At Casual Connect Eastern Europe 2014, Angelo Ferro stated, “When I first started getting feedback from developers, my immediate reaction was that people really don’t like analytics, but analytics is important”.
“I’ve always played video games – I have fond memories of spending countless hours playing Super Mario 3 on the NES, and I think the most fun part of working in the game industry is being able to play video games!” exclaimed Angelo Ferro, the business development lead at Unity Analytics. As he continues his work for Unity, he hopes to help construct accessible tools that are informative and empower developers with the ability to make data-driven decisions.
He mainly engages with Unity game developers in order to understand what their current pain points and use cases are for using analytics. Angelo explains further, “In order to do that, we talked to as many Unity developers as we could to understand their specific needs and wants”. Although a lot of game developers don’t understand or even think about analytics, they are essential to this competitive market, most of all mobile games. Data can be utilized to improve retention of a game, engagement, and monetization. In short, “analytics and data is the key to identifying what’s driving these major changes in your game”.
Angelo’s involvement in the game industry sprang from his previous work as an economic consultant with a specialization in commercial litigation. A key lesson he learned in this job was how data impacts the telling of a story. He further explains, “Whether that story is estimating damages in a class action lawsuit, or if that story is figuring out where in your mobile game players are leaving [in your mobile game] – the central thread behind both of these very different use cases is data”. As part of the Unity Analytics team (formerly known as Playnomics), Angelo found a niche which married his appreciation of data with his natural love of gaming. Playnomics is a start-up in San Francisco which incorporates big-data expertise and was acquired by Unity in April 2014.
Not long ago, Angelo was playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn but unfortunately, it was too good for him to put down. It was taking too much of his time and he had to quit entirely. Consoles still have their advantages, particularly for Angelo who says, “I’m a sucker for graphics, so I love playing console games on a large screen and I can really get lost in the game’s story and world”. He does own a PS3 and is hoping to own a PS4 soon so that he can play Final Fantasy XV and Dragon Age Inquisition. If he had to choose between Android or iOS, Angelo would choose his iOS for the simple reason that he is “too attached to Apple to switch”. One of the many perks of working for Unity is that he has even played mobile games while at work.
In his free time, when he isn’t gaming, Angelo stays physically active by playing volleyball, running, and taking boot-camp courses. He reflects, “I’ve been told that I have a lot of energy, which I’ll take as a compliment. I think this trait suits me well considering my two main passions – meeting people and pushing myself physically.” Angelo enjoys pushing himself physically so much that if he weren’t in the game industry, he would likely be a boot-camp instructor. However, Angelo boasts that he has a pretty sweet gig given how his job allows him to play great games and to work with the developers who make the games possible.
Although it is early in his career, thus far, one of the highlights of his career has been “the opportunity to present at a conference like Casual Connect Belgrade”. He feels very fortunate to have his job and to be in the forefront during a very promising time. In Angelo’s opinion, the trend which will hold its place in the future is data collection and the use of data in the game industry. “What people in the industry need to keep in mind is that more data doesn’t mean more insight, so the ability to parse through the terabytes of data to identify what’s meaningful and relevant is going to be very important in the future”.
An Announcement for Closed Beta Testers
During Casual Connect Eastern Europe 2014, Angelo would like to announce: “Unity Analytics is currently looking for beta testers for Unity Analytics Closed Beta. If you have a mobile iOS or Android game that has launched (or will launch over the next 30 days) we want you to participate in our Closed Beta!” If interested, please sign-up at bit.ly/ucabeta.
Emily Baker is the Production Supervisor for www.gamesauce.biz. Emily loves learning about cultures, taking care of her hobby farm and spending time with her two kiddos.