The video game industry is white hot at the moment, driven by incredible advancements in both console capabilities and a boom in mobile gaming. An Entertainment Software Association (ESA) report found that 42% of US households play video games regularly, and according to DFC Intelligence, the global market for video games will swell from $67 billion in 2012 to $82 billion in 2017. Growth in mobile gaming is set to take an increasingly large chunk of this pie, with industry forecasts indicating 10% annual growth rate until at least 2017.
Game developers are in an envious position from a data collection standpoint, with huge numbers of their customers constantly connected to centralized systems online. Large video game manufacturers can generate thousands of terabytes of data every year. Electronic Arts, for example, has 275 million active users and generates around 50 terabytes of data each day. Increasingly, analytics are being applied to these huge datasets to leverage a number of insights that can provide an edge in a highly competitive marketplace.
The central purpose of using analytics on these datasets is increasing, retaining, and engaging the gamers. For mobile games, many of which are free, they need to help manufacturers find ways to monetize the games. Algorithms can be applied by analysts to determine a number of factors, such as which players around the world you’re playing, payment processes to account information, and in-game enjoyment. Perhaps the most prominent example is detecting cheating. By looking for patterns in social, temporal and spatial data in a given match and finding discrepancies, analysts can identify players from opposite teams who are colluding for their own benefit. If such behavior is tolerated and allowed in online games, it can negatively impact the desire of those who play fairly to continue playing, and will certainly prevent them from spending money in-game.
Nowhere is the video game analytics market growing faster than Europe, with firms like Amsterdam-based video game industry research firm Newzoo BV leading the way. Newzoo has recently announced that it is joining forces with European eSports organization Fnatic as part of a plan to expand its data insights. The firm has already published a number of reports analyzing eSports data, including one that outlined key issues set to impact the growth of the industry over the next few years. Newzoo hopes that by partnering with Fnatic, it will be able to provide deeper insight into professional gaming.
European big data firms have long suffered from an inability to attract the same sort of funding that their American counterparts have, but this is changing. Europe's big data market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 36.50%, and currently controls the second largest market share at 20% in terms of revenue in the Global big data market. The size of the European gaming market means it is uniquely placed to combine growth in both sector, and it is likely that it will only increase in the coming years.