Game analytics is a vital tool set that allows developers to study the behaviours of their players. The more you understand about your audience, the easier it becomes to deliver a tangible game with reachable goals, in a challenging environment that players will want to engage with.
Developing a game is a huge time consuming process and people often tend to choose to spend it creating a new game level or boss encounter rather than sifting through an avalanche of numbers and statistics. At first, Game analytics can appear a little pointless and leave you feeling snowed under, but if you direct your attention to the right type of analytics, your game and its players will thank you for it.
As we are only human, we tend to be attracted to analytics that have a feel-good factor, warming our hearts and putting a smile on our faces. This egotistical human trait can give us a kind of selective hearing disorder, as we choose to ignore statistics that could potentially help to improve our product offering.
Game analytics are a completely straight talking set of tools, providing game developers with the good, bad and the ugly information about their game and its users. Although this data set will make no attempts to save face or protect your feelings, it will give you the necessary insights to identify areas of improvement and implement strategies that will boost player retention and monetisation.
- Vanity-Analytics provide that feel-good factor. They indicate how many players have downloaded your game, how many likes and followers your social media campaigns have received, and how many hits your website has racked up. However, none of this data is measurable as it doesn’t congregate into achieving goals. Although this data may boost your self-esteem, it will contribute very little towards to the success of your game.
- Actionable-Analytics indicate things such as where and why a player leaves your game. They allow you to make intelligent data driven decisions that will help to better your game and create a more user friendly experience. For example, by showing where and why your players have left, you can implement clear and precise actions to combat the issue. If your player is running out of resources, leaving them unable to complete a mission, you could introduce more pick-ups in that area, creating a much higher player momentum rate.
For game analytics to be remotely useful, they must deliver actions which will alter game design, monetization loops, social loops or individual player experience. By looking at basic data provided through vanity analytics, developers will not see how their players run through levels, which parts of their games are contributing to retention and how pinch points or blockers affect monetization.
Collecting This Data
By adding events to your game through the backend, you will be able to track every move your players make; how far they have progressed, how many are making it to particular levels and how many attempts were made to get past each one.
To prevent developers from having to make a sacrifice in design to assign time to integrating game analytics, the GameSparks platform has a host of analytics readily available for developers to take advantage of. You can easily track player retention rates, average session duration and also geographically locate your players. All of the analytics on offer are customisable and (if time permits) you could also use other development resources to track your player’s data, giving you the ability to predict their every move and pre-empt any loses.
Using this Data in your Game
The design process is iterative. If you are creating a GaaSy (Game-as-a-service), you are continually tweaking your work, fine-tuning it to match the needs of your players. Having game analytics readily available allows developers to expertly process information and make highly informed decisions to alter precise design aspects that will increase player retention rates and the lifetime value of your game.
For example, by implementing a predictive model you can understand the likelihood of early enthusiasts turning into paying players; and at what stage of their game playing lifecycle they’re most likely to convert. you may notice an emerging trend suggesting that a significant amount of your active players are dropping off when they reach certain difficulty level, or that a certain area of your map is killing off a dangerous amount of your users. Once something like this is detected, developers can react accordingly. Sending in-game messages with promotions and offers could then be sent to encourage the conversion.
Without game analytics a developer would be scrambling around in the dark. Randomly changing the design of their game in the hope that something will boost ARPU or draw their players back. Not only does this sound like a huge waste of time, but it would also induce a stress related heart attack to game developers across the globe.
Although reading vanity-analytics may be good for a short term confidence boost after a hard morning in the office, actionable-analytics provide a more beneficial long term alternative, helping to sort out pitfalls within your game that are causing you sleepless nights.
Analytics are a fundamental part of game development and management, suggesting the requirements necessary to make improvements that will optimise your game. By ignoring actionable analytics you could lose valuable insights into the behaviours of your players, letting your game fall short of the app store feature that all developers crave.