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Top 8 Ways Gamemakers Can Leverage Game Data to Improve User Experience

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Data empowers every industry to function in the same way, fuel empowers our vehicles. And it’s no secret that gaming is one of the most data-intensive industries in the world. Game data can play a decisive role in targeting one of the biggest markets for video games in the world – India. The research suggests that Indians spend more time playing video games than any other nationality in the world. According to Limelight Networks’ State of Online Gaming Report‘Indian Gamers spend an average 8 hrs. 30 minutes a week compared to the global average of 8 hrs. 27 minutes. Effectively collecting and leveraging the data will equip Gamemakers with better insights and in better understanding the user behaviour to target them effectively and boost their revenues.

Why Gamemakers Need Gaming Data?

Gamers need data for every function. This includes – analysis of an individual player’s in-game activity, time stamps, content update downloads, social behavior in multiplayer interaction, reducing churn rate, minimizing behaviour toxicity, boosting in-game purchases, and capturing the demographic information of the user to design the upcoming game based on their preferences. Without a shadow of a doubt, the gaming industry has covered a long distance in India. However, gamemakers are yet to discover the ‘gold nuggets’. They are yet to reach the level of e-Commerce industry which is at the pinnacle in terms of capturing the information of the users and customizing their services & offerings as per their penchants. Like the e-commerce industry, gamemakers can also leverage tons of game data which is piling up in data centres to make unconventional and futuristic video games.

Here are the top 8 ways Gamemakers can leverage data to develop newfangled & unique games:

1.    Devising Effective Strategy for Better Game Performance:

In many games prevalent today, players are required to follow standard practices to meet the goal and reach the next level. However, in most of the games like open-world genre, the performance of the player is measured based on in-game actions & movements which have a very minimal impact on the final goal player wants to achieve in the game.

Through better collection and analysis of game data, gamer makers can customize the gaming applications in such a manner that every in-game movement & action of the player takes him/her one step closer to the final mission of the game. This practice will make games more entertaining & appealing to the gamers.

2.    Maintaining the Fun Aspect:

Fun is the most integral aspect every video game company or game-maker wants to bring into their game. Fun element attracts more users to the video game which means more revenues for the gamemakers. Data can work wonders for the gamemakers in developing video games which drives user engagement. For instance  Candy Crush – one of the most popular gaming applications relies heavily on Data Structure (DS) concepts. Data analytics can be crucial in ensuring players return to the platform. With the help of data, programmers can tweak the computation to elevate the user experience and overcome Non-deterministic Polynomial time (NP) – hard problems. Leveraging data analytics, game-makers can collect data effectively to develop gaming applications which are in line with the current trends and can ensure continuous development of the game.

3.    Understanding User behaviour:

Time has gone when graphics and storytelling used to suffice. With the advent of technology and rise in awareness, gamers expect more from video game. Famous Italian author – Niccolo Machiavelli has rightly said – ‘He who has learned how to obey will know how to command’. It is imperative for the developers to have real-time data on the user behaviour to better understand & implement their expectations in the games. This includes – how gamers use the games, how they interact with levels, total time they spend playing video games, when do they drop off, and the reason for dropping off. Capturing this information becomes even more crucial in the context of multiplayer games as gamers tend to exploit the obstructions at every level and any gap in the system can distract player engagement. Analyzing game data well in advance will allow developers in overcoming this situation and improve the gameplay experience to boost the player’s engagement.

In 2014, Tech giant – Microsoft acquired Minecraft for USD 2.5 billion with a core objective to get access to the data of 126 million monthly players for the purpose of analysis and understanding the user’s expectations. The acquisition also assisted Microsoft in continuously monitoring the market movements using big data analytics. Using advanced data analytics softwares, gamemakers can record the activities of players in real-time and understand their behaviour. Data analytics softwares also enable developers in monitoring the players’ activities in real-time. Proper understanding of the behaviour of the gamer will also allow the gamemakers in taking timely actions before any issue arises rather than waiting for the community feedback or until the problem becomes serious.

4.    Market Segmentation:

Data can serve as a panacea for the gamemakers in overcoming the most pressing challenge they face i.e. segmenting their target audience. With the help of data, gamemakers can segment their audience based on location, preferences, affordability, or any other variable. Data analytics solutions like – SAS  are capable of segmenting the audience based on any variable and ensuring it reverberates with the expectations of each segment. Data analytics solutions also facilitate the developers in keeping the track of the players, the time they are spending on micro-transactions, and the factors driving player’s actions. Capturing this essential information will allow gamemakers in designing effective incentives & loyalty programs to incentivise players to spend the money. This will increase player retention and boost the sales of video games.

5.    Building Intuitive Designs:

Leveraging the game data, game-makers can come up with intuitive designs to keep the interest of the players alive in the game. The insights gathered from gaming data will assist game-makers in creating state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay. Developers can come up with revolutionary designs by using predictive analytics to improve the UI/UX (user experience & user interface) of the game and predict players’ behaviour. Capturing game data will also allow the gamemakers in imagining all types of game-related scenarios as every game has its unique requirements. Furthermore, implementing artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to the games will enable gamemakers in automating the animation process and introduce more photo-realistic characters & scenes. This will make the game more appealing to the users and also curtail the production time & cost.

For example: Microsoft Corp. leverages advanced Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI-ML) in its Xbox Console to produce High Dynamic Range (HDR) content from brief Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content. Artificial Intelligence allows developers to overcome the limitations of limited input data to process HDR images and bring the effects of expanded contrast & color in the SDR games.

6.    Increasing User base through Personalization:

Game data can play a vital role in expanding the install and user base of the game. Data Structure techniques allow gamemakers in addressing pressing situations like – reduction in the number of sessions and low session length compared to pre-launch estimated figures which indicate the declining interest of the players in the game. Collecting the relevant data on time will empower gamemakers in effectively analyzing the DS techniques, especially personalization to make the game more appealing and increase their user base.

7.    Creating Appealing In-game Advertisements:

Game data plays a pivotal role in creating state-of-art in-game advertising and selling the ad space on mobile games in multiple formats as a part of monetization strategy. With the help of data, developers can easily integrate these ads into the game and boost user engagement by rewarding points for watching video ads and banner ads which appears at the bottom of the screen. In-game advertising is often considered as one of the most viable ways for advertisers to interact & engage with the users. They also assist the publishers in gaining the attention of their target audience and encourage them to spend more within the application. Gamemakers also make a vast proportion of their revenues from in-game advertising.

8.    Designing Long-term Strategy:

 Data plays an instrumental for the gamemakers in designing their long-term business strategy and making informed decisions. Effective analysis of data using data analytics softwares facilitates gamemakers in understanding what users expect from the video games and customizing them accordingly. For instance: PUBG and Fornite are equipped with advanced data analytics which allows game-makers to analyze what is drawing players, the time spent by the user on the game, why & where they are spending money, etc. Capturing this important data will be important for the gamemakers in developing user-friendly products and in devising effective long-term business strategies.

Final words:

As they say, ‘early bird catches the prey’. Gamemakers have to focus on efficiently collecting and analyzing the data to emerge as the frontrunner. In the current era of cut-throat competition, the triumph of the gamemakers largely depends on their ability to utilize game data to the best of their advantage. Data analysis on a timely basis ensures gaming platforms thrive in all business models such as: pay & play, freemium, and free-to-play to ensure continuous inflows of revenues.

Capturing the game data at right time will allow gamemakers to better understand the behavior of the gamer and learn about their playing activities, UX and engagement to drive unparalleled business performance for the gamemakers. Better analysis of game data will allow gaming companies in boosting the performance of the game, bring more fun to the game, create unconventional UI designs, understand the user behaviour, segment the market, make the games more personalized to boost engagement, create attractive in-game advertisements and designing long-term business strategy.

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