A report by Deloitte predicted that the Indian online gaming industry will continue to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 40 per cent until 2022, taking the market size to US$2.8 billion by 2022, and strengthening the share of the media & entertainment sector as a whole by 4−5 per cent
You know a creatively designed, well-planned, and quality game when you play it, as it exudes seamless ease and uninterrupted pace of play. But what goes on behind the scenes is not as simple as it looks on the outside. The most popular, entertaining, and profitable games are not easy to develop and have a whole lot of back-end gaming mechanics to get right. They include new and regular content rollout, customised ads, error-free user experience, and successful in-app purchases.
Gaming is a full-fledged entertainment experience today, and the sector is fast developing into a promising market for India, with increasing game downloads. Pushed by the pandemic, affordable data services, and increase in access to smartphones, the gaming industry, which was already racing ahead in 2019, has only further accelerated. A report by Deloitte predicted that the Indian online gaming industry will continue to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 40 per cent until 2022, taking the market size to US$2.8 billion by 2022, and strengthening the share of the media & entertainment sector as a whole by 4−5 per cent.
Beyond the erstwhile one-time coded packages, online games are now fully operated as a service. Comprehensive back-end infrastructure is required to operate these games and make them monetised, self-sustaining models. In this process, gaming companies generate oceans of data and fortunately, today there are tools and services that can manoeuvre this large data bank and procure behavioural insights to adjust and refine the gaming experience over time.
Achieving true gaming potential with big data:
Every gaming company strives to provide an exemplary user experience and add more paid users. Big data is a means to that end. It is at the core of running a successful game, right from the initial configuration before the game goes live, and then for everyday operations. It ensures each player is enjoying a unique experience targeted to them, so that they stay on board longer, engage more, review positively and purchase add-ons. With effective big data analytics, developers gain access to the same world-class data structuring capabilities as international companies, giving them a level playing field.
Driving intelligent monetisation decisions:
Backed by a winning data analytics platform, companies can decide on the ideal monetisation strategy for their games that benefit them beyond the initial subscription model. If a game developer wants to convert paid users faster and improve market recall, its marketing and monetisation plan should be connected closely to its core gaming offering and should not be isolated. A well-built business monitoring platform that uses big data, integrates the two.
Big data acts as a consistent source of business clarity for game development teams. It enables them to create sophisticated machine learning (ML) models to display predictive trends about which content formats are preferred by consumers. It captures data and observes critical gaming parameters in real-time. This allows data teams to identify and overcome usage hurdles drastically. When such anomalies are detected and resolved early, it leads to a seamless user experience and reduces alert noise. This helps mitigate the loss of users due to a dissatisfied gaming experience and in turn, promotes user stickiness.
Accelerating time to market:
Effective data analytics makes companies capable of catering to the growing appetite for dynamic content requirements in the gaming community. What interests a user today might take a back seat tomorrow and therefore, game developers need a robust data-enabled infrastructure to keep users glued in while optimising real-time risks and monetisation opportunities.
With the power of AI and ML, big-data-enabled platforms benefit from tailor-made performance marketing to attract and convert paid users. Analysts can monitor spikes and drop in-app usage almost immediately and stay ahead of concerns before they impact consumers. Tracking engagement metrics, repeat players, the trend of customer reviews, and frequency of micro-transactions or small in-app purchases lets companies leverage better stakes, and secure the right external ads for in-game purchases faster.
Excellent user experience is synonymous with improved and consistent revenue streams:
The world of game development is complex enough surrounded by unique device configurations, and multiple operating environments. In addition, tracking user data manually, structuring it and then extracting key insights from it is a time-consuming task and slows down growth. Undeniably, an analytically driven gaming platform solves this problem and caters more efficiently to its online audience.
Gaming companies can find a one-stop solution with expert big data analytics and new-age data sharing that moves away from the traditional ‘extract, transform, load’ process and instead enables real-time access and querying of data. They can build custom dashboards and visualise the results explicitly and securely without long pipelines of data that could be vulnerable in transit.
Moreover, as the new content rollout is catalysed and immediate redressal of performance loopholes is enabled, gaming companies can avert inaccurate monetisation decisions and negative reviews. Most importantly, it empowers companies to serve their existing customers better, protect them and acquire new users leading to long-term investment success and relationship building. Big data is the small and simple solution to several gaming challenges and is steadily proving to be a trusted way forward for sustained monetisation efforts in the gaming segment.
The author of the article is Vimal Venkatram, Country Head of Snowflake India.