What Tech is Disrupting Online Gaming?

Nov 13

Big data actually plays a crucial role in online gaming. After it produced $40.6 billion in revenue all around the world last year from just mobile devices alone, the electronics art industry is projected to hit high marks in the next five years.

One of the primary reasons for the success of online and social gaming is big data. Yes, we’ve been able to collect it for quite some time now, but the capabilities of comprehending just how to use big data for monetization and optimization are just coming to fore.

The big companies — such as Microsoft — are seeing the value of data aggregation and acquiring gaming firms, like Minecraft for $2.5 billion, because they already get the significance of big data in the long run and need data-forward firms to help them mine and understand the behavior patterns of its users.

In addition, big data firms are already witnessing the opportunity in online gaming and generating platforms that are tailored to the unique market. The smaller developers often don’t have the marketing resources to compete for a more substantial piece of the pie, nor do they have budgets for data scientists to make sense of all the metrics that they are gathering.

To give you a clearer picture of how huge big data is in the gaming industry today, here are a few statistics and figures that you should ponder on:

  • More than 2 billion gamers = 50 Tb of data / day.
  • AAA multiplayer titles = about 1Tb of data / day from in-game telemetry.
  • Social games = 150Gb of data / day.
  • In a typical month, EA hosts about 2.5 billion game sessions, representing about 50 billion minutes of gameplay
  • Console Technology
  • Connected Jackpots
  • Data Progress Recording
  • Geolocation

How Big Data is Being Used in the Gaming Industry

Here are the top ways data is being used to topple the gaming industry:

1) Game Design

In-game design, big data emphasizes the importance of giving users what they crave for. Utilizing behavioral data to update the game according to what is functioning well means making games that offer a fair challenge, but not something that users would absolutely get frustrated with and just want to walk away.

For example, Zynga, the online game developer that is recognized for social games like FarmVille, utilized smart data to better comprehend the importance of giving users what they want. They kept track and recorded user behavior to see how well their games were being played and used that information to adjust and provide users with better gaming experience.

“Graphics and creative storylines are no longer enough,” said the CEO of Cooladata, Dan Schoenbaum. “Today’s online game developers should be investing in the business intelligence to understand user likes, dislikes, what’s off-putting, when they’re leaving and not returning, etc. These behavioral insights are what’s needed for online gaming to become more strategic, and ultimately successful. Game developers and marketers should be chasing after real-time user intelligence, but many don’t know where to begin or how to get started.”

"If people are playing your game and there is something they are frustrated with, the developers can fix it and make the players happy, and the players will continue to stay on the product," added game designer and former pro StarCraft player Sean Plott.

2) Ads That are Personalized

Personalization, 1-to-1 marketing, people-based marketing and other popular buzzwords that describe how marketers everywhere are working to put a stop to insistent, irrelevant advertising campaigns and produce highly targeted interactions.

Online gaming is no different. With the use of big data, gaming firms can produce meaningful marketing messages. Especially as we discuss all of the data being collected, the thought of playing a mobile game may seem a little bit invasive. But gaming firms are collecting such metrics to better appeal to their users with data and content that they are more likely to appreciate, and be engaged with.

“Segmentation isn’t enough anymore. 76 percent of digital nomads expect to see a personalized website screen on just about every brand site they visit — and your inability to give any kind of individual regard means they think a lot less of your brand and makes them significantly more likely to bounce,” said VentureBeat.

3) The “Freemium” Business Model

Freemium, or free-to-play, is a business model that allows people to use games, software, media or web services without incurring any expense, but there is a premium charged should they want to utilize more features. Players are not immediately asked to pony up some cash, but rather, through micro-transactions to bolster their experience or give them a slight edge on the rest of the competition.

This is a great monetization instrument only if there is data behind it. Freemium inspires direct engagement since there is no initial cost, giving developers the chance to monitor the behavior of a new customer, assess where they are hitting the hurdles and decide to stop playing, or what exactly leads them to buy in-game goods.

The game mechanics used in freemium games are geared to inspire the players to make in-game purchases and as a result, keep users playing for much longer periods of time.

Using big data in the freemium stage allows game developers to precisely gauge, project, and monitor player behavior to heighten the experience, raising the chances of users making the move over to a paid model.

“The next generation of game advancements will depend heavily on the integration of behavioral analytics to understand gamers’ tendencies and preferences,” Schoenbaum said.

“Empowered with such information, games can be calibrated in real time to hold user focus, increase purchases, and grow the bottom line."

4) Strategy Over Instant Profits

When Microsoft purchased Minecraft, it appeared to be a strange fit. Microsoft had already built a massive reputation for producing software and Windows PC. Many Minecraft lovers were sure of the game’s demise, or restrictions to only Microsoft’s own platforms, such as Xbox. However, this year Minecraft sales reached 122 million copies sold with 55 million people playing each and every month, breaking past Microsoft’s goal of 100 million copies.

“The overall goal of collecting, analyzing and implementing what game marketers learn from this data is nothing without a strategy behind it,” expressed Schoenbaum.

For gaming firms that are in it for the long haul, they need to utilize all the tools they have access to and use them to their full potential, with big data analysis being one of the most accessible and most impactful tools available.

How Big Data Manages to Produce a Huge Advantage for Gaming Firms

Competition is the foundation of capitalism. It is one of the reasons technology is making so many advancements in such a short amount of time. Competition raises ingenuity and innovation and there are few industries as internally competitive as the gaming industry. To be more specific, at the software development level, that competition is aggressive. Developers want their games, platforms and software solutions to be licensed by all the top online gaming platforms.

Some of the things these developers do are plain for everyone to see, whereas other stuff is a bit subtler. Nevertheless, they are driving key technological developments in the digital gaming realm. They are quickly moving towards a future that is going to be comprised of VR, skill gaming and other rousing innovations.

In the middle of all these technological advancements is big data. Big data has resulted in the proliferation of AI and machine learning, which is making these games run with a lot more efficiency, producing better customer experience and making the platforms a lot more cost-effective.

Digital games are not made for everyone, of course, but these uses of tech should be extolled. Big data will keep on leading the way to new breakthroughs in digital gaming technology. You can find some of these developments in the list below.

Live dealer games have functioned like a breath of fresh air at online gaming platforms. Real games are set up in huge studios, with the action streamed to players’ computers and smartphones. However, the real mind-blowing part of the entire experience is the use of console technology. That’s the process of touching your computer screen to place a bet and the real-time registering of that bet in a studio that could possibly be located halfway across the country. There is almost no lag, with everything settled as seamlessly as it would be in an actual real-time gaming environment. Without this seamless transition facilitated by console technology, live games simply would not be widespread.

As mentioned above, a lot of software developers race against the clock to produce games that they intend to license out to online casinos. That is a significant consideration for jackpots, in particular, progressive jackpots. Games such as Gladiator and Jackpot Giant have multi-million-pound jackpots. But those prizes aren’t paid by a single alone, the games are linked across a lot of gaming platforms and many different countries, with the payout managed by the software developer. Each spin pays a minuscule amount into the prize and, by way of economies of scale, it can result in incredibly massive amounts.

One of the most crucial benefits of machine learning with digital gaming is that the simulations can keep track of individual players over an extended period of time. They can see what kind of games a player has fun with and what they are looking for when it comes to user experience and the gameplay itself. This actually allows the platforms to personalize the game for every player to keep them engaged and more importantly, coming back for more.

If you were to stumble onto the gaming floor in a place like, for example, the Caesars Palace Resort in Las Vegas, had a spin on a machine, and then walked across the road to Harrah’s Casino and played another spin on the same brand of machine, neither machine would be able to recognize you as having played the other. It can be an entirely different situation if you were playing online, with games like Avalon II, Immortal Romance, and Thunderstruck II all recording your progress over time. For example, Avalon II, an adventure game based on Arthurian myth, has an interactive bonus map, with new features unlocked over time. It’s a little like getting updates on video games like World of Warcraft.

This is not really a worrisome development if you happen to be in the United Kingdom. However, it something that players should be wary of in the United States where betting and gaming are being decided on a state by state basis after a Supreme Court ruling. New Jersey is the best example of the roll-out of this technological innovation, often in collaboration with a top geolocation firm like GeoComply. It’s been remarkably smooth, giving players access to their accounts within state boundaries, and locking out the betting stuff when out of state.