Elden Ring Survey Results Reveal Shockingly Long Average Playtime

Elden Ring's average playtime may tell us more about the game's success and impact than any other metric.

Elden Ring
Photo: Bandai Namco

A recent Elden Ring fan survey has revealed quite a few fascinating things about players’ favorite (and least favorite) parts of the acclaimed open-world RPG. However, the survey’s most surprising revelation may just be how much time the average player seemingly spent with the game.

It’s important to understand the context of this survey before drawing any conclusions about its results. The survey itself was conducted by Japan’s Weekly Famitsu and represents the opinions and experiences of 1700 polled participants. Not every participant answered every survey question, and it seems like the responses may have exclusively come from players in Japan (which would help explain why so few survey participants played the game on Xbox). Furthermore, there’s always room for error (or simple misinformation) when it comes to these survey results.

The point is that these results shouldn’t be taken as the definitive word on any of these matters. These surveys merely represent a snapshot of information that may give us a clearer look at how most people played the game and what they think of it.

Still, it certainly feels like this information represents a pretty accurate snapshot of the majority of Elden Ring players. For instance, the survey suggests that the Vagabond and Samurai were the most popular starting classes, which does seem accurate given that those were two of the most “accessible” classes in the game. It also suggests that Ranni the Witch, Iron Fist Alexander, Starscourge Radahn, and Malenia, Blade of Miquella were among the game’s most popular characters, which, again, just feels right given the reactions we’ve seen to those characters and their general online presence.

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Other information included in the survey feels a little more surprising. For instance, it suggests that Dark Souls 3 was the most previously played FromSoftware game among Elden Ring players (with Bloodborne coming in a very close second place). That certainly wouldn’t have been my guess given that Dark Souls 3 isn’t really talked about as much as some other FromSoftware titles. I suspect its popularity among survey participants may actually say more about the popularity of Bloodborne (which was released before Dark Souls 3), but that is purely speculative.

Yet, if I had to isolate one piece of information from this survey that surprised me most, it would have to be the average total playtime among the survey participants. Take a look at this chart:

Elden Ring survey playtime results

Again, it’s not fair to suggest that those results accurately represent all Elden Ring players (or even that they’re entirely accurate in the first place), but those findings are fascinating nonetheless. After all, it’s not often that you find a game (especially a game with limited online multiplayer functionality) that the majority of players who participated in a sizable survey spent 100 hours or more with. For what it’s worth, most survey participants also said they leveled their characters past level 120 (a surprising amount even said they reached above level 150), which would seem to support the idea that they actually did play Elden Ring for 100 hours or more.

Elden Ring survey player levels chart

First off, it’s incredibly impressive to see that many people spend that much time with a game like Elden Ring. Yes, Elden Ring does offer a kind of multiplayer component, but it’s not the kind of traditional online multiplayer experience that typically commands triple-digit playtimes. It’s a largely single-player open-world experience that, as you’ve probably heard, is quite difficult. Indeed, some of Elden Ring‘s toughest challenges can be found during the game’s earliest hours. It’s one thing for a lot of fans to buy into the hype and give the game a shot and quite another thing for so many to stick with the title even while facing an uphill battle.

What’s even more impressive is the fact that recent NPD reports revealed that Elden Ring continues to set U.S. sales records and is beating established mainstream titles like Call of Duty: Vanguard in the process. Not only does that strongly suggest that U.S. gamers are as enthusiastic about Elden Ring as the Japanese players represented by this survey, but it furthers the idea that Elden Ring both sold well and was played for an astonishing amount of time on average.

At a time when multiplayer titles riddled with microtransactions opportunities still dominate the industry, these figures mean a lot. While the revenue offered by microtransactions is hard for a lot of studios to ignore, the bigger draw of most live-service games is usually their average playtime. After all, the more time you spend playing something like Fortnite, the less time you’re spending with other games or any other forms of entertainment. Commanding screen time is a big deal in the modern entertainment industry, and Elden Ring seems to have commanded a stunning amount of screen time en route to both widespread critical acclaim and incredible sales success.

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To be honest, I don’t know if we’re going to see more developers pursue Elden Ring-like experiences in the near future. The game has already proven to be somewhat divisive in the industry, and it’s not exactly easy to copy some of the things it does so well. What I can tell you is that Elden Ring has clearly tapped into something that can’t be ignored. Now, we have to wait and see whether or not any developer other than FromSoftware will find a way to capitalize on that special something in their own ways.