For many gamers and game industry observers, gaming is just a fun pastime. It’s perhaps a relaxing way of wiling away time in between other activities, or a method of connecting with your buddies in a multiplayer battle. But what many people forget is that there’s a whole industry behind it – and, increasingly, it’s one that is playing out at the level of data science. This blog post will explore the trend in more detail, and look at what it might mean for both players and gaming companies.

Player level

Players benefit from data science in gaming in a number of ways, at least on a macro level. Modern games – and especially those that involve some element of cloud storage and are therefore able to store more information – can keep all kinds of data on performance, including personal best times, where you rank in relation to every other player in your area or around the world, and more. It can even record what your playing habits are like, such as how long you play for and what time of day you prefer – on average – to play.

Company level

However, it’s on a company level that game data science really comes into its own. Firms are increasingly prioritizing data, and for good reason. Designers might use big data to see which parts of the game pose the most challenges for users, say, and then use that to inform level choice. On a commercial level, data captured about user behavior can then be sold to advertisers to open up revenue streams in the form of bespoke, relevant, in-game adverts – something that is increasingly popular in the context of mobile gaming.

Given the ever-building requirements when it comes to game data, companies will increasingly need to ensure that they can draw from a pool of talented applicants. Data science programs at institutions such as Kettering University are already popular, and this is only likely to intensify as more and more companies in the gaming sector and others realize the benefits of big data.

Game firms in particular, though, need professionals who can make sense of data and information. Every moment of gameplay captures swathes of data about player motivations and requirements on axes such as time, intensity and even emotional responses. As time goes on, the firms that will succeed most are likely to be those that can marshal this information in a useful and ultimately lucrative manner.

To sum up: data science is a crucially important part of the gaming industry. For players, it powers the micro-level progress statistics that show you how you’ve performed in comparison to either your own personal best or those of your peers. For companies, it reveals insights into everything from duration of play to the popularity or skill level of certain game points. The world is becoming increasingly more quantified with every passing year – and the gaming industry is, of course, no exception.