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Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now, but how do we know if it’s successful? Well, you can use any number of metrics to determine how hot a new game launch is. A publisher may announce early sales figures. Or we can look to Steam’s current player rankings. But I prefer checking social media to see who is calling in sick to work. Thankfully, social-analytics firm Fizziology is tracking that data for us. And it turns out, more people are talking about taking off work on social media than any other video game release so far this year.

Taking a day off to play a new game is something that happens a lot. Some people plan their schedules to take personal days, and others simply fake a cough. I know this because I’ve done both. And the anticipation for Red Dead has obviously weakened some immune systems.

Fizziology looked back at this trend for other games, and it found that Red Dead Redemption 2 had 1.5-times more people talking about taking a day off than military shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It also had 3-times more than God of War or Spider-Man, and a whopping 12-times more than Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Now, we can’t confirm that people talking about this are actually going through with it, but I would expect to see some correlation with sales of these games.

When it comes to the social-media conversation, 85 percent involves men ages 18-to-35. And Fizziology determined this by analyzing more than 800,000 Red Dead-related tweets.

Beyond anyone playing hooky, Red Dead Redemption 2 is creating a lot of buzz on platforms like Twitter. Fizziology notes that it is averaging 14,000 mentions per hour following its launch.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a bit warm and lightheaded and need the rest of the day off.

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