If there's one thing mobile developers aren’t hurting for, it's analytics and performance tracking solutions. The real struggle in this crowded space, however, is finding the right solution for your individual business needs.
For free-to-play games, this becomes increasingly complicated as there's a split focus on LTV and down to the second, real-time analytics.
We recently caught up Mark Robinson - CEO and co-founder of real-time analytics outfit deltaDNA, the rebranded face of GamesAnalytics - to see what sets deltaDNA's approach apart from the rest of the pack.
Pocket Gamer: Many developers are already drowning in analytics and tracking software choices - why should they consider using deltaDNA?
Mark Robinson: It's definitely a noisy market. However analytics can be a confused term.
The large majority of platforms available only offer dashboard functionality and basic analytics - which is great for reporting but can't actually tell you why players are leaving or fix important issues like difficulty balancing in your game. And dashboards certainly can't help a developer maximise lifetime value by building engaging and fun environments.
deltaDNA is different on a number of levels. Firstly, it's the only a dedicated real-time game personalisation and player insight platform for the games industry. It’s also cross-platform.
Making judgements backed up by data insight means you are calling it right rather than relying on guesswork.
But the fundamental difference is that deltaDNA enables publishers and developers to go much deeper into the data to really understand player behaviors. Real-time targeting enables developers to create personalised experiences tailored to different playing styles and traits.
Novice players shouldn't get the same experience as experts. By personalising the environment, our platform allows developers to build engagement, foster loyalty, improve retention and increase revenue. We’re an end-to-end player relationship management platform that supports developers drive value from their F2P portfolio long term.
Real-time analytics are a boon to developers and publishers, but there's always a concern about jumping at shadows. How does deltaDNA make sure the data it presents is meaningful?
By enabling developers to access their data at a granular level and giving them access to high performance databases to ensure the analytics moves at the same pace as the rest of the development environment.
Decisions need to come thick and fast in F2P. Making judgements backed up by data insight means you are calling it right rather than relying on guesswork.
We have noticed a great deal of frustration that 'analytics' has not yet delivered the clarity required to be confident in making the right design decisions to see impressive increases in engagement. However if you speak to our users you will see that engagement has increased by up to 350 percent using the tools available on our platform.
Also, everything is specific to the individual game and the games’ players. Other solutions make compromises on data granularity or impose generic segmentations of a game's playing base.
It is easy to drown in data if you subscribe to 'it's better to capture it in case I ever need it'.
deltaDNA combines rich data capability and high performance databases with a suite of advanced analytics tools via our Insight Module. The platform, which utilises VoltDB's NewSQL database, can make decisions in genuine real-time, returning prompts and triggers within a quarter of a millisecond.
That's the kind of actionable data intelligence developers should be expecting from their analytics solution.
What sort of information is captured by the Player Relationship Management platform, and how can developers act on this data?
We collect both standard and custom events. It's essential that we give developers the ability to collect data that is relevant to their specific game. However, it’s a balance.
A developer can get up and running quickly via standard events and getting the data flows right. Then value is added by instrumenting custom events to really understand players.
But we don't collect everything. It is easy to drown in data if you subscribe to 'it's better to capture it in case I ever need it'. It's not. Our support team are experts in getting this balance right and advise developers to ensure the data is adding value not becoming a burden.
Do you feel that the Player Relationship Management platform accurately captures the voice of the players?
Yes. That’s the whole point. Not all players are the same. And developers need to listen to what their players are telling them. And act on it.
All players are different, from experts to novices, aggressive, social, competent, etc. To truly build engagement your game needs to be responsive to each of these types and more. Until you understand the key segments of players active in your game you can't hope to build a good environment for them.
What benefits does deltaDNA offer to player engagement and retention?
We know that on average poor game design and harsh monetisation factors in Free-to-Play games result in between 60-80 percent of players leaving a game for good after a first disappointing session.
The 'one size fits all' approach to game design just doesn't work because - to over simplify - it results in a game which is too difficult for novice players and too unrewarding for the more experienced ones.
Poor game design and harsh monetisation result in between 60-80 percent of players leaving a game for good.
Segmentation and targeting tools help build player clusters and improve player satisfaction by offering a personalised experience. This builds deeper engagement that drives retention on average by up to 50-70 percent.
Who will get the most out of deltaDNA - larger studios or smaller indies?
Any F2P developer can and should be using their data to enhance the player experience.
deltaDNA has been developed to scale with your game and is fully flexible e.g. it can be used during in beta phase or to support games with millions of MAU.
We're a big data platform capable of processing hundreds of millions of 'events' as they come in, having invested in cutting edge technologies such as VoltDB, and the platform is designed specifically to manage the scale of data generated by major free-to-play games, social casino and real-money gambling.
We're proud to be working with some of the industry's biggest publishers and developers including Sega, 505 Games and Ubisoft who use deltaDNA's solutions to advance F2P game design and support in-house player relationship management strategies.