Wharton Customer Analytics

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Telling the Data Story Behind Video Gaming

The Sims, FIFA, Battlefield, Need for Speed, Star Wars: Millions of players worldwide enjoy video games like these on a variety of electronic devices. Few stop to think (unless they happen to work in the gaming industry) about the treasure-trove of customer data that is accumulated behind the scenes. Through their game and subscription choices, playing habits and patterns — basically every time they pick up a console or smartphone to play — users transmit a steady stream of information to gaming companies about “what keeps them engaged, what they are excited about, and what things they are not happy with,” according to Wharton marketing professor Raghu Iyengar.

Iyengar, who is faculty director of Wharton Customer Analytics, notes that this enormous amount of data collection was made possible by the migration of video games to an online format about 20 years ago. “Lots of gaming [involved] basically selling DVDs or other physical assets to a Walmart or a game store, but much of that has completely changed…. It’s now a direct connection to the consumer.”

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