Game Analytics: Big Data in Interactive Entertainment

Speaker: Assistant Professor Anders Drachen, Aalborg University

The interactive entertainment industry has grown dramatically in the past decade, and recently reached 100 billion USD in global yearly revenue, making it one of the super-heavyweight sectors in entertainment. Some estimates place the number of people worldwide who currently play computer games at 2 billion. Tracking detailed interaction behavior from this number of people results in truly massive datasets.

With the rapid growth and innovation in the sector, business-related data has come to the forefront as a means for informing decision making. Colloqially referred to as "game analytics", the collection and analysis of big data in interactive entertainment has had a direct impact on the interactive entertainment industry within the past few years, as the practice of tracking and analyzing the behavior of players and processes has emerged as a key component of game development in this age of mobile platforms, increased game persistence and non-retail based revenue models.

In this presentation we will take a deep dive into game analytics, covering the background for the current situation in the industry and review the practice of game analytics, covering the fundamental approaches towards problem-solving and the knowledge discovery process inherent in business intelligence work in games. We will talk about the crucial aspect of deciding which behavioral features to focus on and the stakeholders involved in these considerations, and why this is crucial in games. The methods and analyses used - from simple descriptive statistics to machine learning and spatio-temporal behavioral analysis - will be discussed and the kinds of problems the industry is working with on a daily basis outlined.

A central focus of the presentation will be the user, the player, who is alfa and omega for the success of commercial or serious games.

The key takeaway from the presentation will be an understanding of the importance of business intelligence in interactive entertainment, and of some of the nuts and bolts of behavioral analytics work and the role it plays in game development.
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