Do Analytics Help or Hurt the Creative Process of Game Development?

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Nov 20, 2013 7:11:00 AM

For starters, analytics are rarely used in pre-launch development, unless it’s the rare case where intelligence gathered from one title informs the next. They are more typically seen post-launch. When they are used in a live service with creative iteration taking place, they can be very helpful so long as the dev team follows best practices.


Topics: Game Analytics, Video Games, Video Game Analytics, Game Development

How Big Data is Affecting Social Network Analysis

Posted by Brian Keegan | Guest Ninja

Nov 14, 2013 6:43:00 AM

A Precursor to Modern Social Network Analysis

Once upon a time, it took a lot of effort to collect social network data. Months were spent in the processing of designing surveys, identifying populations, completing forms, collecting results, and entering data. Months had to be spent in the field gaining entrée, keeping meticulous notes about happenstance interactions, and then coding up reams of observations. Or, months had to be spent in drafty and dusty libraries pouring over bureaucratic records of yore. The common theme is the “months” part before any actual analysis could begin. The idea that anything about this process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting data could be “real time” would have gotten you thrown in the funny house.


Topics: Big Data, Social Network Analysis, Social Network Analytics

Ninja Metrics Launches Katana Analytics Engine For Game Industry

Posted by Greg Kathol

Nov 13, 2013 3:35:00 PM

Earlier this week, we announced the launch of our flagship product, the Katana Social Analytics Engine. Using Katana and its Social Value Metric, game companies can measure the true value of social interactions and identify key influencers (social whales) and how much that influence is worth in real monetary value. It tracks and predicts outcomes that are important to game developers and marketers. Katana predicts which users will likely churn and identifies which events lead to conversion. We also announced the closing of our seed round at $2.8 million from Harvard Business School Angels and Tech Coast Angels.

Check out some highlights of the coverage we received from our announcement: 

  • Venture Beat
  • Dow Jones
  • Los Angeles Business Journal
  • TNW - The Next Web

Topics: Ninja Metrics

Social Networks for Analytics

Posted by Brian Keegan | Guest Ninja

Nov 7, 2013 7:07:00 AM

Social Network Theory

You are probably Facebook friends with your parents, even your grandparents. They “get” social networking. But the concept of social networks are considerably older than Mark Zuckerberg and go back to before even your oldest relatives were in diapers. Social networks emerged from a relatively obscure branch of 19th-century mathematics called graph theory that sought to understand the math of relationships. Beginning in the 1930s and continuing through the 1950s, psychologists, sociologists, and other social scientists used these mathematical developments to stop talking abstractly about social “structure” and began to collect actual data about the structures of individual people (nodes) having connections to each other based on friendship, communication, or membership (links). From these early developments, social network analysis has grown into an entire field of scholarship that


Topics: Social Networks for Analytics, Social Network Theory, Social Network Analysis

Basic Statistics in 5 minutes!

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Oct 23, 2013 1:37:00 PM

I hated stats class in graduate school. Nothing made me feel dumber, faster. So, this post is dedicated to that full year of ridiculous, and I hope to now reduce the key points to a 5-minute blog post.

Regression. Sounds hard, right? Watch this.

Let’s say you’ve observed a series of events. Maybe it’s the temperature and the time of day. Maybe it’s the amount of people and energy consumption. Doesn’t matter. Now, you take the numbers from those observations and you put them on a regular X- and Y-graph.

Like this:

Regression Analysis Graph Ninja Metrics


Topics: Game Analytics, Regression Analysis, Basic Statistics, Correlation, Coefficient

User Research: Balancing the Left and Right Brain

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Oct 16, 2013 4:17:00 PM

“You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!”

So goes the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ad in which two great tastes are miraculously combined, to the delight of partisans of both chocolate and peanut butter.User Research Ninja Metrics

It’s not quite that simple in science, where the team of labcoats who really, really like chocolate don’t exactly get along with the team that likes peanut butter.

In this case, the chocolate is a proxy for hard numbers--experiments, surveys, big data. We call this quantitative research. The peanut butter is squishier stuff--observations, interviews and participant observation. Both of these approaches are valuable to developers, but what keeps them separate are the scientists themselves.

Why? This is a left-brain/right-brain issue. Some people are more drawn to the logical and others to the creative. If you’re a game or mobile app developer, you recognize that some of your staff are ace programmers, some are ace artists, and the overlap is pretty rare. This is true in every industry.

The quantitative stuff is almost always given more weight than the squishy interview work. After all, who can argue with numbers and graphs? Yet there’s a risk in avoiding the squishy. Here’s why.


Topics: Game Analytics, User Research, Left and Right Brain, Quantitative Research, Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Qualitative Research

Video Game Analytics 101, Part 3: The Slightly-More-Advanced Bits

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Oct 9, 2013 6:59:00 AM

Video Game Analytics 101-3 Ninja Metrics

Now that you have the basics from the last post, you’re ready for the next level where we get away from the aggregate metrics and into areas where you can take actions, test, and see results.

Here we introduce the following concepts:

 - Individual-level metrics

 - Getting past averages

 - Segmentation

 - Predictive analytics

 - LTV and Social Value

 - Individual-level metrics


Topics: Game Analytics, Video Game Analytics, Game Metric Definitions

Video Game Analytics 101: Basic Definitions

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Oct 4, 2013 7:02:00 AM

Video Game Analytics 101-2 Ninja MetricsHere are the basic metrics any basic dashboard should have, along with definitions. These are the kinds of metrics that you would hand to your CEO or board to give a high-level view of how things are going. They’re simple, and best seen in the context of time, so the smartest use is to see their period-over-period change in a table or on a graph. More complex metrics are for developers, marketing and community managers who will need to dig deeper into changes. All metrics should be chosen based on the questions your business really needs answers to - see our Practical Metrics blog post on the subject.


Topics: Game Analytics, Video Game Analytics, Setting Up Game Analytics, Game Metric Definitions

Video Game Analytics 101: Getting Started

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Oct 2, 2013 7:01:00 AM

Video Game Analytics 101 Ninja Metrics

Before you get started, I recommend you read the post on Practical Metrics. Once you have a sense of what your questions are and who will take action on the answers, you’re ready to consider onboarding a package. Here are four steps to get set up and to make an informed decision:

  1. Instrumentation

  2. Review the SDK

  3. Make security decisions, Enterprise vs. SaaS

  4. Understand “real time”


Topics: Video Game Analytics, Setting Up Game Analytics

Practical Metrics: Setting up Game Analytics for Your Organization

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Sep 30, 2013 3:17:00 PM

Practical Metrics for Game Analytics Ninja Metrics

Let’s talk about how, why or why you shouldn’t set up analytics for your organization.


Topics: Game Analytics, Practical Metrics, Social Value

Scholars Lobby the APA Over Video Games and Policy

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Sep 27, 2013 10:46:00 AM

Video Game Characters Sonic in FrontScholars Take a Stand on Video Games, Violence, and Policy

It may not be the stand you would expect. I know that developers often feel like easy targets for researchers and pundits, and it’s often the truth. However, the research community such as it is, is not uniformly in one camp or another. There are a handful of particularly outspoken scholars who believe games are a real danger, but a vastly larger number who are more balanced in their approach.


Topics: Video Games, Video Game Policy

GTA V: Little Ado About Something?

Posted by Dmitri Williams

Sep 25, 2013 7:33:00 AM

Ninja Metrics GTA V Grand Theft Auto VTo the surprise of absolutely no one, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) earned a metric ton of cash in its first week. What’s a little more surprising, perhaps, is the lack of controversy for a game that’s been the poster child for outraged parents, conservatives and pundits.


Topics: Video Games, GTA V


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