Zynga: "We are totally disrupting the traditional videogames industry"

By Ellie Fields 2011/09/09

The Wall Street Journal today writes on Zynga, the social games maker and Tableau customer, and their unique approach to game development. From the article: "We are totally disrupting the traditional videogames industry," says the company's Mr. Rudin. "A huge portion of that disruption is the ability to use data."

The article, which is behind the Journal's paywall, describes how Zynga product managers use data to buy things like translucent anglerfish and holiday Clydesdales-- all virtually, of course.

From the article:
Zynga is transforming the game industry. Traditional videogame companies create games they think players will like, then sell them. Zynga offers free games through Facebook Inc.'s social network, then studies data on how its audience plays them. It uses its findings to fiddle with the games to get people to play longer, tell more Facebook friends about them and buy more "virtual goods." At the heart of the whole process is Zynga's ability to analyze reams of data on how players are reacting to its games.

We've heard great stories from our customers at Zynga about how they use their data. The analysis is anything but traditional, from the way they set up their data to the types of things they analyze. Confidentiality prevents us from retelling those stories but we strongly advise befriending a Zynga product manager, buying him or her a glass of beer, and sitting back to listen.

There's a class of companies like Zynga in gaming and in other industries that are changing everything from how product development happens to how retailers manager their goods. The common thread is that they're not only able to collect massive amounts of useful data, but they can also use it quickly to influence business decisions. It's exciting to be part of this dynamic new approach via our customers, as well as our own use of data to grow Tableau. And it means we hear some pretty amazing things when we get together with customers, which is a great side benefit.