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New Research Startup To Identify Key Traits In MMO Players

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have signed an agreement to launch a new analytics software startup that will identify key traits in MMO players, and allow developers to enhance user experience.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have signed an agreement to launch a new analytics software startup that will identify key traits in MMO players, and allow developers to enhance user experience. Ninja Metrics, the technology designed by University of Minnesota computer science and engineering professor Jaideep Srivastava and University of Southern California associate professor Dmitri Williams, will enable game creators to better understand their players' psycho-social motivations. By implementing novel data mining techniques, Ninja Metrics can extract and analyze social data from big online gaming experiences and help developers to target their audience better, effectively causing users to prolong their subscriptions and buy in-game items. "An average player spends four hours a day on World of Warcraft," said co-founder Srivastava. "If you look at direct mail or other marketing techniques, it’s targeted at an individual’s behavior, and ignores the social influences surrounding them." "If [marketers] can analyze the social influences, it allows them to better target a customer," he explained. Srivastava believes the software startup will work with a range of titles, from Facebook games like Farmville to more broader subjects, like online communities such as Xbox Live. He hopes that the research, funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Labs, and the U.S. Army, will also be applicable to a wider scope of retailers and other businesses.

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