In a long investigation, Gamekult is interested in the collection of data in the world of video games. After one first part dedicated to mobile gamesthe second part focuses on console and PC games, especially those from studios producing “blockbusters”.
If, in today’s world, “data collection” often rhymes with danger, especially in terms of personal information, in the video game world, we are closer to the work tool. Video game studios use data collection to make “tracking”, that is to say an analysis of the behavior of the player during the game. By recording the movement and actions of a player, it is possible to understand how to correct the game and balance it correctly. A tool which thus makes it possible to improve the experience offered by analyzing the real journey of players in the flesh. Among the various sources who confided in Gamekulta data scientist expresses himself:Your fun is boring to measure. “Are you staying?” That’s easy. These are easier data to collect”. Another source states:The improvement of experience is ultimately a win-win for everyone.”
But if the tracking helps to improve, a posteriori of output, the quality of a game, it can also be used in a somewhat more questionable setting. Since improving the comfort of play also amounts to increasing the time spent at the controllers, some large companies carry out a retention strategy. The goal is to keep the player as long as possible on their title, because the more the latter is engaged, the more he risks spending. A Gamekult source gives an example: “On Assassin’s Creed for example, we collect your data, we see that you are someone who likes exploration. Well when you go to the in-game store, you are offered lots of stuff that is more interesting for someone who likes exploration.“User retention, due to better comfort or an explosion of content proposals, then becomes a major issue within the hierarchies of the sector. But they still need to understand that the data can be useful in other areas.
Data and creation, a recipe far from perfect
During the investigation, the various actors interviewed by Gamekult confided in their frustrations and the lack of consideration of their feedback. The challenge is then to transform data analysis from a simple “operational tool“into a tool”which allows decisions to be taken at a more strategic level.“The example taken by one of the sources is that of Ghost Recon who, despite a market analysis that was reluctant to implement NFT, finally decided to integrate non-fungible tokens into the game. By inspecting the statements of social networks, the data center had anticipated a refusal of the NFTs. No impact on decision making. The same ignorance reigns when it comes to creative decisions. Sometimes erected to the status of untouchables in the studios, the creative poles therefore find themselves faced with a new form of counter-power that can be the data analysts. As a result, those who prove to be closest to the user experience and opinion find themselves sidelined in the decision-making hierarchy.
Data analysis today allows developers and publishers to improve the player experience. Where, before, the release of the game signed its final version, today, updates are commonplace to make titles staggeringly stable. Yet the data has a power that goes far beyond simple balancing and could come into play in every link of the creative chain. Failures, even disasters, could thus have been avoided if the data analyzes had been taken into account. But doesn’t an excessive analysis of the data risk leading to formatting according to the needs and desires of users? Discover here Gamekult’s full investigation, which goes (much) deeper into the issue.