Auditing the Games Industry on Twitter

I decided to audit the games industry’s presence on Twitter. I used Twitter Audit to determine these stats. Some of the numbers might not add up all the way through, because I had to spread the data collection over separate days to avoid an API overload. Fake doesn’t mean bought either, just a non-valid Twitter user, whether that is fake or inactive is not up to me. Enjoy the results.

How the data is organized:

@account (verified or not) – followers/following – fake/real – %fake
@alexrubens – 1,858/314 – 150/1,705 – 8% fake

Hardware Manufacturers
@PlayStation (v) – 1,860,704/532 – 825,340/1,016,936 – 45%fake
@NintendoAmerica – 382,475/1334 – 119,349/263,180 – 31%fake
@Xbox (v) – 1,083,161/19,177 – 459,730/624,540 - 58%fake
@playouya – 38,163/238 – 6,451/31,718 – 17%fake

Developers and Publishers

@EA (v) – 1,184,851/541 – 439,745/729,790 – 38% fake
@RockstarGames (v) – 860,550/124 – 356,341/486,073 – 42% fake
@AstroGaming (v) – 129,003/4,868 – 31,746/97,303 – 25% fake
@InfinityWard (v) – 574,510/365 – 191,953/382,757 – 33% fake
@SuckerPunchProd – 58,617/132 – 18,418/40,239 – 31% fake
@IrrationalGames – 106,584/1,208 – 29,639/76,976 – 28% fake
@Treyarch (v) – 579,657/11 – 210,826/333,945 – 39% fake
@2KGames (v) – 295,623/75 – 90,486/205,220 – 31% fake
@Bungie – 176,784/156 – 59,064/117,774 – 33% fake
@BioWare – 232,768/16,575 – 71,714/161,123 – 31% fake
@EpicGames – 162,268/28 – 47,897/114,465 – 30% fake
@Konami – 171,419/105 – 51,257/120,170 – 30% fake
@HaloWaypoint (v) – 236,423/1,130 – 93,641/142,826 – 40% fake
@Naughty_Dog – 222,148/1,696 – 66,228/156,013 – 30% fake
@Capcom_Unity (v) – 188,829/36 – 59,128/129,780 – 31% fake
@SEGA (v) – 529,236/237,174 – 135,527/393,875 – 26% fake
@GearboxSoftware (v) – 580,033/911 – 227,440/352,764 – 39% fake
@TelltaleGames (v) – 99,610/772 – 27,702/71,945 – 28% fake
@MediaMolecule – 42,864/263 – 12,301/30,559 – 29% fake
@AtlusUSA – 45,976/707 – 14,853/31,132 – 32% fake
@RareLTD – 40,874/124 – 11,656/29,243 – 28% fake
@popcap (v) – 88,332/2,836 – 35,782/52,569 – 40% fake
@thebehemoth - 29,094/152 – 7,040/22,050 – 24% fake
@insomniacgames (v) – 129,008/17,932 – 37,289/91,738 – 29% fake
@gameloft (v) – 295,254/2,658 – 131,384/163,862 – 44% fake
@bethblog (v) – 277,858/237 – 83,663/194,286 – 30% fake

Specific Game Accounts

@NeedForSpeed (v) – 183,372/8,999 – 68,531/115,197 – 37% fake
@SWTOR (v) – 193,253/13 – 82,136/111,125 – 42% fake
@DeadSpace (v) – 86,431/391 – 30,965/55,530 – 36% fake
@battlefield (v) – 585,435/34 – 221,506/364,490 – 38% fake
@masseffect (v) – 178,538/7,507 – 56,115/122,596 – 31% fake
@crysis (v) – 60,617/133 – 20,808/39,868 – 34% fake
@simcity (v) – 73,763/122 – 21,620/52,168 – 29% fake
@callofduty (v) – 1,090,610/2,057 – 710,333/334,275 – 68% fake
@diablo (v) – 202,287/62 – 90,661/111,708 – 45% fake
@warcraft (v) – 301,314/117 – 136,271/165,213 – 45% fake
@starcraft (v) – 161,641/111 – 73,753/87,985 - 46% fake
@forzamotorsport – 50,179/479 – 16,085/34,181 – 32% fake
@assassinscreed – 267,452/530 – 86,393/181,077 – 32% fake

Industry Personalities

@Fourzerotwo (v) – 343,573/26,525 – 138,795/204,756 – 40% fake
@Notch (v) – 1,190,518/207 – 386,786/429,218 – 47% fake
@GearsViking – 49,469/344 – 14,397/35,077 – 29% fake
@IGLevine (v) – 68,207/243 – 15,220/53,032 – 22% fake
@TimOfLegend (v) – 124,280/602 – 35,942/88,424 – 29% fake
@DCDeacon – 21,189/108 – 7,246/13,940 – 34% fake
@Noobde – 49,670/80 – 14,543/32,984 – 31% fake
@therealcliffyb (v) – 192,810/948 – 59,800/133,102 – 31% fake
@DuvalMagic – 231,604/6 – 110,035/121,617 – 48% fake
@hiphopgamer – 72,970/7,948 – 70,470/2,500 – 97% fake

What does this mean for engagement?

How can a company claim to have such a deep engagement with fans when 24-68% of their fans are fake or inactive? At that point, there’s no engagement with fans and it turns into a status-driven business, moving toward seeing who can have the most followers and that verified status, rather than actual engagement with their fans. Does this industry really need any more artificial inflation?

This is how Twitter Audit derives their results:

“Each audit takes a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweetsdate of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake. Of course, this scoring method is not perfect but it is a good way to tell if someone with lots of followers is likely to have increased their follower count by inorganic, fraudulent, or dishonest means.”

  • Nick Mudry

    Out of curiosity, I wonder if it counts “fake” as people who signed up on Twitter just to follow and read tweets. I have a few friends personally who use Twitter for just that and do not tweet and use it as a news source.

    I’d assume it would, which means some “fake” accounts could be engaged and have links clicked and such, but just not show any signs of life.

    • JuliusMagnus

      I think it’s more likely fake ones are acounts that spam (and setup by spam-bots). Spam tweets often contain copied text from an actual user. They even ‘steal’ profile pictures and when I do a reverse-search on google they seem to have simply stolen the profile picture from another twitter user or even a facebook user.

      I have 99% real followers, mainly because I’m ruthless towards spammers/fakes. To be honest I have less than 50 followers, and manually going through them all is a bit too much of an “engagement” if you have over 1000 followers. I think twitter themselves should take a more active role in getting rid of fake acounts.

      I do wonder what spammers in general hope to accomplish. I’ve heard talk about abandoned forums that are 99% full of spammers (robotic users). What use is only other spam-bots seeing the messages placed by other spam-bots?

      A potential problem is there are some automated comedic twitter accounts which are technically fakes. I bet twitter could remove spam twitterbots using algorithms but it would probably also remove these well-liked ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitterbot

    • http://yendi.livejournal.com/ Adam Lipkin

      This is correct — people who use Twitter entirely as a following tool without interacting show up as “fake” according to the algorithm, as do accounts that were abandoned (although you could make an argument that these qualify as “fake” from an “engaged follower” point of view).

  • http://www.davecap.com/ David Caplan

    Hey, I’m David, one of the guys that built TwitterAudit. Thanks for the article :) One thing I like to point out is that about 40-50% of all Twitter users are “real” active users. The rule of thumb is that generally, for large accounts, about 1/3 of the followers are active and engaged. TwitterAudit is only really useful in the case where the score is less than 45% or a lot more than 45%.