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anders drachen's Blog   Expert Blogs


I am a data scientist working with games. 

My work centers on the analysis of user behavior in – and around – games. The reason I work with games is simple: They provide unprecedented access to incredibly detailed measures of behavior. Using logging technology, it is possible to capture the second-by-second interaction between user and game. This kind of precision is not possible in the real world, and provides incredible opportunities to study human behavior and how it can be affected – whether for the purposes of improving the user experience, optimizing design, facilitating learning, or monetization. One of the central challenges in this endeavour is the massive scale these kinds of behavioral data can reach, and the high degree of complexity. Imagine working with data describing thousands of actions across hundreds of variables from millions of players. Now imagine adding contextual data – demographics, video capture, physiological data, personality information, geographic information and much more … deriving actionable insights from such datasets requires not only analytical skills but also a deep understanding of an passion for games. I fundamentally form part of an international community of analysts in the private and academic sectors who try to derive meaning from user behavior in games, in order to inform game development.

I blog about all of this at and

That was my informal bio. Here is the formal one:

Anders Drachen, Ph.D. is a veteran Data Scientist, currently operating as Lead Game Analyst for Game Analytics ( He is also affiliated with the PLAIT Lab at Northeastern University (USA) and Aalborg University (Denmark) as an Associate Professor, and sometimes takes on independent consulting jobs. His work in the game industry as well as in data and game science is focused on game analytics, business intelligence for games, game data mining, game user experience, industry economics, business development and game user research. His research and professional work is carried out in collaboration with companies spanning the industry, from big publishers to indies (e.g. Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, IO Interactive). He writes about analytics for game development on, and about game- and data science in general on His writings can also be found on the pages of trade publications such as Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra. His research has been covered by international media, including Wired and Forbes.

He is one of the most published scientists worldwide on the topic of game analytics, user research, game data mining, and user profiling, having authored more than 60 research publications on game analytics, user testing, and business intelligence in game development. He is also one of the editors of the book “Game Analytics – Maximizing the Value of Player Data”, a compendium of insights from more than 50 top experts in industry and research. He is a former member of the board of the International Game Developers Association Special Interest Group on Game User Research. His research work was recognized with a best paper award at the largest media conference in Northern Europe, MindTrek, in 2009. He has organized several international conferences and workshops and served on dozens of conference committees. 

He also really likes ice cream.


Expert Blogs

An important challenge in analytics is to make results accessible. Here we describe the process of developing a method for generating behavioral profiles of players, and visualizing how players migrate between profiles over time.

Posted by anders drachen on Wed, 26 Mar 2014 05:12:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Indie, Social/Online
In this post we dig into the centre of the in-game economy of the endearing browser-based MMORPG Glitch: the auction house and NPC vendors. We describe how players used the auction house and the design lessons we learned.

Posted by anders drachen on Wed, 11 Sep 2013 08:37:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
A story of explorative game analytics and the surprises you encounter when investigating eight million World of Warcraft characters - and a couple of thousand Battlefield players.

anders drachen's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 09/11/2013 - 08:37]

Hi All r n r ...

Hi All r n r nApologies for responding to your comments late. r n r nArnaud: I take your point about rotating the graphs, I will remember this in the future. r n r nJohan/Isaac: yep, in the olden days some special characters were possible in WOW hyphens etc. . ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/27/2013 - 10:00]

Great article Ben, thanks for ...

Great article Ben, thanks for collating all this information.