Dr. Christoph Safferling was part of a panel on videos, esports, and free-to-play at Casual Connect Europe, during which, he told the audience, “Having a free-to-play game means A: that the players can come in more easily and B: also means that the game company has an incentive to keep the game running because it is a service now and it’s no longer just the box title that they’re selling.”
Dr. Christoph Safferling, Head of Game Analytics at Ubisoft Blue Byte, says the obvious developing trend that will affect the game industry in the next few years is mobile. But as a data analyst, he points out there are a lot of very interesting developments in that field. The programming language ‘R’ gets more and more powerful every day; and there are new web applications, including shiny, crossfade, dc.js, and many more that are available right now. As well, specialized new languages like Julia will make work easier and allow real-time applications of statistical models.
The shaking up of the larger game industry, as he sees it, includes, besides mobile, free-to-play, and other bottom-up ways to access or fund games, such as Kickstarter, Steam Greenlight and Appstores.
Fun with Statistics
Christoph became involved in the game industry immediately after leaving university. He had completed his PhD, titled “Three Essays on the Economics of Online Games,” and wondered if there might be any companies looking for exactly what he had done. As it turned out, there were many such companies. He says, “In my current job, I’m always surprised at how much of my ‘university knowledge’ I apply every day. I have built economic models and used econometrics for many years at university, and still continue to do so now in the industry.”
All Christoph’s work brings him great satisfaction, but he finds his greatest happiness when colleagues come to him to say that a particular presentation brought “fun with the statistics,” He says, “I like to help other people grasp concepts and laugh while doing so.”
Time Away From Work
When away from work, Christoph enjoys reading and doing some sports, although he insists he is neither erudite nor athletic.
He has always preferred gaming on PC, so he does not own a console, although he is considering getting a PS4. The games he enjoys most are strategy and RPG games. He is very much looking forward to Watch_Dogs and admits, “I have a soft spot for Paradox Development Studio Games like Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings.” If he is enjoying a free-to-play game, he will spend a few euros or dollars on it right away, finding that he get more enjoyment out of the game that way. But he spends the most on free-to-play MMOs.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.