Social games

Social gaming money makers aren’t the big spenders

If you pay attention to online gaming, especially in the “free to play” space, where it’s free to download a game, but extras of all kinds cost money, you’ll see stories of people spending ridiculous amounts of money on a game – far more than a typical $60 disc. For example, there is a report today about a Belgian teenager who spent almost $50,000 in a single game.

If you are a creator of a free game, stories like this might warm your heart. You probably don’t want gamers that extreme – that’s a bit of bad publicity – but you want to find the kind of gamers who are willing to spend way more than the price of a typical video game, right ?


It turns out that when you analyze social gaming data, the biggest earners aren’t the biggest spenders, but rather the most social gamers – even gamers who themselves don’t spend any money at all. silver. This is one of the main conclusions of Ninja Metrics, an analytics company that explores data on how gamers interact with each other in the social gaming space. It turns out that this interaction is key in predicting how a game will play out and which players companies should be focusing on.

“Some influencers don’t spend money but generate hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Ninja Metrics CEO Dmitri Williams told me. “That also applies to playing time.”

The more a game encourages players to play together, the stronger this effect, he continued. For example, the company used its analytics engine to observe in-game interaction Imperia online. For this game, the company has determined that approximately 75% of playtime is driven by social interaction. That is to say, Imperia players want to play with their friends more than they want to play alone.

By using this data, the company can help game developers focus on these social players, rather than the “whales”, in order to gain new users and retain these influencers.

“Now we can know where influencers are coming from to find the game and thus acquire more users,” Williams told me. “It helps a game retain the right people – and gets them to spend more money when it has them.”

This data can also be used to predict churn – the likelihood that a player will tire of the game and stop playing. So, for example, if there is a player who generates a lot of income from their friends who come to play the game, you can target this person for different types of promotions and see what makes them play. But more importantly, a company can test to see what kind of promotion keeps them and their friends in the game.

“Companies want to think ‘I have a relationship with my customer,'” Williams said. “But they often overlook the relationships their customers have with each other. But until now it has been difficult to see those relationships. more about what makes sure people have fun while playing.”

Williams pointed out to me that this type of analysis can also make the gaming experience more fun.

“You can see which parts of the game create more social value than others, which is great for the product team because they now have better data on what works and what doesn’t,” Williams said. “So if the social values ​​from level 1 to 9 are lousy, but the social value increases at level 10, maybe there’s something you can take from level 10 to make the previous levels more fun for the people play with their friends. You can’t manage the gaming experience if you can’t measure it.”


Below is a quick infographic showing some of the Ninja Metrics analytics applied to Imperia Online: