Gamers may not be aware, but big data is one of the leading catalysts for the growth of online gaming. Big data, according to IBM, “is a term applied to datasets whose size or type is beyond the ability of traditional relational databases to capture, manage and process the data with low latency. Big data has one or more of the following characteristics: high volume, high velocity or high variety.”
Online gaming activity results in the aggregation of immense volumes of valuable data. Because the industry has grown more significantly than the music and movie industries combined, opportunistic game developers are finding new growth opportunities by leveraging data. With the right strategies, game developers and associated businesses stand to make heavy profits — well beyond game sales and subscriptions. Big data not only informs the development, design and marketing of highly successful games and platforms, but it can also be monetized in other ways.
The following are some of the lucrative elements of big data as a game development tool that also enables further monetization in the gaming industry:
Cloud-based online and mobile game user data collection and analysis drive research and development, product improvement and other business decisions. Cloud-based gaming enables developers to learn the number of daily active users for games, new users, time spent gaming by each user, difficulties players experience with the games, points of attrition and popular in-app purchases. Advanced gaming analytics tools allow these companies to automate the generation of insightful reports that inform smarter business decision-making. They also enable companies to create bots that play themselves, leading to further game improvements so that players can advance steadily through the levels as they progress in their skills rather than reach frustrating plateaus.
It is no wonder the gaming industry is now attracting high-caliber professionals with some of the most advanced capabilities in big data management and analytics. The sheer volume of players makes it a highly lucrative market for the application of big data skillsets and technologies. Consider the big players and the investments they have been making. For example, Microsoft recently acquired one of the most popular games, Minecraft, for $2.5 billion, primarily for its lucrative data-generation potential.
Data analytics dashboards now connect employees across gaming organizations to customers’ behaviors through informative visualizations. Game development, marketing, sales and executive teams can customize their visualizations through their key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that update in real-time. These visualizations provide deep insights into customer journeys, from how they find games to what they enjoy about the games to why they spend money beyond initial game and subscription purchases. Electronic sports, or esports, is an exciting area for customer analytics because players are highly social and competitive and want experiences beyond online and mobile gameplay. As a result, they gravitate toward in-person competitions and even pay to watch the best players perform in competitions.
Further Game Development
Historically, it has been challenging for developers to come up with popular games because of the high level of competition in the industry. Deep learning applications of innovative AI systems use big data to find transferable algorithms so insights gained about one game’s success-generating can be applied to the development of others. Generalizable methodologies make game development teams much more productive and reduce costs while increasing the winning percentages for research and development.
Personalized Ads and Freemiums
To a game player, the idea of in-game ads may feel like an intrusion, but these ads have become increasingly targeted and effective due to big data analytics. Gaming companies are highly advanced in how well they can match game players with highly appealing personalized ads. The ad and in-game purchase revenues (from ads) demonstrate their big data mining proficiencies. Freemiums are games given to players for free in exchange for a willingness to collect data and for the opportunity to generate in-game transactions that increase players’ time and money spent with the games.
Fascinated by big data as a game development tool? Lamar University’s online Bachelor of Science in Computer Game Development gives students the opportunity to explore this interest and gain high-demand job market skills. One of the program’s courses that will accelerate your development in this area is Data Structures, which describes applications of programming techniques, introducing the fundamental concepts of data structures and algorithms. Professionals with aptitudes in these areas will be equipped for a future world that is gamified and data driven.