As games continue to grow, naturally more and more of us become fascinated with detailed data that help drive the industry and the hottest games around. Specifically, the convenience of having access to player behaviour as well as a better understanding of an in-game economy can make all the difference in the world to a studio and its development.
That's where Dive comes in. The US-based analytics and data firm was founded in 2019, and has grown to a team of 20 with further offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since launch, Dive has built up a strong reputation of helping studios such as Nifty Games, Hiberworld and Pixion Games to grow their studios through custom data.
To find out more, we spoke to former Playtika “House of Fun” CTO and now Dive founder Elad Levy regarding the company's inception and just what it can offer game studios, be that big or small.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you start off by giving us a brief overview of Dive?
Elad Levy: Dive is a leader of custom analytics for insight and growth, specifically built for the games industry. We support developers and game studios with better insight through custom analytics that ultimately drives growth through data.
Dive’s products and services include tailoring our platform to each game specifically, something that off-the-shelf tools can’t do and don’t offer.Elad Levy
By providing access to tailored custom analytics and live ops platform and accompanied by a data expert assigned to the game studio, we are able to help developers navigate their specific data and live ops challenges.
Dive's mission is to "bring a top-grossing game studio approach to other great titles", how do you intend to do this in a nutshell?
Dive helps game studios and publishers access deep, actionable and revenue-driven insights for player behaviour and game economy. Dive’s products and services include tailoring our platform to each game specifically, something that off-the-shelf tools can’t do and don’t offer. Our technology is based on years of experience operating games at scale. We understand that games require a custom approach to data, and that is why all our tiers are bundled with professional services.
We often see two types of customers - those who come from top tier publishers who’ve previously built triple-A games with big budgets and have now started their own shops. These game makers already know the power and importance of building games with data and insights but also know how much it costs to build internally so they’re looking for smart, effective, custom outsourced options - Dive!
The second are those who haven’t built games with data before and might try to do it on their own in-house before realising it’s not possible on the scale they’re looking for and then go looking for an outside solution.
In terms of data privacy, the landscape has gotten stricter - for example, Apple takes a very close look and in some cases prohibits using third-party tools to collect data. Dive is the only data insights and live ops platform in the industry that allows all the client's data to reside on their own servers, eliminating this problem!
As ever, live ops are becoming more and more important in the mobile games space, what does Dive do differently to anyone else in the market in that respect?
Live ops are actually becoming more and more important across all platforms - and not only on mobile. Like any other department in the company, live ops relies heavily on data and data accuracy. Our live ops tools and SDK are tightly integrated to the client’s data platform and that provides a complete cohesive solution that game studios can scale with.
What do you think will be the biggest trends in the games industry through 2021?
People continue to spend a lot of time at home, from our point of view this allows more room for PC games to grow. On the mobile front, I like the new merge games trend and think it has room to grow as it appeals to a more casual audience.
Last but not least, players love creating content and sharing it with other players - and in this arena, the massive Roblox IPO speaks for itself - we’ll see more games like this coming in 2021.
Under the worldwide pandemic, games have been one of the few markets to show growth, do you expect this to continue at the same rate?
Dive is the only data insights and live ops platform in the industry that allows all the client's data to reside on their own servers, eliminating this problem!Elad Levy
The pandemic accelerated our world to the future. Many businesses that never thought of going online are now desperate to have an online presence.
Yes! According to our data, games specifically grew anywhere from 30 and up to 100 percent in revenue over the last year, people were home and playing games more as a way to interact and as entertainment. In the coming 12 months, growth will continue, and I think we are going to see a lot of M&A activity and funding of game companies.
How vital is data and what can Dive offer in that respect to studios?
The past few years data became like oxygen to all industries, not just games. Even more crucial is that data privacy is getting stricter every year with GDPR, CCPA, and Apple blocking third party analytics for specific games and now with the IDFA restrictions in iOS 14.
For those of you who submit games on Apple, there is a whole new section with a ton of questions and clarifications on data privacy, what you track and where it is tracked to. Since the first-day Dive was launched, we had two major guidelines we follow to date:
Games are custom and therefore require customisation when it comes to data. So all our clients and their games are accompanied by a hands-on data expert helping with everything from defining taxonomy with the product managers, building visualisation dashboards and even custom integrations with the client’s servers and tools.
The game’s data is owned by the game studio and hosted on their servers. This way there are no data transfer or compliance issues when it comes to privacy and the game studio’s data analysts and scientists enjoy direct access to their data at any time.
What does Dive look for when trying to establish a partner to work with?
At Dive, we like to say that data starts with questions, and those questions would normally originate from product managers, game designers or management. Those questions are essential to creating a healthy data process that helps iterate towards creating better games. Having that person on the other side is critical for our partnership to work.
Can you tell us about some of your past clients?
Dive’s customers include Nifty Games, Hiber, Carry1st, Bluebat games (a part of the Greentube/Novomatic group), and others. A couple of interesting facts we see in nearly all our clients:
Many of our customers are ex top-tier game companies (Scopely, Zynga, EA and similar) and are accustomed to working with custom data and data teams
Many of our customers started out with an out-of-box data and/or live ops dashboard or tool and we ended up migrating them off of it to our custom solution - as they would have needed to customise it heavily to their game.
Since Elad joined the games industry 20 years ago, what are the major lessons you have learned that will help clients succeed?
Games are also the singular most data driven medium with the most interactions to be measured, balanced and leveraged.Elad Levy
Something that I have learned that is not just relevant to the games industry but other industries as well is that for a company to succeed a lot of factors need to fall into place with all teams aligning in a perfect manner.
When it comes to games, this gets even more complicated because it requires many different skills to develop a successful game and involves different types of people; art, development, design, etcetera.
Games are also the singular most data driven medium with the most interactions to be measured, balanced and leveraged. Trying to build data teams for a game company can be very difficult if the funding (and focus) are not there - and adds on to this already growing complexity.
So in the early stages, it’s better to outsource as much as possible, whether it’s data or marketing or even development. The game and product vision is inside the company and must stay inside the company, but the execution can be outsourced and helps to maintain a lean structure and focus
Are there any metrics you can share from working with past customers?
The deeper insight we provide, the better game developers understand their players and improve their experience. Working with game studios on their data and live ops we have seen growth of up to 30 per cent in revenue
Is there anything else you can tell us about Dive?
What sets us apart is our combination of offering a platform built from the ground up for games, on top of being built specifically by industry veterans with experience scaling games. We are dedicated to the teams we work with and spend hours and days with the game studios to understand their needs and continue to improve our platform for them.
This is a truly unique industry that we are passionate about, and we’re hoping to meet and help more game studios to keep building better games for their players.