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Back to Basics – Why Data Analytics Is Like A Compass

by Antti Kananen on 06/08/17 09:46:00 am

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Back to Basics – Why Data Analytics Is Like A Compass

At Koukoi we all are head over heels for games. We play the games, develop them, and then try to get you to play them. If you frequently browse Google Play or the App Store you might notice that there is no shortage when it comes to having your pick of gaming experience. This means players get to experience a galaxy of games, and for game developers this means the chance to reach a larger community as well as the challenge of getting players to play their game in particular. Which is where analytics comes into play. What does “more players” have to do with “data analytics” you might ask, while at the same time thinking “Why do you want information on what we do with the game?”

It is a valid question. Why would a game developer want data on what the players do? Yes, there is an element of making a profit so as to be able to continue developing games, but a big part of it is that analyzing the (completely anonymised) data is understanding what works and what doesn’t in the game. Creating and maintaining a game that works is the same as giving you, the player, the best possible experience. This means that thanks to data analytics, game developers are able to find which parts of the game need work, which parts are not entertaining, and where possible bugs lie.  Simply put, data analytics is meant to help companies create games that not only entertain but also do so wonderfully.

Many analytics platforms offer flexible dashboards that analysts can customize to better reach their goals.

Analytics in Action

Let me show you what this process looks like in reality. In Koukoi’s “Crashing Season” there are several levels, which means that the page needs to refresh each time you level up, and the data can let us know at which stage of the game you quit the game (that is, the moment you start doing something else with your phone). With such data we can use data analytics to determine whether not several quits at a specific stage of the game mean that there is a bug, or that the game is simply too hard. Knowing this means that we are better able to determine how to improve the game. If it is a bug this means fixing it. If the game is so hard that players are no longer having fun, that would mean finding a way to bring the fun back.

Another instance where data makes it possible for you to have more fun is when the company knows how many players there are playing on one day, one month, as well as the number of new users. What these numbers do is let us know what is to be expected at a given time. If there is, say, a sudden drop in daily active users (in a graph this would be a steep drop), this would be pointing at an issue; such as a lot of crashing, or a choke point. By knowing when players suddenly stop playing, a game developer will know to look for any problems in the game. Once more data analytics serves as a guide.

As a third instance where data analytics helps us make better games, is the “session length” metric. “Session length” serves to let the company know how long you play each time. This helps us in knowing how long a level should take to complete, how difficulty could increase in each level, and hint at what is the optimal length of time per level. And if there is a sudden drop in the session length that is a signal to check for anything that needs fixing (bugs, too much difficulty, a flaw in the design). Session length data aids in understanding what is working in the game.

As you can see, a gaming company can improve by analyzing data. Although it is based on numbers, making the decision on what to do next is more art than science (since the company needs to decide on what the root problem could be, and there are many possibilities). Furthermore, we cannot forget that there are real human beings in front of every phone screen. Analytics is an art you master, and one that allows you to refine what you do as there is more data with time. “Data analytics” is used as a guide to what needs to be improved, just like a compass.  It is what enables gaming companies to create the best experiences for gamers.

This article was originally published at on June 8th, 2017. Article was co-written by Marketing Intern Aileen Gutierrez and Marketing Manager Matti Luonua.

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