Design by the Numbers: Using Data for Good

Notes on a talk by Evan Losi of Scopely at GDC 2019

  • Play tests only take you so far
  • Capturing analytics
    • Track everything—every time a player does anything
      • Everything a person interacts with
      • Which screens they open
      • What activities people take
      • Resources (what players earn and spend)
    • Look at the aggregated data
    • Key metrics/KPIs
      • End results of player behavior
      • Retention, conversions, ARPU/ARPDAU
      • Everything sums up to lifetime value (LTV)
    • Engagement and player behavior
      • Not just people opening the game… people actually doing stuff in it
      • How do people engage with the features of the game (starting a battle, upgrading things, etc.)—go very granular
      • E.g.  want to know if lots of people are opening the store, but very few actually buy something, you might have a UX issue 
      • People shown the store more wind up buying more often—how do you make this valuable for people? For this game, give them something free once every few hours just for opening the store
      • Track goal completions, both for big goals like beating a level and for daily tasks like opening a key screen
      • If a particular goal is too burdensome to complete, find a way to make it easier
      • What kinds of behaviors lead to better players? (From a business standpoint)
        • How can we get every player to act like that
        • E.g., retention versus battles completed—there’s a threshold where retention plateaus after a specific threshold—try to get everyone to hit this threshold!
        • If engagement drops after a specific point, pace the game to hit that level as often as possible… but not more
    • Tracking resources
      • Log of all transactions
      • Average earned/spent per day
      • Average carrying balance
      • Compare to how much players need
  • Content usage and effectiveness
    • Ownership rate—how many people have access to it
    • Usage rate of those people
    • Win rate—how many people succeed
  • What does good look like?
    • Steady retention
    • Feature engagement
    • No one part of the game neglected—drive people through everything you offer
    • Items are acquired appropriately—if no one is buying something, that’s a problem
    • Repeat purchases are a great indicator of value
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