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September 21, 2019
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XRDC speaker Q&A: Lucas Toohey and the metrics XR developers need right now

XRDC speaker Q&A: Lucas Toohey and the metrics XR developers need right now

September 17, 2018 | By Bryant Francis

September 17, 2018 | By Bryant Francis
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More: VR, Business/Marketing



Building any VR application means gathering alot of key metrics about your potential users while playtesting the game, but what if you could learn a lot of those metrics in a much shorter timeframe? 

At XRDC 2018, Observer Analytics CEO Lucas Toohey will be on hand with a number of datasets and relevant metrics for developers working in VR right now. To learn more about Toohey's work and how he came to posess such useful insights, we reached out for a quick Q&A which you can now read below 

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about immersive games & entertainment, brand experiences, and innovative use cases across industries.

Tell us about yourself and your work in VR/AR/MR.

In 2016, our founding team built a social VR application that allowed esports enthusiasts to watch their favorite streams in an interactive environment. Our goal was to bring the massive amount of 2D content that existed and enhance the viewing experience by adding an interactive 3D layer. Throughout development, we continued to struggle with not knowing how users were spending time in the experience. Because designing for three dimensions is a new frontier, our design and development decisions were rooted in assumption and we simply hoped that our app was intuitive to use. In 2017, we decided to stop development on our own app and switched gears to solve the bigger problem in front of us. We’ve spent the last year building an analytics platform specifically for immersive content, with the goal of leveraging data to eliminate the guesswork for all XR content creators.

Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at XRDC.

At XRDC, I will be giving a talk that highlights a few of the interesting insights we’ve learned about VR design and development. We've been working with developers and content creators for the past year or so, collecting and analyzing billions of data points around user behavior in VR. I will be discussing a few unique insights that we believe everybody creating XR should know. Topics discussed will include designing for physical movement, optimizing user onboarding, and usage statistics for well-performing applications.

What excites you most about AR/VR/MR?

What excites me the most about this new technology is being able to utilize a variety of new inputs (controllers, hand tracking, and eye tracking, etc.) to create experiences like we’ve never seen before. I believe that standalone headsets with 6DoF tracking will accelerate the adoption of VR, making these experiences accessible to everyone. With these new input methods come a new set of design and development standards, something that I’m very passionate about helping define as the industry matures.

Who would you like to meet at XRDC?

I’d love to connect with anyone building VR/AR experiences. Regardless of the size of the team or budget for the project, I’m always interested in meeting developers and content creators that are passionate about XR and interested in discussing how data can be leveraged to create the best experiences.

VR developers have to review a lot of analytics and data in their work, what are some of the best techniques you can advise for them to process and parse that data and not be overwhelmed by it?

The best advice I can give is to encourage devs to integrate and start using analytics early on in the development cycle. We suggest that teams integrate analytics when they begin to playtest the experiences. This allows you to better understand what data is being collected, validate or invalidate assumptions early, and build the habit of using data throughout the design and development process. Regarding simplification and best practices, I’d have to suggest using a tool like ours: built around ease of integration and automated data collection. We know that analytics and data can feel overwhelming so by automating most of the data collection up front, we save teams time and energy by populating our dashboard with a few dozen graphs and charts right out of the box. Looking into the future, our goal is to make analytics more prescriptive, rather than reactive, to automate the analysis process for teams to extract more value from immersive data.

XRDC is happening October 29th and 30th in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Now that registration is open, you’ll want to look over XRDC passes and prices and register early to get the best deal!

For more information about XRDC, which is produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference, check out the official XRDC website. You can also subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

Gamasutra, XRDC, and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Americas



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