Building better games, faster with in-game analytics

For video game companies, play is serious business. In this video, Analytics Architect Venkatesh Shivanna discusses how Tableau has allowed the company to:

  • Reduce days of work to an hour or less
  • Understand on user experience all over the world
  • Improve customer service thanks to timely, up-to-date data

Tableau: How has big data changed the gaming business?
Venkatesh Shivanna, Analytics Architect: The gaming company has become a data-centric company. They want to get the data quickly. They don't want any stale data at all. They want to get the real-time data, how do we get into that level?

Tableau: How does Tableau fit in?
Venkatesh: The business people, they love visualization. They want to build something quickly which can make them happy.

Rather than you try to build something which takes like months together, then you release that to the business. Rather than that, look at something which can make the impact immediately. That's where Tableau comes into the picture. And that's where it is making huge impact.

Now Tableau is the answer. You just have them give the access, boom, they pull the data, they connect to any database, they connect to Excel, they build it within five, ten minutes.

Tableau: How extensively do you use Tableau?
Venkatesh: So in our company, we use Tableau enterprise wide. We have more than 20 teams adopting Tableau.

They can do it on their own time, real time, and make it faster. So that it makes more impact rather than waiting for the process-oriented approach where you contact the IT team, try to develop this, you wait for three days, four days, those days are gone.

Now Tableau is the answer where you just have them give the access, boom, they pull the data, they connect to any database, they connect to Excel, they build it within five, ten minutes.

We have some of the dashboard which have been built in 30 minutes and an hour, and that’s one of the top dashboards in our company, and people love it. And they say, okay, this tool is the best, why don't we evangelize across the company?

Tableau: How does Tableau help you?
Venkatesh: Some of the cool features within Tableau, it was showing like how the people are playing across the world. You know, how they're interacting within the game, how they're having difficulties going from one stage to another stage. Are they moving too fast in the game?

We try to do all this cohort analysis to see how the group of gamers are playing against other groups and see what difference between these groups and how we can promote the product.

So whenever we are going through Tableau is like using the mapping functionalities or using cohort analysis to understand a gamer's behavior within the game so that we can target the right people so that we can market them on campaigns in such a way that we can bring them back and play more and increase the monetization. That way, it makes more valuable to the company so the company can make better decisions.

Tableau: Is Tableau catching on within the company?
Venkatesh: It’s growing day by day. It's actually taking over on top of other BI tools because it's building rapidly. There's no tool I see which can compare with Tableau.

Tableau: How many people are using Tableau in your company?
Venkatesh: Currently, it is running on 80 core machines. It runs more than 1,000 extracts on a daily basis. It extracts every 15, 30 minutes, one hour, goes to two hours maximum. So we have almost 1,000 extracts on a daily basis. And it's a pretty solid system.

And I explored many BI and analytics tools like MSTR, SAS, BO, Cognos and SAP BW in my 13 year career. Once I understood the basic foundation, the purpose, the objectivity of this tool was very important.

Tableau: How does Tableau help you better serve customers?
Venkatesh: All these things are depending on the data. Right? If the people are complaining too much and the customer support team is getting too many calls, that's a bad thing, so we try to understand that data too. What kind of issue they're reporting to the customer, is that related to the game or how to play the game? Are they having issue going from one level to another level or the actual server is pretty slow and they're not able to see any particular image or anything within the game?