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Skyrim beats out Modern Warfare 3 as most-played game

But Modern Warfare 3 was able to take top honors as the most-played shooter game in 2011, says gaming network Raptr.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was nearly universally beloved by reviewers, and it appears gamers had a similar affinity for the title.

The average gamer played Skyrim for 23 hours in its first week on store shelves and averaged three hours of playtime per sitting, making it the most-played game this year, according to data complied by gaming network Raptr. The game was also the most-played role-playing game this year, beating out Dragon Age 2 with six times more playtime.

Raptr tracks user activity on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Users can find out what their friends are up to on those platforms and chat with them through the service. Raptr also includes Facebook and Twitter integration, as well as support for several instant-messaging platforms.

Skyrim's achievement is quite impressive if one considers that it only launched last month. However, unlike many of the top games this year, Skyrim is designed to keep people engaged for an inordinate amount of time. Completing the main storyline can take dozens of hours, and the sheer number of side-quests allows users to play the game indefinitely.

Looking beyond Skyrim, Raptr found that Modern Warfare 3 was the most-played shooter on the year, with gamers averaging of 20.45 hours of playtime the first week it was available.

The critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham City was the most-played open-world game and Rockstar's L.A. Noire took top honors among new franchises released this year.

"2011 is turning out to be a boon for gamers, and our awards highlight how gamers are investing the most amount of their precious time playing every day," Raptr CEO Dennis Fong said in a statement.

Raptr's finding were based on the total amount of playtime the network's 10 million users engaged in the first week a game was available; total playtime over its first month of availability; and the average play session during a game's first 30 days on store shelves.