“If you are not doing A/B testing, go directly to jail! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200,” Nick Berry told his audience at Casual Connect Europe.
Nick Berry is a Data Scientist at Facebook. He describes Facebook as the company that defines the concept of “big data.” He spends much of his time “boiling the digital ocean of data looking for statistical significances, trends and patterns.” Being asked to give a TED talk in 2013 is an experience he considers one of the highlights of his career.
Keeping It Fun
Berry ends up spending a lot of his time in front of a PC, and the people he gets to interact with at conferences are what he enjoys most about being involved with the game industry. With a young family, although his free time is very limited, he still manages some time for game play. His laptop is always available whether he is at work, at home, or on a plane, so this is his most used gaming device. His next most used device is his iPad, followed by his (Android) phone. He doesn’t have much time for playing console games so he doesn’t own either a PS4 or an Xbox One yet, but his children use an Xbox 360 at home
The problem of visibility is the greatest challenge in the game industry today, according to Berry. Because there are so many products in the app stores and online, it is becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive to acquire customers. “Having a great game is just the starting point,” he says. “You need to have a great game, and make people aware of it!”
Creating awareness and marketing your product efficiently is going to make the difference between success and failure, according to Berry. The art and science of cultivating users quickly, on a small budget, is given the title “Growth Hacking”. This was the topic of Berry’s Casual Connect presentation this year.
Berry says, “Facebook is also pilot launching a publishing platform to help developers get over this distribution ‘energy barrier’. You deliver great games; we deliver qualified users in great quantities, and we can proportionally share the revenue and benefits.”
Tech Gets Better and Better
Tablets and smartphones are getting more and more powerful, according to Berry. He notes that new mobile devices already have more power than the previous generation of consoles. At the pace that new models are coming on the market, they may soon overtake consoles even in the core gaming genre.
He doesn’t expect to see another new generation of dedicated consoles on the market within the next five-ten years, possibly not ever. However, he maintains that PC gaming market is not dead or even dying; as long as there are computers on desks, people will want to play games on them.
Berry also believes there will be increasing use of cross-compilers, allowing games to be simultaneously developed and released on multiple platforms. And, of course, social connectivity will be baked into all games. He emphasizes, “There is no such thing as a disconnected device these days. All devices can be connected to the internet, and all successful games will leverage this.”
Berry is also an active blogger, and you can read his regular posts about gaming, data science, privacy, and general geekery here: http://www.datagenetics.com/blog.html
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.