It should come as no surprise that the god kings of the video game industry have more immediate concerns than how much enjoyment you derive from their products. What does manage to be surprising is the outwardly positive attitude the industry takes towards its quest of manipulation, brainwashing gamers out of their bottom dollar.
Also surprising: Top Tier Tactics receives real life press releases. Yep, the very same ones that go out to the real life press! The fun part about these releases is how certain announcements, like the one I am about to share with you, are given to us like we’re supposed to report them as good news. Maybe if we were IGN and we had some profit margin that was inextricably tied with the success of the game industry (or any profit at all,) we would indeed be excited by all the business of game marketing and encouraged to tell you that everything is good. But no, we are the most jaded (and the poorest) people in the world, and so without further ado here is some very unappealing news about one of the specific ways corporations compete for your money: data mining!
I think this press release speaks for itself, so I’m going to let it do exactly that. Tip: just read until you feel nauseated.
“Mark Robinson Joins GamesAnalytics
Award Winning Data Analyst Joins Firm to Maximize Online Game Revenue
San Francisco, Calif. and Edinburgh, Scotland – May 23, 2011
Award winning analytics expert Mark Robinson has joined data mining and monetization company GamesAnalytics as Chief Operating Officer.
Robinson has worked within various sectors of the data mining industry his entire career, initially as an analyst at British Gas then as a consultant with leading marketing services company CACI.
Prior to joining GamesAnalytics, Robinson led the data-mining consultancy Marketing Databasics, a company that builds and hosts analytical environments to increase customer value through data-driven insight. His experience covers a wide range of sectors including financial services, retail, leisure and the drinks industry. Previous clients include AXA, Barclays, HBOS, Standard Life and Sainsbury’s Finance. In 2009, Marketing Databasics was designated a ‘Leader’ organization in the Forrester review of marketing services providers for its completeness of offering and its strategic vision. In addition to having received several industry awards for innovative use of data, Robinson contributes to thought leadership in the industry through his membership on the Direct Marketing Association Council.
Chris Wright, GamesAnalytics CEO said:
“Mark brings unparalleled experience in data-mining and analytics, having built market leading analytics solutions for blue chip clients throughout the financial and retail sectors. Mark’s understanding of driving customer satisfaction and monetization for clients through data driven insight is second to none and we are thrilled to have him join the team.”
Commenting on his appointment Robinson said:
“I’m tremendously excited to have joined GamesAnalytics. The rise in online gaming presents a massive opportunity for developers and publishers to understand their customers as never before. It is now possible to use state-of-the-art behavioral analytics technology to drive increased customer satisfaction, player retention, virality and revenue. I look forward to meeting with gaming companies and explaining GamesAnalytics unique vision over the coming months.”
GamesAnalytics is a data mining and monetization company serving the online videogames industry. The company maximizes online game revenue with state-of-the-art real-time behavioral analytics and individually targeted in-game marketing. Its products, coupled with a deep knowledge and passion for the games industry will increase the number of paying players, ARPU and player satisfaction and retention.
GamesAnalytics was founded in 2010 to bring the sophisticated analytics and monetization tools of the financial sector to the games industry. GamesAnalytics unlocks the true value of player data. The company has offices in Edinburgh, London, and San Francisco.”
Aren’t you just so excited about your data being mined!? Let’s have a look at the GamesAnalytics website to see exactly what the company does.
“We will often look at bespoke data mining, delving deep into your play data to really understand how players interact with the game and find what is stopping players from spending more money. Techniques like predictive analysis help us to identify key player behaviour patterns and identify potential revenue opportunities. “
Wow, that’s awesome. I wasn’t feeling quite enough like a paranoid schizophrenic, so it’s great to hear that my every move in a game is being analyzed by someone whose job it is to determine how to make me more profitable. It’s especially comforting to see clearly from their website that the company displays such attention to detail.
The existence of a company like this strikes a similar chord with me as Activision’s announcement that Modern Warfare 3 will include an optional subscription service. The PR paints a very rosy picture of the service, but do they actually think that gamers will react positively to the idea? Of course not. Will they make more money this way? Probably.
Of course, every major industry acts this way. Thor was a pretty good movie mostly because it’s easier to sell tickets to pretty good movies. But your transaction with Paramount Pictures ended as soon as you bought your ticket. The games industry is able to be more invasive. Their product becomes a part of your digital domain, able to place spy cameras where you’ll never notice them. Achievements, a common feature in modern games, are one example: they were invented to allow companies to collect data on player habits. Let’s have a look at one of those EULAs you never bother to read, this one from Rockstar Games:
Valve won a lot of hearts with their ‘game as a service’ philosophy that led to so many free addons for Team Fortress 2. I even admit that I would love to pay Valve a monthly fee if it would fund a regular stream of Portal 2 add-ons. But that doesn’t mean that Valve do it out of love for the customer, and it’s worth being wary of any company’s market research tactics when you are letting them into your digital life.