Thursday, February 22, 2007

Video Game Analytics

Google leverages data mining techniques to evaluate every major application launch since it became the most used search engine in the world. It is not a coincidence that Google lauched a weather portal, for it could easily see the daily thousands of queries looking for weather related information.

If this is a proven method to deliver results, why aren't we designing games (both console, PC & mobile) with features that allow game developers and production studios to recieve feedback on information of feature use? The only requirement is online connectivity, which is nearly standard now in the gaming industry.

We're already seeing some of this emerge organically as academic research on various sites like Terra Nova. These organizations take a social sciences approach to looking at the behavior of gamers. World of Warcraft, released by Blizzard Entertainment, has created significant interest in the academic circles, which have been using Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (or MMORPG) for research for over a decade.

Most of their research is achieved through third party scripts and other workarounds, but what if Blizzard implemented an analytic system within their game, for the purpose of monitoring (and therefore incrementally improve) their service.

This could go down to the level of looking at what features are used by what demographic, or where different segments spend there time. The permutations are endless, and the information harvested from the data mining can only improve the game.

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