 hours is unless I do some quick math in my head to see how many days that represents.

Another example: if someone told me they ran 250,000 steps last month, I would ask how many miles (or kilometers) that was.

Perhaps a compromise can be made where the hours are shown--as is the norm for playtime--and days are shown for perspective.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • I like this. Show both. – Joe Sep 8 '16 at 8:39
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I think there's a good way to choose. If it's a continuous period, It's more natural to break it down into days, hours etc.

For example, the age of a forum post. You're measuring time-span as a continuous period, so when you look at a comment and it says "2 years, 3 months old" that's easy to get your head around. However, 10,223 hours makes it very difficult to work out (and beyond a certain time, just a year/month/day would be more natural).

However, as people have mentioned, you're not dealing with a continuous time-period - but a "ticker" measurement. It's a log of time spent playing the game, not a measure of period.

Does 125 days of playing mean I first played the game 125 days ago and I've been playing it regularly since? If it says 10 days, and I play an hour a day on average, is it saying I've played 10 hours? Does it assume a day is 8 hours?

I have to say, it's also what gamers are used to. I've heard gamers talk about playtime in hours. "I've logged over two hundred hours in Kerbal and not even got past the moon". It's easy to compare with others as a single metric.

I'd stick with steam's method.

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