This post is part of our new Disruption by Big Data series where we interview the leading founders and executives who are leveraging big data analytics to reshape the future of their industry.
The following is an interview we recently had with Dan Schoenbaum, CEO of CoolaData.
Why is the online gaming industry ripe for disruption?
Online gaming, including mobile, casino or social gaming, is ripe for disruption because the industry is growing much faster than most other industries and is projected to be a $2.2 trillion industry by 2021, which drives big budgets and an extremely competitive landscape.
Money and growth is not only a recipe for competition, but more and more gaming companies are putting out 8 – 10 games at a time and lucky if even one is a hit. This internal competition is not sustainable and demonstrates an extreme lack of user understanding.
Graphics and creative storylines are no longer enough. Today’s online game developers should be investing in the business intelligence to understand user likes, dislikes, what’s off-putting, when they’re leaving and not returning, etc. These behavioral insights are what’s needed for online gaming to become more strategic, and ultimately successful.
Game developers and marketers should be chasing after real-time user intelligence, but many don’t know where to begin or how to get started, hence the need for disruption.
How is CoolaData disrupting the online gaming industry?
We’ve talked to dozens of online gaming companies around the world to figure out what they need in their arsenal of tools to create successful games. What we’ve found is that gaming companies are truly struggling with their metrics. They don’t know how to collect user information, understand, learn from or predict customer trends and all of this leads to inconsistent and invalid data sets.
Cooladata is disrupting online gaming by providing a managed service where we eliminate the complexity of gathering data and help companies think more like data scientists by offering analysis, Data Analysis as a Service and Data Science as a Service.
We found the data scientist angle to be very valuable to our customers. Many of them cannot hire (due to a lack of talent) or afford to hire a data scientist in-house, but they need to understand their strategic thinking is imperative. The expertise and intelligence we provide, partnered with our technology that helps you gather all relevant data, helps game developers interpret, capitalize and eventually monetize on it.
What problem are you solving for customers?
A majority of online gaming companies are running off data that is stored in many different places and analytics that only show bits and pieces of the customer journey. Very few companies understand the entire customer journey.
By providing a complete end-to-end view of their player’s journey, we guide our customers to help them understand which marketing channels are most effective so they can optimize spend and glean insights into what strategies best convert these users. We also help identify rough edges, problem areas and where people are getting stuck in the game. We make these analytics available to everyone from the CEO to product managers, data teams and developers, giving every department the same reliable analytics insights.
What’s the future of the online gaming industry?
We will continue to see the deregulation of gaming and online gaming companies seeking strategic partners to drive competitive advantage.
The next phase of gaming software advancements will rely heavily on the integration of behavioral analytics to understand gamers’ tendencies and preferences. Empowered with that kind of information, games can be calibrated in real time to hold user attention, increase purchases, and grow the bottom line.
Increased Focus on User Experience
Customer experience is the heart of the gaming industry. While it has always been a focus, today’s gaming companies — at least the successful ones — have embraced customer-centric philosophies to create effective strategies and positive interactions that ultimately lead to upgrades and conversions.
Cooladata leverages artificial intelligence to help gaming companies. Often, this word is over-hyped and over-used, but we put this technology to use to help our customers to predict (based on user behavior), when a user will churn out of a game, when they are ready for an offer to upgrade, and to group users by behavior to target with specific offers. The results have helped our customers to increase user retention and dwell-time dramatically.
The blockbuster games may grab headlines, but indie games are quietly gaining traction. For those who work on indie games, they're at a significant advantage – not restricted by big names and corporate policies. A developer has much more creative input, and we believe this genre will play in a key role come 2018.
Mobile gaming has been a constant presence in the headlines the past two years, buoyed by multibillion-dollar deals with superstar start-ups like Supercell and King, and the hype surrounding Pokémon GO, and the mere fact that mobile games rank second only to social media and communications apps in terms of consumer time spent.