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Titanfall activity plunges when a big World Cup game is on

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The United States and Portugal kick off in the World Cup in about 90 minutes, and if this chart is any guide, online multiplayer games are going to be a lot quieter — at least until halftime.

Respawn sent out this graph, a look at player count on Titanfall's European servers during the World Cup matches on Thursday. As you can see, players mostly held steady through Colombia and Ivory Coast. Then activity surges in the break between matches, and plunges once England and Uruguay get going.

You can see the number of Titanfall players shoot up right around the time Uruguay scores (at the 39th minute) before the first half. Then a sharp drop off in the second half, followed by a final, heartbreaking surge around the 85th minute when Luis Suarez pounded home the game-winner and effectively eliminated England.

Water usage is a common measure for the popularity of major sporting events, whether the World Cup or the Super Bowl. It's fun to see a graph showing thousands of people holding it in until halftime. Video games are another recognizable shorthand for how all-consuming these spectacles are, even for casually interested fans.