“To take the guesswork out of the game design and the game development process, we need, as an industry, to start relying on the data to tell us where the right balance is, what the players are experiencing, and then start to make those changes through A/B testing, through game re-balancing, through dynamic responsive games,” Mark Robinson said during his session at Casual Connect USA 2014.
Mark Robinson makes it his personal mission to evangelize how analytics can change the games industry. In 2010, he founded deltaDNA with Chris Wright. Wright was his next door neighbor, and they used to spend Sunday nights playing squash. One night, the conversation turned to games, and Wright claimed the games industry needed to do a better job with analytics. Robinson says, “’I’m an analytics guy’, and the rest is history.” But he continues to emphasize that we are only part way through the journey of using data intelligently to build player experiences. There is still a lot of work to do.
An Innovative Culture
He loves the innovative and dynamic nature of the industry, as well as how supportive of each other everyone is. “You don’t seem to get that in any other sector,” he feels. On the other hand, he dreams of being on a boat on the Turkish Mediterranean if he were not a part of the games industry.
Different Career – Same Approach
Before founding deltaDNA, previously known as GamesAnalytics, Robinson ran a direct marketing agency developing CRM strategies for big brands such as Heineken and Office Depot. He has taken this same approach and applied it to the real time world of the game. He claims that the work he is the most proud of in his career is setting deltaDNA and seeing the business develop and flourish through the work of the great team they created.
He believes the coming trend in the games industry will be seeing analytics move beyond the dashboard to really understand player behaviors and design responsive environments for all types of players.
Robinson likes and plays on all platforms, and the one he chooses depends on where he is and what he is playing. The versatility of mobile devices is shown by the fact that recently he was playing while waiting for his team mates to finish the Rob Roy Challenge in the middle of the Scottish Highlands.
Recently, he has been playing Titanfall because his son recommended it. For mobile devices, he tends to prefer Android simply because he never got on with iTunes. His console gaming is done on his Xbox 360, a gift from his brother. These days, he is under pressure to buy a PS4.
In his free time, Robinson enjoys camping and mountain climbing in Scotland, or anything in the fresh air (and rain, since it is Scotland.) He also works with youth groups, giving them outdoor experiences to help build character and resilience.
At Casual Connect USA 2014, Robinson emphasized that game personalization is really gaining momentum as F2P developers understand that maximizing engagement and revenue is not only about building great games, it also requires pro-actively managing the player experience in the game. deltaDNA launched their realtime player relationship management platform at the start of the year, and since then, they have been overwhelmed by the interest in their toolkit and approach.
He announced that they have just closed their second round of funding and will be investing in sales and marketing to continue to evangelize about how player segmentation and targeted messaging strategies really move the dial for key game performance metrics.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.