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ContributionsIndustryResearch

The Next Level of Game Analytics: Biometrics

February 22, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By Aleix Canals, Founder at Sekg

Video games certainly have evolved over the years and are different from one to another. However, there is one thing they have in common: the players. We all have a different experience while playing, as well as different emotions: frustration when losing, happiness to successfully finish a mission, angriness over an unfair or puzzling situation. Players all react differently during their gaming adventures, and it’s a major challenge to understand what makes the audience vibrate or, on the other hand, abandon the game. We wondered how to address this issue and be able to see what is on the other side of the screen; with the goal to create an engaging, long-term successful game, while understanding perfectly the audience’s expectations.

Put Your Users at the Center of Your Studies

The main challenge when creating a game is to not forget the audience as the game evolution keeps growing. Throughout the long journey of game development, many changes come and go. These changes must be done respecting testers and players opinions. Game developers don’t always have time nor resources to get to know how their audience is going to react to those changes. They imagine, they think, but the most qualified people to talk about video games are the ones playing it, experiencing it. Their behaviour and emotions can be seen as a book written in a foreign language: despite not understanding at the first sight, there is a way to decipher it. To solve that issue and take into account the audience view, a solution for companies in the video game industry is to turn more and more into biometric technologies (meaning the measurement of the human behaviour through statistical means).

A few years ago, an interesting article published in the MIT technology review pointed out the rise of video games that keep track of the user’s heart rate. Not only to bring innovation to the video game industry, but also to identify what are the players’ most exciting moments. Innovations of this kind give the opportunity to players to analyze their experience, get information about their emotional moments during gameplay and learn to handle stressful situations. This is an interesting experience for the players, who are becoming more and more numerous, with greater expectations and increased experience. Video games have reached an important popularity, illustrated by the emergence of streaming services like Twitch, gaming tools as Discord, or the professionalization of video games (esports). In fact, there are lot of virtues for players to use emotional analytics such as improving competitiveness, control emotions better, and, to a greater extent, also change positively the negative behaviour they can have in real-life situations.

Predict Trends and Abandonment Risks

Records generated during gameplay are beneficial not only to video game users, but most importantly to game developers. Through detailed data analysis, it is today possible to understand what is working and what is not.

To use experience analytics does not apply only to the game developers products. It’s also a way to analyze competitors’ performance and see what performs the best. Take a look at what the neighbour has done in order to do even better could be a good summary. Game developers must know what are their weaknesses compared to their successful competitors in order to develop the most engaging content as possible.

It’s actually all about giving players the best experience possible. Good experience means customers retention, retention means larger audience and greater profit. That’s a simple calculation, isn’t it?

Integrate Gamers Experience Analytics

If you wish to learn more about emotional analytics and user experience, SEKG has set up an online platform to predict trends, based on the gaming experience, in order to understand how players interact with their games and what are the most important moments during gameplay. Data generated is saved, analysed, and directly accessible by the user of the service, a vision for the future to put the player’s gaming experience and biometrics at the center of game development.

Join SEKG and discover a brand new gaming experience. Sekg is currently looking for gamers to test their gaming platform. More information at: https://www.sekg.net/play/

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Aleix Canals is above all a game passionate, growing up with gaming classics and following the trends of the video game industry. His wish to share his passion and help game developers to create memorable gameplay experiences has led him to create Sensing Emotions and Knowledge Group – Sekg, back in 2015.

Sekg allows video game developers to test gamers experience on a cloud-based platform using biometrics and players behaviours. Along with his team, Aleix intents to give the opportunity to game developers to develop engaging content and unforgettable gaming experiences.

He is currently based in Barcelona and will participate in events such as the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Game Connection in San Francisco, CA.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Real-World Applications of Gameplay with Hilmar Veigar Petursson | Casual Connect Video

February 21, 2017 — by Emily Baker

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Hilmar Veigar Petursson is CEO of CCP Games

Casual gaming has become much less casual. We as developers are discovering that gamers are ready and eager for a more immersed and deeper experience on a variety of platforms. At Casual Connect Europe, Hilmar Veigar Petursson, CEO of CCP Games since 2004, shared stories with the attendees about his and the company’s experience making games that can apply for years – or even decades. Hilmar has a valuable retrospective perspective with 20 years experience working on hardcore games. Using this sort of knowledge, developers have started to apply lessons learned by hardcore game developers.

Under Hilmar’s management, CCP’s critically acclaimed science-fiction game EVE Online has celebrated ten years in a row of subscriber growth. One example of gamers being immersed and doing something real that Hilmar shared during the session was how they are doing real science in EVE ONLINE. He explained that there is “a little mini game inside EVE ONLINE where you’re able to identify images which are from a database from a Swiss company we are working with so we can identify abnormal behavior in human biology. If you do a good job here, you’ll actually get paid in the money of the game. So basically we have EVE players doing actual medical research that might even lead to advances in curing cancer and people get paid for it with the money out of the economy which they value quite a bit and they value doing this also. I think that is a pretty phenomenal example of using the brain power of gamers not only to solve social puzzles and political intrigue but in EVE ONLINE but also to make advances in the real world.”

For more insights, see the full lecture below.

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Exclusive InterviewsIndie

Anucha Aribarg: Making Things Pixel Perfex

February 17, 2017 — by David Radd

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Anucha Aribarg of Pixel Perfex is the lead designer for Earth Atlantis. The game was given an award for graphics at the BIC Festival 2016 and was selected to show at Tokyo Game Show 2016.

“I was surprised when it happened,” said Anucha. “I knew that my game art style was very ‘different’ but I didn’t expect to win an award for Excellence in Art. I didn’t even stay for the award announcement.”

“When I first thought about making a game that looks like an old explorer sketchbook from 14th century, I only thought that the idea was interesting and it would be so much fun to do it.” Anucha continued. “To know that people acknowledged and liked it, that was just awesome.”

ContributionsDevelopmentIndustry

How to Become the Next Big Thing in Video Gaming

February 14, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By Hiro Taylor, Founder of HeroPay

Take it from me, starting a business can be hard. There are hundreds of things to think about and while you’re thinking about those hundreds of things, another thousand or so will come to mind. Being an entrepreneur is really a 24/7 job and it can be a total roller coaster ride. You’ve secured funding: yay! You’ve missed your target client acquisition number: **tears**.

At HeroPay, we’ve created a platform that gives business owners the ability to compare different credit card processors. We’ve experienced many of the ups and downs, the flips and dips of starting a business, so now is the time for a road map of the awesome tools available to all types of entrepreneurs!

EventsNews

Indie Prize Europe 2017 Winners Revealed

February 10, 2017 — by David Radd

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Photo by Lera Polska

Casual Games Association has announced the winners of the Indie Prize showcase. The honorees were revealed during a awards ceremony at Casual Connect Europe in Berlin.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, a tactical stealth game set in Japan’s Edo period by Mimimi Productions, won Best Game Design. Anshar Wars 2, a VR space shooter game by Ozwe Games, won Best VR Game. FRU, a puzzle platformer that that uses Kinect to make the player’s silhouette into a “portal” between two worlds by Through Games, won Most Innovative Game. Blink and Die, a VR rhythm title where the music defines the level by Sureksu, won Best Game Audio and Best Kids & Family Game

“Indie Prize is becoming bigger and bigger year by year – it is amazing and overwhelming to see indie talent and spirit growing so very strong all over the world,” says Yuliya Moshkaryova, Director of Indie Prize. “On behalf of Casual Connect and Indie Prize, we cordially congratulate all the finalists, nominees and winners, and are looking forward to seeing more games in the future.”

Photo by Lera Polska

Other winners include Figment, a 3D isometric action-adventure where players fight against the anxieties of a 40-year old man by Bedtime Digital Games, won Best Game Art. Empathy, an adventure game where you explore the memories from people of the path by Pixel Night, won Best Game Narrative. Lightfield, an omnidirectional racing game described as parkour with a space ship by Lost in the Garden, won Best Multiplayer Game. Super Pet Hero, a voxel game about dodging traffic and pet saving by Amused Sloth, won Best Mobile Game. Lastly CoverFire by 1MBand had the honor to win the Best in Show award which was voted for at the event. 

Indie Prize has partnered with many local game contests from around the world. This grants the opportunity for various regional winners to showcase their games at Casual Connect. All told, developers from 63 countries submitted 470 games for the international Indie Prize scholarship, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year’s Indie Prize Europe 2016. Forty-two judges selected the 130 indie games to be showcased in the Indie Prize area during Casual Connect Europe in Berlin.

Celebrating a well earned moment of triumph, photo by Lera Polsky

Fantastic Nominees:

BEST GAME AUDIO
Blink and Die developed by Sureksu
Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 developed by Crazy Monkey Studios
The Long Reach developed by TLR Team
Beat the Game developed by Worm Animation

BEST GAME DESIGN
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun developed by Mimimi Productions
FRU developed by Through Games
The Adventure Pals developed by Massive Monster
Okhlos developed by The Adventure Pals

BEST GAME ART
Figment developed by Bedtime Digital Games
Vive le Roi developed by Seccia
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun developed by Mimimi Productions
Anshar Wars 2 developed by Ozwe Games

BEST GAME NARRATIVE
Empathy by Pixel Night
Lost Words developed by Fourth State
Code 7 developed by Good Wolf Studios
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun developed by Mimimi Productions

BEST MULTIPLAYER GAME
LIGHTFIELD developed by Lost in the Garden
Super Rocket Shootout developed by Oddly Shaped Pixels
Panoptic developed by Team Panoptes
Akuto: Mad World developed by Hut 90

BEST KIDS AND FAMILY GAME
Blink and Die developed by Sureksu
House of Languages developed by Fox3D Entertainment OU
Figment developed by Bedtime Digital Games
Trains VR developed by The House of Fables

BEST MOBILE GAME
Super Pet Hero developed by Amused Sloth
VOI developed by Yunus AYYILDIZ (gamebra.in)
unWorded developed by bento
Euclidean Lands developed by Miro Straka

BEST VR GAME
Anshar Wars 2 developed by Ozwe Games
Panoptic developed by Team Panoptes
The Biumbis developed by 3OGS
Wrath of Loki VR Adventure developed by The House of Fables

MOST INNOVATIVE GAME
FRU developed by Through Games
Lost Words developed by Fourth State
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun developed by Mimimi Productions
Panoptic developed by Team Panoptes

You can find the full list of Indie Prize Berlin 2016 finalists at indieprize.org.

Photo taken by Lera Polska

Join Indie Prize Facebook community to stay updated about Indie Prize https://www.facebook.com/groups/870174783048528/

The winners are supported by Unity (Platinum sponsor), Korean Game Developers Association (Gold sponsor) and the prizes for winners are provided by: Tenjin, Photon, Amazon Appstore, Appodeal, SpeedLink, ironSource and IBM.

Tel Aviv 2016Video Coverage

Barak Levanon: Understanding People Through Data | Casual Connect Video

February 9, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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Hollywood celebrity campaign: great to acquire users, didn't effect revenues dramatically.Click To Tweet

Gaining users for games is a tough business according to Barak Levanon, mobile UA Team Leader at Plarium. Despite the challenge Barak loves being part of the fast-moving game industry where every day brings new challenges and decisions. They especially enjoy the intensity and action, in addition to working together as a team. Plarium is their first entry into the game industry and, after five years learning the agency business, it seemed like the perfect new challenge. As user acquisition is getting tougher every year, Plarium decided to partner with Hollywood actress Megan Fox – “which performed great to acquire new users, although didn’t effect revenues dramatically”, Barak shared.


Tel Aviv 2016Video Coverage

Noam Yasour on Maintaining a Great Experience While Delivering Monetization Solutions | Casual Connect Video

February 8, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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That's when ad blockers came: companies made ads, but forgot there was a user in the end. - Noam…Click To Tweet

At the start of his career, Noam Yasour, the Managing Director of MoPub at Twitter, UK, would play every game and think how he’d monetize it. Now, in his current role, he actually helps publishers and devs do it.  In his Casual Connect Tel Aviv session, Noam examined the recent trend of ads and IAP (traditionally seen as separate strategies) converging, and explained why it is crucial for devs in 2017 to take care of both.


DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndie

Suhail Habib: Make Games, Have Fun

February 7, 2017 — by David Radd

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Suhail Habib is the sole game designer of 87, creating games for mobile, web, and desktop. Having worked with few resources and mostly solo, they noted that it’s a challenge to reach a level where you get success and recognition, but it’s worth it.

Suhail Habib is the sole game designer of 87

“My most successful game to date was a webgame I released in mid-2015, titled Drink Beer, Neglect Family. It went on to be played by several hundred thousand people, and was highly rated. When I think about what set it apart from other games I’ve created which did not go on to be successes, one thing jumps to mind above everything else: its personality,” said Suhail. “I feel that, for a game to be successful, it needs to be brimming with personality. This can manifest in either a quirky premise, striking visuals, or an interesting mechanic that is explored. This is the way small-time developers can set themselves apart from bigger studios, which are more averse to doing something that’s off the beaten path, and in turn garner some coverage as well.”

“I was inspired by a combination of elements. I was always into games and into programming, so my becoming a game developer was sort of inevitable. But here is what actually struck the spark:

Tel Aviv 2016Video Coverage

Ron Rejwan: Mastering Prototyping | Casual Connect Video

February 6, 2017 — by Orchid

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If it's ugly and people enjoy it, it will be much more enjoyable once it looks good. - Ron RejwanClick To Tweet

Jelly Button Games co-founder and CTO Ron Rejwan started learning to code at the age of 12 aiming to build games, and has been interested in it since they remember themself. At the age of 18 they were drafted to the ISR army as elite army programmer.

In 2011 Ron founded Jelly Button together with 4 co-founders, and since then has been the company’s CTO. While The Jelly Button team agrees game creation is based on feelings and instincts, they prefer playtesting at early stages to validate it. In their Casual Connect Tel Aviv Ron Rejwan explains their approach to playtesting and prototyping, and shares the tips and tricks one needs to know to follow their footsteps.


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