• Big Data
  • Experfy Editor
  • JUN 21, 2014

Big Data and the Transformation of the Gaming Industry

Ever since the video gaming industry has invaded the online space, this fast-paced industry is almost bursting on its seams. Bringing in about $20 billion a year in the U.S. market alone, the industry is now scaling new heights with vast data out-pours and advances in big data analytics. In the world of online and offline video games, joystick movements and every interactive step is a source of valuable data, which can deliver fascinating solutions for enhancing gamer experience and increasing revenue streams. The world of games is like any other form of entertainment—it requires addictive rewards to make the gamers come back again and again. The objective of this post is to introduce the endless benefits of big data in the gaming industry.

According to reliable market reports, a large, video-game manufacturer has the potential to generate around 50 terabytes of data each day. In US, the gaming industry is certainly bigger than the movie industry in terms of revenue generation. Now that this prolific industry is rapidly embracing big data technologies, the industry is expected to make waves in novel methods of customer engagement, optimized and targeted advertising, and enhance the end-user experience.

Watch this video: Big Data offers treasure trove for online gaming industry

Real-time data monitoring

The unique features of casinos of video-game parlors is that they are usually integrated with other forms of entertainments such as dining, shopping, movie halls, or book stalls. All these businesses mean revenue to casino owners or businesses around casinos. Thus, big-data-enabled, real-time data monitoring tools can convert data into powerful marketing strategies for generating revenues from multiple systems. For example, data monitoring at a game-tracking console may encourage a hungry gamer to instantly use the reward points earned from a game of blackjack to purchase a meal at the diner or buffet.

The marketing strategies that game parlor or casino owners employ for retaining customers and attracting new ones depend heavily on their knowledge of customer-spending patterns and preferences of both gamers and non-gamers. In the casinos, the customers’ gambling habits are as much a subject of study as their non-gaming interests such as food, drinks, shopping, movies etc., which have an equal if not more possibility of generating revenue.

Behavioral Analytics

The focused interest of gaming companies is to increase, retain, and engage the gamers for business gains.  This simply means getting more users to play, play more frequently and for longer durations, and pay. The company called Datameeroffers a product toidentify and manage behaviors.  The sole objective of behavioral analytics is to identify target gamer population and entice them with appropriate advertising placement and content. Datameer is often used to analyze what engages a gamer to play longer; so that the results of the analysis can be exploited to further fine tune game designs. To increase revenue, casino owners use Datameer to detect common characteristics among repeat customers, so that they can be targeted for more revenue generation. In one case, a game manufacturer was able to double its revenue to over $100M.

Many times, predictive analytics can provide valuable insight into customers’ behavior through careful monitoring of customer preferences over a long period of time.  A major challenge in analyzing external data is that it is usually multi-format and mainly unstructured.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

In the changing world of casinos, an enterprise-wide CRM like Microsoft Dynamics can make all the difference. The Dynamics CRM seamlessly integrates with diverse gaming platforms; but “security and privacy” will continue to remain critical considerations in future, multiplatform gaming architectures.

In Las Vegas, Harrah’s casino was the first to utilize BI and CRM systems for the gaming industry, but the entire gaming industry took a decade or more to turn solid investments into a profit-oriented, data analytics and CRM endeavor at a substantially lower cost.

A report states that Las Vegas derives 35 percent of its revenues from gaming and 65 percent from non-gaming sources. The report further states that the non-gaming amenities like fine dining, retail outlets, or spas around casinos manage to attract thousands of customers who do not gamble but may accompany gamers or come on their own.  So, it is imperative that casinos that plan on managing their revenue bases successfully, need to provide incentives to non-gamers—based on their tastes and preferences.

Another major challenge for modern casino owners is reducing the cost of retaining top-tier gaming customers, while expanding the gamer base to include average players to minimize the risk of revenue erosion after top-tier customers leave. Only good CRM technology can address this sort of complex challenge.

BI on game data

The goal of an effective BI system in the gaming industry must be able gathering gamer data from several types of external sources, and comparing that data with data in internal systems to arrive at conclusive decisions about a customer’s spending pattern, tastes and levels of satisfaction. A large part of the data analyzed in this case may large volumes of unstructured, social-media data.

Future of Gaming

In US, the recent trend has been for states to legislate casino business to regulate online gambling as a source of tax revenue. Due to the happy co-existence of game parlors and non-gaming facilities on the casino properties, gaming has, to a large degree, become acceptable in society as a mainstream field of entertainment.

Traditional, brick-and-mortar casinos equipped with slot machines and poker tables are also viewed as part of the larger framework of online, server-based, networked gaming floors. Now with lots of physical game floors extending access to online game rooms, the traditional boundary of the gaming floor is gradually evaporating.

Watch this video: Data Analytics Trends in Gaming Industry

Big data Advantages for the gaming industry

Here are some obvious advantages that big-data analytics brings to the gaming industry:

Sustained gamer engagement: The 360-degrees customer view available from the massive data trail left during game-playing is vital for a business’ success. Whether it’s a game at an offline play station, an online game deployed through social media, or a multi-player game via the Xbox—the data generation capacity is immense and the tremendous benefits of big data technologies cannot be ignored.

Due to the myriad online and offline game platforms available these days, the large pools of unstructured data can be analyzed either through cloud-based big-data analytics platforms or through on-premise big data analytics infrastructure. The data gathered from game stations can easily be coupled with information revealed on social profiles of gamers, so that game designers or manufacturers can suitably tailor the games to more closely match the gamer expectations.

Increased up-selling and cross-selling: Big data driven in-game advertising that speaks to the individual player is a highly effective strategy to woo customer segments. Additionally, through big data, game companies can use recommenders to offer virtual products based upon customers purchase habits.

Tailored game designs: Gaining insights into gamer interactions during play sessions with big data analytics, game companies can introduce novel strategies to keep players fully engaged. For example, if big-data analysis reveals that players are abandoning a particular at an early stage, then this could signal that the early stages are too difficult to master. In this case, companies can take a strategy to dilute the difficulty level at early stages of the game to encourage playing on. Similarly, data analysis can help game designers decide whether later stages of a game  should be tuned to make them more challenging. Big-data analysis can also uncover which elements in a game are the most or the least popular—thus enabling game designers to modify a game to keep players suitably challenged and constantly engaged.

Optimized gamer experience across game platforms: Through the judicious use of predictive analytics, game companies can guarantee uninterrupted play sessions by identifying peak seasons if future and making scaled arrangements to meet the demands of those peak seasons. Now that games are deployed through mobile devices as well, big data analytics can provide valuable insights to enhance the gaming experience across all platforms.

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