The video game industry is one of the most competitive and lucrative industries in the digital business environment. According to Statista, in 2020, PC gaming and console gaming sectors, alone, raked in $110 billion in revenue, with over two billion active players around the world.
The largest players in the industry are companies like Tencent, Apple, Sony and Microsoft, who reach out to millions of gamers with their games, consoles and other peripheral accessories.
Sony’s Playstation 4, for example, has been sold to over 112 million gamers worldwide, and the Playstation 5 can’t be shipped fast enough to meet existing demand.
The appeal of gaming reaches far beyond teenagers and millennials. Game developers are continuously developing new games that resonate with a more mature audience.
With this trend, the gaming industry is set to become bigger and better.
In the midst of this competition, there is one thing that unites the giants in the gaming industry, and that’s data analytics.
The gaming industry might, perhaps, be the most data-savvy industry there is right now. Everything from game development to video game marketing and everything in between is based on high-quality data, and data analytics platforms provide companies with this resource.
Modern games have a high graphical fidelity compared to games of the past. Developers have pioneered many technologies that help them achieve these hyper-realistic visuals.
Motion capturing, for example, allows game designers to capture the performance of an actual human being and replicate it across the characters of the game world.
Characters designed this way not only have more realistic human expressions but also possess more realistic movement, which has long been an unachievable goal for game developers.
This technology, in particular, collects vast amounts of data through sensors and infrared cameras positioned strategically to capture every single movement of human actors. Big data analytics platforms then process this data to provide actionable insights to be used in game design.
Another impressive feature seen in modern games is global illumination, which realistically replicates how light reacts to different material in the game environment. Game developers use data from the real world processed through analytics platforms to make sure global illumination reaches a high level of graphical fidelity.
Gone are the days where gamers would be able to type in “leave me alone” (as GTA fans would know) to get their way out of trouble.
Modern games include robust anti-cheat solutions to prevent mischievous gamers from gaining an unfair advantage!
Data analytics platforms play a huge role in creating these solutions by analysing the gaming behaviours of millions of players to detect fraudulent gameplay. Suspicious accounts also get flagged by these platforms to penalise any gamer (which includes banning accounts) who does not adhere to the rules set in place by game developers.
Early video games were not only restricted in visual fidelity but also in the complexity of the game, or the lack thereof.
Most modern games, however, have vast open worlds that players can explore and interact with. Modern games also allow for community gaming, meaning that gamers can get into teams and go up against other teams in competitive team-based events. Some of the most popular games in recent times like PUBG and Fortnite fall into this category.
Sophisticated communal games like these are not only interesting for the gamers who play them but are also cash cows for developers.
The level of sophistication seen in these game world designs, however, requires vast amounts of data to be processed and analysed to be executed effectively. Data analytics platforms are delivering on that front too.
The gaming industry has fast become one of the most lucrative, competitive and innovative industries.
Data analytics software provides a treasure trove of information for video game publishers and developers. The video game industry is massive, given that in 2017 alone the industry generated $108.9 billion in revenue. Furthermore, revenue is expected to grow to $128.5 billion by 2020.
This staggering amount of revenue generated indicates that there are billions of gamers playing video games and generating terabytes of data. Therefore, video game publishers and developers must take full advantage of this information treasure trove to improve game design, business models and marketing efforts.
With that in mind, the following sections dive into three ways data analytics software is improving video games.
Improving game design
Graphics, storytelling, and creativity are no longer enough. To keep gamers engaged, developers have to tailor the game to how players behave. Developers have to know how gamers are using the game systems, interacting with levels, how much time they spend playing, when do players drop off, and why do they drop off. The information is particularly important for multiplayer games, where gamers tend to exploit bottlenecks in a level, or flaws in a system can kill player engagement.
If developers have information on hand, they can make adjustments to correct mistakes, improve gameplay and keep player engagement up. Data analytics software platforms record the actions of millions of players and generate meaningful information on how players behave, in the game itself. Data analytics software is particularly useful because developers can gather real-time information on player activities. Therefore, developers don’t have to rely on community feedback nor do they have to wait till a problem becomes a serious issue to take action.
Instead, developers can monitor player movement in real-time, identify a flaw and take action to fix it almost immediately. Hence, game developers have more than just creativity in their hands – they have data on player behaviour.
Data analytics helps publishers make informed decisions about long-term business models. With data analytics, publishers will know which games are popular, why are they popular and how to use data to improve their own games. An excellent example is popular freemium games, like Fortnite and PUBG. Publishers can use data analytics to see what is drawing players, why they spend money, how much time is spent on the game, and more. The publisher can use this information to inform their own business strategies and long-term business models.
Publishers will be taking a long-term approach to business planning. Hence, we will see publishers shifting away from short-term profit strategies towards long-term business models. An excellent example is Microsoft’ acquisition of Minecraft in 2014, it was a decision that raised many eyebrows. However, having sold more than 122 million copies, and a monthly player base of 55 million, Minecraft has thrived under Microsoft. Furthermore, the software giant announced their plans to make Minecraft a 100-year brand.
Data analytics software for marketing purposes
Marketing is a crucial component of any industry – specifically, the video game industry.
Therefore, it’s important for game marketers and advertisers to make a strong impact if publishers want to enjoy strong sales. If gamers are exposed to adverts not relevant to them, they will not make additional purchases, thus wasting resources. Therefore, its important for gamers to see adverts that are relevant to them. Hence, publishers need to segment their audience, according to location, preferences and more. But how do publishers segment an audience of millions? Easy – data analytics.
Powerful analytics platforms like SAS can segment an audience according to any variable. Thus, publishers can segment their audience and craft ads that resonate with each segment. Developers can look at who is playing the game for a long time or spending the most on microtransactions, and what is prompting their actions. This information can then be used to develop programs that will incentivise other players to spend more money. Similarly, publishers can create loyalty programs to reward certain players.
The video game industry is now worth a billion dollars, however, there is potential to generate more money with data analytics. By using powerful data analytics platforms, publishers can discover new ways to market games through better audience segmentation. Moreover, developers can improve player retention by constantly improving the game.
Data analytics software provides real-time information on how players play the game, which can be used to improve the gameplay experience. Gamers create at least 2 terabytes of data a day when playing video games. Rest assured, publishers and developers who don’t make full of use the information will fall behind.
For the latest in the world of analytics, stay tuned to our blog series.
For the ultimate data analytics solution, try our Selerity analytics desktop. This software will give you access to a SAS pro analytics environment that will allow you to leverage your data analytics. Contact our support team for more information.