The Pain of Disappearing Game Friends
A lot of people have over 100 friends on Steam, and while it can be not that easy to remember all of them, it's easy to remember the ones you haven't seen in months or years. Steam usually tells you the last time they logged in so it can be easy to notice when a particular friend of yours has disappeared from the face of the Earth. The people I'm friends with on Steam are mostly only people I've been close friends with in games, and they usually go back a number of years to simpler times when I was younger.
On Steam when a person hasn't logged in for over 200 or 300 days, people generally either think two things: 1) either they've quit gaming altogether or 2) they've passed on. For some people this can be hard to accept that their best gaming buddy vanished without sending a word or some tragic accident ended their life without word.
I had a few friends that I used to play games with almost a decade ago that were great people, and over time I noticed one of them hadn't logged in for over 2 years. I'd assumed something happened to him, but wasn't sure and the thought kept lingering in my head "What had happened?". I tried searching his game name and steam URL into google to see what came up, and found an old X-fire account with a real name. After searching that it came to a wall and there was no trace, nothing to explain it. There was no closure which is what I think most gamers in this situation want. We wanna know where our buddy went and if they're okay or they will come back someday to play.
On steam, if I feel like one of my friends possibly died, I don't know why but I can't find myself able to delete them even if I know they won't sign on again in the future. So in a way their slot ends up serving as a virtual tombstone as odd as that sounds. I know lots of people out there feel this way too, they look for how long their friend has been gone and don't delete them just in case someday they come back. It's tough not being able to accept the fat your old friends aren't gonna respawn.