Category: Video Game Metadata

Gaming The Data To Make Better Games

Data is vital for understanding your users and building products that they’ll love. The most successful organizations and people are data-driven. They’ve figured out a way to leverage data to drive their business and user engagement up. More than that, they’ve done it by creating and adding features to a product or service their users need. For instance, Spotify uses big data to understand the digital music taste of users, developing personalized content for them, and enhancing marketing through targeted ads, Spotify wrapped, and so on. This report from Harvard Business Review shows how data-driven companies use big data to get insights to do things that not only improve their bottom line but also make their customers happy.

Gaming is an industry where this holds just as true. Using data carefully can help you make a game which sells well. It also creates an amazing user experience for your customers and will keep them coming back for future releases. Building a data-driven culture can take your games to a whole new level. 

Let’s take No Man’s Sky as an example of how they went from a rocky launch to a beloved game using gaming data from reviews as well as by looking at how players behaved in game. When No Man’s Sky was announced, its developers wanted to make a game which let players explore a vast, procedurally-generated science fiction universe. The game was developed over three years by a small team at Hello Games and was seen as an ambitious project. The game garnered a lot of attention once announced and the developers made a lot of promises for features such as a multiplayer game mode, cool in-game vehicles, and more. The excitement was almost at a fever pitch as the game’s release date got pushed. Once released, the game proved to be a commercial success initially thanks to pre-orders but the reviews were damning, stalling sales. This was a result of the promised features not being in-game, as well as lack-luster gameplay.

Screenshots of reviews of No Man's Sky: the first is from October 2016, the second from October 2021.

The developers however listened to their users’ opinions and started rolling out new game updates and content which was downloadable for free, slowly redeeming themselves and regaining their audiences’ trust and good opinion. Currently, No Man’s Sky’s user reviews on Steam have changed to “Mostly Positive” after initially being at “Overwhelmingly Negative” at the time of its release. Hello Games could have just chosen to keep the profits from their initial sales and walk away but instead, built a thriving community and game by looking at what their audience wanted from them.

For your game to be data-driven and benefit from being so, you need to use data as a tool throughout the game-development cycle, as well as afterward, when you’re marketing the game or even making sequels. Your gaming data should help you with three things:

  • Understanding what stories your audiences’ behaviors are telling you.
  • Leveraging this information to build a game that sells well and is well received.
  • Make sure you’re using the insights you have to the highest possible level to enhance both game design and business impact.

Leveraging Gaming Data Across the Lifecycle of a Game

You can use different kinds of gaming data to help derive important insights about your audiences and optimize your game across its lifecycle. The key stages, and some important questions you need to ask yourself while working on them, are:

The stages of game development: you can use data to optimize and improve processes in most of these.

Planning

In this stage, you need to think about what kind of game to make, what features to include, your budget and resources you can allocate, and do some competitor analysis to see where you stand. Some questions to ask yourself here are:

What genre of game is wanted most in the market? You can look at genre trends over the last few years to gauge which genres are popular among game developers. Before you invest a great deal of money and labor into building your game, you should test out how interested a market or audience might be for a product you want to build. You can use platforms like Splitmetrics to let you test market interest and look at the acquisition funnel, as well as understand what costs you will face while marketing your game. By looking at Google Playstore (for mobile games) or Steam (for PC) you can figure out who the leaders in the market you’ve chosen are- your competition, so as to speak. For example, Oleg Yakubenkov, a mobile game data/product manager, researched the market to see which games thrive on organic traffic and how he could outperform them. He noticed that the racing and simulator niches were getting millions of downloads and there was still room for more. He helped build the Epic Split Truck Simulator which raked in over 2 million downloads in 2019.

Epic Split Truck Simulator, a best-selling game created off of genre research and data.
  • What region do you want to focus on releasing your game? Are you going to make sure cultural nuances are tailored for this? If international, will there be different game editions? Data that can be helpful include how similarly themed or localised versions of games fare in a particular region.
  • How can you monetize your game? Will it be F2P, one-time payment, or subscriptions? What about in-game items and other content? Look at data for the different revenue models and which works best for games like yours. For instance, F2P with in-game purchases works best for mobile games, but for AAA RPGs, it’s better to have a one-time payment.
  • What platforms would you want to release my game on? Will it be compatible with consoles as they come out? Look at data for which platforms are good for the genre you’re planning to release your game in.

Pre-Production

In this stage of the game lifecycle, multiple departments consisting of writers, artists, designers, developers, engineers, project leads, and other crucial departments collaborate on the scope of the video game and see what each of them has to do. You can look at the past games you’ve made to get data about the kind of technology and writing you’re capable of and whether it’ll be sufficient for your current project. You can also do competitor analysis for the same. Sentiment analysis can also be a powerful tool here to look at what kind of games your audience likes, as well as understand what game to make, what features to include, and overall, ideate better.

  • Is your development budget sufficient to bring your vision to life? Do you need to hire more people to help with development? You can look at similar projects as a benchmark for how many resources you might need.
  • Do your developers and engineers have the resources necessary to render environments, figure out in-game mechanics, and game physics? Again, you can look at other projects to set a benchmark.
  • Can my artists and designers create visuals and game art that aligns with what was planned in the previous stage? Does the team have enough talent to do so? You can look at previous games to see what kind of art they’re used to creating and if your new game is too far off those constraints.
  • What is the timeline for this game’s development and release? Data can be of help here to model timelines for each stage of the game based on past releases.

Production

This is the stage where most of the time, resources, and effort of your team will be spent. You will be designing and rendering your characters and environment, code all of your in-game content into existence, and ensure your audio design is flawless. You will also make sure your levels and in-game milestones are immersive and fun to play. You will be constantly iterating and improving these things and following sprint schedules. 

Data really doesn’t play as much of a role here as it does in other stages. You need to make sure that the different levels/phases of the game have been completed as per the game design document and that the different teams involved in the project are communicating with each other and working in sync.

Testing

This is one of the most important phases of game development and can make or break a game. You want to check every aspect of the game to make sure it plays as intended. Whether it is the accessibility of areas, testing of game mechanics, or even making sure the game is neither too easy nor difficult, game testing is the final place to catch game-breaking issues. When problems have been identified, the game goes back to the programmers or staff who help edit it again until the testers greenlight the game.

When it comes to testing, one of the main things you need to consider that uses data is how stable your game is. If there are buggy areas or levels, analyze which areas have the most bugs. You can create models to estimate issues based on past fixes and also to figure out time frames. You need to categorize these bugs into low-level, high-level, and critical ones and prioritize solving the latter. Also, test for audience engagement and game difficulty. Talk to your game testers who can give you data as to whether your game excites them, how many hours your testers have been playing it, and their impressions. If game testers love playing your game, it’s a great sign. If the testing sessions go past the allotted time, it is likely you have something engaging and fun, and therefore, more likely to succeed on your hands. In contrast to the above, if your game development team doesn’t really play your game despite being the ones who make it, there is probably something that isn’t right with it and needs looking into.

Pre-Launch

These are activities in the game lifecycle that help market, promote, and further test a game. It can involve adverts with gameplay footage, game screenshots, or opening up testing to the public. Some things which you need to consider are:

  • Have you planned for an alpha/beta release? What do your alpha testers think about your game? There is a lot of gaming data you can gather from your testers here which include engagement data, game balancing data, information about bugs and exploits, and general feedback. You will want to build an analytics pipeline with this data to constantly drive improvement.
A streamlined analytics pipeline can help make optimizing your game and fixing bugs significantly easier.
  •  DAU (daily active users), MAU (monthly active users), and CCU (concurrent users) are very important metrics that can tell you how many people enjoy playing your game. You want to keep an eye on these numbers and ask your testers their reasons if there are any abrupt decreases. Keep in mind that your beta testers are usually excited to try out something new that they have early access to. You can expect your final audience to have lower retention rates than your testers.
  • In your pipeline, one of the major areas to look at is session duration and frequency. See how long and how often your testers play your game, and if they stop playing at any particular point. This can give important insights into which parts of your game might be boring or too complex for the average player.
  • What’s your marketing budget and strategy? Where are you going to be focusing your resources? Look at past games released to see where you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck, whether it’s showcases at gaming conferences or just advertising campaigns.

Launch

This is when your game is released to the world at large. Before you do so, you’ll spend the time leading up to your launch date crossing off bugs and fixes, as well as polishing up your game before sending it out into the market.

Again, this is one of those stages where you don’t have as much use for data, however, you can still use the analytics pipeline to optimize your game for multiple platforms/system configurations as well as polish it. You can also create better timelines and decide if a launch delay or overtime working is necessary for squashing the bugs which were found during extensive testing based on the time taken to fix the existing ones.

Post-Launch

In this last stage of the game lifecycle, your game is finally done and people are playing it. However, your work isn’t over yet. There might still be some bugs in your game, usually on certain operating systems or hardware configurations. As and when your players submit bug reports, your team can help fix them. Another major thing on your plate is providing game balance updates and patches- may be one antagonist is too hard to kill or one weapon is too overpowered. You’d want to balance these issues to ensure the game is playable. Finally, releasing new content has become standard practice as well in the form of DLCs, where you can increase the replay value of your game and keep it fresh for your audience. Some things you should consider:

  • Look at your post-game release statistics like DAU, MAU, and CCU to see if your user base is stable or growing. If your churn rate is high, understand why by asking your users or seeing which level or segment of the game they leave.
  • Revenue data is also important. Look at your CPI (cost per install), ARPU (average revenue per user), and ATV (average transaction value) to understand where you need to optimize your game and improve it to both increase revenue and provide a better user experience.
  • Is your team resolving the issues which players are submitting in bug reports? Is the frequency of bugs increasing for some reason? Are you communicating the resolution of significant issues with your audience and keeping them updated?
  • Are you keeping the game balanced and rolling out patches to improve the quality of play? Again, tools like sentiment analysis can be of huge help here as they let you track sentiments across the various individual aspects of a game like combat, mechanics, characters, and story.
  • Is your team developing and releasing new content which is of a high standard and keeps the audience engaged? Focus on session duration and frequency to understand where your users might find the game too boring or hard, as well as how you can improve engagement. 

Audiences love personalization. For example, CD Projekt Red, buoyed by the success of the in-game card game Gwent from the Witcher 3, released a standalone version. It’s still a success, and it’s not just because of frequent patches. They have a ton of customizations such as card backs, game boards, several detailed titles and player avatars which you can earn by playing, and lots more. Some of these you can buy but all of them make the game feel like it’s truly yours. They keep the game from going stale, but more than that, CD Projekt Red uses data to monitor the state of the game, be it in-game statistics or forums like Reddit. They see if any cards are overpowered or broken and are willing to hotfix these issues. Their patch notes are also extensive and mention why these changes have been made.

  • Apart from in-game personalization, other gaming data such as play style, purchasing behaviors, and more, can be used to see what your audience enjoys in a game and you can build based on that. Post release changes to improve quality of life within the game can also prove important. Riot Games does a fantastic job with this which can be seen in their blogs and patch notes for Valorant. They point out issues they’ve noticed, the fix they’re providing or mention they’re working on solutions, and other things that are coming up in the game. This sort of update for your audience not only keeps them in the loop but also makes them feel valued.

Data can help you answer these questions and keep track of your game’s quality across its lifecycle.

The Role of Data in the Future of Game Development

A lot of applications of data for game development which we pointed out above are very much in use these days. With the gaming industry becoming the world’s dominant form of entertainment, there’s a question of what the future gaming experience will look like. However, with increased gaming data capture and leveraging it at every aspect of the game’s lifecycle, the question is what will the future of data in game development be like. That lies in a few key fields which have been gaining traction. Predictive analytics is one of these- it can help you anticipate actions that players will take, and help you stay ahead of your competitors. The goal of predictive analytics in the gaming industry is to create statistical models that ingest both historical and current data to calculate scores, risks, and predictions based on an outcome. For instance, predictive models can help gaming companies influence in-game purchases, prevent churn, and optimize lifetime value. The use cases for predictive analytics in gaming are pretty diverse. These include:

  • Game development – identify optimization points for product and marketing teams to make optimizations
  • Monetization – make predictions on behavior that lead up to purchases (i.e. freemium to paid subscriptions)
  • Game design – use algorithms to determine the best ways to keep players engaged
  • Game experience – help determine visual effects and graphics that are most likely to resonate with players
  • Personalized marketing – determine the messaging that will best resonate with individual players
  • Fraud detection – validate that players are who they say they are and avoid problematic behaviors before they have a chance to happen

Apart from predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping the video game industry level up. It saves time and money for developers by automating time-consuming tasks and speeding them up. For example, extensive QA testing is needed to make sure your game doesn’t have glitches or bugs but this sort of testing can be extremely time-consuming. However, AI can help you get over that hurdle. A fantastic example of this is Larian Studio’s proprietary AI World Tester. When a new build for a game is put together, the World Tester pushes the game’s boundaries, going through combat, dialogue options, and menus in search of bugs faster than any human QA team could ever hope to do. The World Tester can even juggle multiple builds at the same time, simulating hours of gameplay at once. 

Larian Studio's World Tester AI makes checking for game-breaking issues significantly easier for its human team.

AI can also help with automating graphics, player verification, and even making games without needing to know code. Another key application is monitoring toxicity in online games. AI has helped Blizzard find abusive behavior and punish it by verifying player reports. By continually looking for patterns in player reports, the machine learning algorithm gets better at identifying offensive communications. Companies like Riot Games have also begun leveraging machine learning and other advanced technologies to parse massive volumes of chats, understand the unique semantics of gamer slang and acronyms, and craft automated yet contextually appropriate responses to abusers.

The decisions that you make for your gaming analytics strategy today will create the foundation for your company’s future in the gaming industry. We’ve already started using video game data for building games and selling them effectively. However, as you can see above, it could be so much more. 

Gameopedia’s video game data helps publishers and game makers to understand, market, and help make better games. Whether it’s understanding trends in games via our game taxonomy or using sentiment analysis to understand your audience at a feature level, reach out to us to get access to game data that can empower you to make the best data-driven decisions.

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[Use Case] Using Localised Game Metadata For eCommerce Platforms

The video game industry was valued at $173.70 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $314.40 billion by 2026. E-commerce portals net a significant percent of this through video games sales revenue. When it comes to these e-retailers making video games discoverable to their consumers, it is vital that the game related information, media, and the like are accurate and up to date. The most important of these is video game metadata. We’ve already gone into detail about what video game metadata is as well as some best practices for game metadata management

To quickly recap, gaming metadata is any sort of information that gives the reader insight into the game, be it titles, character names, setting, and the like. Anyone who is a part of the gaming ecosystem, from retailers to your consumers, use game metadata at some level. In this article, we will endeavor to examine a particular use case of gaming metadata- localized metadata.

There is a need for reliable and detailed metadata at every level of the industry, starting from game development, all the way to sales. A major pain point is when monolingual metadata is used across multiple regions. This reduces ease of access for customers who might not be well-versed with the language and can negatively impact sales. Another issue is when e-retailers tend to cut corners and simply run video game metadata and information through a translator for different languages. Not only can this prove inaccurate, it can also be wrong as often, game data such as names, characters, and the like tend to vary across regions.

Gameopedia’s localized metadata can solve these issues. We provide rich video game metadata from over 180,000 games with millions of facts and insights, across four continents. Our repository is one of the most comprehensive, curated collections of video game metadata, facts, and information.

Who Can Benefit From It?

E-commerce businesses, content distribution platforms, cloud gaming platforms, video game developers and publishers, and whoever else might require high quality video game metadata for their use.

What Localized Video Game Metadata Entails

Quite often, video game information in various regions can be different from one another. This could be the game’s title, protagonist names, publishers, release dates, descriptions/burbs or other details. Making sure your metadata is localized and is updated for consumers from these regions is an important task. 

US e-commerce portal's page for Cyberpunk 2077 Collector's Edition
Japan e-commerce portal's page for Cyberpunk 2077 Collector's Edition

The Need for High Quality Localization of Video Game Metadata

There is a necessity for high quality localized metadata to solve a lot of issues for your e-commerce page. Here are the important ones:

1. Accurate and Nuanced Translations: Finding accurate information can be a challenge. For instance, in Final Fantasy VI, the Japanese name of one of the villains was Orutorosu, a reference to Orthrus/Orthros, a character from Greek Mythology. However, the English translator didn’t make this connection and the enemy ended up being called Ultros. Later, translators realized their error and changed it back to Orthos, though in different Final Fantasy games, he is known as either Orthros or Ultros. Other times it isn’t as simple as word-to-word translations. Quite often, game content gets altered over geographies and cultures. A case would be in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, where for the North American releases, developers changed the names of the sports teams referenced in the dialog to be more relevant to US audiences. The likes of Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants became the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

 

2. Regional changes to visuals: On occasion, a game can look different across regions. You need to ensure that the video game information, trailers, and images you provide are accurate and tailored for that region. For instance, in the German version of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus and Call of Duty: World at War, the Nazi imagery prominent throughout the game in other regions is absent or altered.

Nazi imagery changed for the German release of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. (Source: The Gamer's YouTube.)


3. Regional Game Titles:
Games can be titled differently across regions for a variety of reasons ranging from cultural to publishers’ choices. A significant example of this is the popular Yakuza franchise. The first game was released in Japan originally as Ryū ga Gotoku (Translation: Like a Dragon). The game was released in North America as Yakuza (The Yakuza are members of an organized crime syndicate originating in Japan).

 

4. Regional Publishers: Games often have different publishers for different regions. For example, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was published in the US by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc. and in the UK by CD Projekt S.A.

5. Age Ratings: There is no global standard for video game age ratings. Often disagreement arises about areas such as graphic violence, virtual sex, violent and gory scenes, partial or full nudity, drug use, and the portrayal of criminal behaviour, and more. There are approximately 21 rating bodies across the globe. For example, in the US, Saints Row The Third- Remastered, comes with Age Rating descriptors of Mature, Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Sexual Content, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Users Interact, but in Japan, its simply Z, Crime, Violence.

6. Release Dates: Games are released on different days globally quite often for a variety of reasons. For example, in the US, games usually release on Tuesdays while in the UK, they come out on Friday. Games can also take longer to release in a particular region due to delays with ratings, translations, and the like. Having accurate release dates is essential when it comes to your games’ metadata. For instance, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released in the US and UK on the same day (19-05-2015) but the Japanese version was released on 25-05-2015.

7. Blurbs and Descriptions: Blurbs and descriptions can vary regionally based on cultural nuance and translation differences. Ensuring the correct version is posted on your e-retail portal is vital for good sales and conversions.

English version of the description of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Japanese version of the description of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.


8. Box Art
: Box art differs globally, especially between Western and Japanese editions of games. Making sure the correct regional box art is on your e-commerce page is important information for your customers.

US Box art for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
US Box art for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Japanese Box art for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Japanese box art for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword


9. Price of the Game:
Game prices can differ across regions. Accurate pricing of games on your ecommerce site is a must to make sure your customers aren’t misled. For example, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt costs USD$66.79 in Australia from the official GOG portal rather than USD$50.99.

 

10. Region-specific Editions: Games across different regions might have differing content despite the editions having the same name. These editions may vary in content, extras, and the like. For instance, in the collector’s edition of Resident Evil 3, the US edition only comes with a digital copy of the game’s soundtrack, whereas the EU version has an actual physical copy of it along with the other collectibles. Making sure your list of regional editions and details related to them are accurate is essential for your e-commerce site to thrive. 

There are several more cases where names of games, characters, places, and more are altered based on the region they’re released into. Having accurate and localized metadata is essential for your e-commerce enterprise to succeed and for audiences to know about, understand, and buy the game. Apart from solving these challenges, localized metadata also provides you a host of benefits.

How Localized Metadata Benefits your Customers and You

Once your metadata is localized for your consumers, you can see a variety of benefits such as:

– Localized game metadata improves game discoverability as customers in a particular  region will be able to search for it with greater ease.

It can help boost sales on one’s e-commerce portal significantly. ASOS operates a 100% ecommerce business where 60% of their sales come from abroad. This is a result of a multilingual localization strategy.

It helps retailers foray into new international markets. Accurate localization helps customers understand what they are buying and helps build trust. For example, in Spain, a majority of people prefer to consume content in Spanish as opposed to English. Almost 75% of online search queries are in Spanish, and only 28% of Spanish people speak English as a second language, with varying degrees of proficiency. Localizing your portal for multiple languages is vital if you want to succeed in that market.

It offers a personalized experience to your customers and this can help significantly with retention. 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.

– It helps your portal appear higher on search engine page results and can thus improve ad revenue and visibility of your e-commerce site.

Why Choose Gameopedia

Gameopedia has you covered with extensive localized video game metadata coverage across four continents. Our expertly-curated video game metadata is constantly updated to provide you with the latest game information. We serve every sector of the industry with SEO-friendly game descriptions, facts, detailed game breakdowns, screenshots, videos, and trailers. 

Reach out to us for accurate localized metadata and video game information for over 180,000 games, spanning across 200 platforms.

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Car racing video game at an arcade

Why Large Firms In The Video Gaming Ecosystem Rely On Niche Partners Like Gameopedia

The Current Demand For Video Games

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of people to stay indoors. One pastime that has seen a spike in interest as a result of this forced isolation is video gaming. This sudden increase in the demand for video games has been a huge boon for the Video Game industry. The number of gamers have increased on all platforms, be it mobile, console, or PC. Video game publishers and stores have also reported rapid growth during this period. Even better, this growth has been observed across all sectors of gaming, ranging from the big AAA market to the niche Indie/AA market.

This growth has led to increased collaboration between large companies and smaller firms to tackle the rapidly changing trends in the video game ecosystem.

Video Gaming Ecosystem

Traditionally, large companies find it a challenge to be agile when it comes to decision-making. Their policies are controlled by a huge leadership team, which in turn is influenced by the interests of the company’s investors and shareholders. As a result, bigger companies turn to outsourcing to adapt to changing trends. They partner with smaller, boutique firms that can provide them with various services at a fraction of what it would have cost to set up the same in-house. These smaller firms are focused on a very specific niche in the industry, such as Game Teardowns or Sentiment Analysis of game reviews. This sharp focus allows them to become subject matter experts faster than most large firms. This is just as true in the gaming ecosystem.

Benefits Of Working With Niche Gaming Partners

Let’s see why using niche firms is a more attractive proposition as compared to setting up a new business unit in-house:

  1. Focus – A niche market offering is all about solving those crucial time-consuming and error-prone problems faced by businesses. Niche players do not cast their net wide but are very specific about whom they serve and how they do it. This focus helps bigger companies as they get to take advantage of an expert team’s services without a huge upfront investment.
  2. Scale – Large firms are often skeptical about collaborating with other larger players. Niche firms are a safe bet, as they are more focused on developing their expertise, and the smaller scale at which they operate negates the risk of competition, thus making them an ideal partner for larger firms to collaborate with.
  3. Speed – Niche firms in general do not deal with a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. They operate with much leaner and faster processes, which enables them to constantly adapt to their clients’ needs. This in turn makes it possible to deliver results faster. This speed can rarely be found when collaborating with a larger firm. 
  4. Customizability – Expanding on the previous point, given that niche firms are more flexible with their processes, they are also able to offer more customized solutions without compromising on speed. Their clients are also comfortable discussing more customizable options, as they know that the dedicated team of experts will do their very best to meet the requirements. This is not to say that a larger firm would not be able to offer the same, but it would likely take much longer to get back with a similar offering, not to mention at a significantly higher cost.
  5. Pricing – Speaking of costs, hiring niche firms remains profitable for most large companies, as the former have a small employee base. Every person hired in these firms is chosen after careful consideration and this reflects in the very reasonable pricing structure offered to clients. In these uncertain times, these firms place great emphasis on building relationships, so they are unlikely to increase their rates overnight. This makes them an economical choice to work with.
  6. Dedication – While every service firm does its best to treat its clients with equal priority, the fact remains that the larger the firm, the more likely it is that the client will be given only as much response as contractually obligated. Smaller firms realize the need to treat their clients with utmost priority and can focus on delivering the very best customer experience.

Services that Niche Gaming Firms Can Offer to the Video Game Industry

  • Video Game MetadataMetadata provides essential information about a game such as its developer and publisher, release date, age ratings, and so on, including custom game data as well if necessary. This data is essential to maintain several kinds of game databases and plays an important role in data analysis as well.
  • Game Teardowns – Looking into what makes a game successful can help other developers and publishers understand what makes a game tick. A game teardown offers a vast and comprehensive breakdown of what a game consists of and how all of its moving parts work. This work is best done by experts in the gaming ecosystem who do similar work on hundreds, if not thousands of games each year.
  • Game Insights – Part of the process of making a game involves understanding how the market is reacting to certain elements in a game. A proper analysis of multiple games which have already been released in the market can provide these insights, and not every developer can or will want to do this analysis in-house.
  • Sentiment Analysis – Another service that niche firms in the gaming ecosystem are best suited to offer is sentiment analysis. This involves analyzing the conversations and general sentiment about a game after its release. A game may garner varying opinions from critics and the public. As it is these reviews that influence sales in the long term, understanding these sentiments is important for developers of upcoming games.
  • Game Content For Reference Fingerprints –  Automatic Content Recognition helps identify the game being played on a screen, be it a Smart TV or a Smart Device connected to a TV. ACR data is used by several players in the market, and for the recognition to be made possible, Reference Fingerprints of the game being played are required to match against the sample collected from the consumer.
  • Video Game Media – Some companies – especially stores – require specialized video game media to use on their portals. This includes custom box art, descriptions, short clips, and so on.
  • Customized Services – There are services which are unique to the company looking for them. These services may not have been defined by the industry yet. Resolving them requires a team of experts from the gaming ecosystem who are well-versed with the multitude of games coming into the market each year and can provide custom game data and solutions.

While the gaming industry has been fortunate to come out strong during the pandemic, the world economy continues to remain uncertain. It is also riskier for large firms to take new initiatives in these unpredictable times. In such a period, it is beneficial for large firms to entrust niche companies in the gaming ecosystem to help them adapt to the changing trends, instead of trying to develop new in-house capabilities from scratch.

Gameopedia is one such provider of niche solutions in the gaming industry amidst the video game ecosystem. For more than a decade, we have been building our expertise in providing game metadata, recommendations, and insights, which makes us the top choice for meeting these niche services. We offer a wide range of solutions in the gaming ecosystem that cater to various companies. Interested in what we have to offer? Reach out to us to learn more about our service offerings.

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The Definitive Database Of Video Games

With an estimated market size of $167.5 billion, the video game industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings around fifty years ago. Once marketed almost exclusively towards kids and teens, video games have now matured to create unique experiences for adults as well. This is helped by the fact that the children who grew up playing video games in the 20th century stuck to their hobby and are now adult gamers.

A natural consequence of this evolution is that there are now multiple genres of games to choose from, with each game further having several sub-genres and other elements that make it unique. Even for the most passionate gamer, it can be hard to keep track of the multitude of games arriving in the market each year. This is one of the reasons for the existence of a Video Game Database.

What is a Video Game Database?

A Video Game Database contains intricate video game data on multiple aspects of each game. There were some databases that started in the 1990s, became popular and in fact continue to thrive today. These were almost always crowd-sourced and worked as a good source for gamers and enthusiasts. 

Since then, Video Game Databases have continued to evolve and gave rise to niche Professional Databases for more intricate requirements. They are maintained by teams of video game experts, who take great care in curating the data entered into the database. Their goal is to provide curated and classified high-quality video game data for the gaming ecosystem. 

Before we dive deeper into the two types of databases mentioned above, let us examine the need for a Video Game Database in the first place.

The Need For A Database Of Video Games

With thousands of video games releasing on just one popular marketplace (Steam) every year, it is clear to anyone who works in the industry that there needs to be a process through which one can organize and study data regarding major releases. This is where a database of video games comes into the picture. A properly managed database can provide accurate information about an assortment of games.

The two major types of Video Game Databases – crowdsourced and professionally managed – are both essential to organize and understand the huge stream of data pouring in each year. This video game data, when used efficiently, has several applications, the most prominent of which is to help consumers make smart purchases.

Now let us compare the two major types of databases, looking at the benefits and limitations of each one.

Crowdsourced vs Professional Databases

Video Game Database

What does a Video Game Database contain?

  • Video Game Metadata (Basic information) – This includes information like the game’s release date, developer/publisher, age ratings, release platforms, and so on. Video game metadata is used to quickly identify core information about a game, which can then be used to find games with similar data. 
  • Game Breakdown/Teardown  – A breakdown/teardown of a game breaks down the various concepts and components that make up a game, to analyze what makes it tick. This builds upon the information included in the metadata and adds on data like Genre, Gameplay Actions, Game Concepts (Design choices used in the game), Perspective, Types of Elements used (weapons, mods, and so on). Building upon information collected in a game breakdown, Games can be classified into groups. This classification helps in identifying patterns between games. 
  • Game-related multimedia– These include screenshots, high-definition trailers, and gameplay videos.
  • Relations – This information analyzes how a game is related to other games in a series or franchise. For example, a series includes games that continue their story with sequels. An example of this is the Halo series. A franchise is a group of games that all revolve around a common theme, but have their individual stories. An example of this is the Assassin’s Creed franchise (which, interestingly, also has a series of sequels included)

This varied mix of information enriches the value that a database can provide, giving rise to many potential applications. So, who exactly taps into this potential?

Who Needs A Database Of Video Games?

  • eCommerce Stores – Digital game purchases have gone up by leaps and bounds in recent years. This makes it important for online game stores to ensure that they provide accurate data that are always up to date about each game to their customers using high quality video game metadata. It is also in their interest to provide smart game recommendations for returning customers. These recommendations are powered by algorithms, which in turn need a database to feed them.
  • Game Developers & Publishers – Market research is a key phase in the development of any video game amidst the video game industry. Game developers of all sizes spend a considerable amount of time analyzing the in-trend game features and their competitors’ games to make their games better. Such video game data can easily be provided by a professional database.
  • Advertisers – Advertisers can use video game data for creating better ads, powered by sentiment analysis. This allows advertisers to pick an opportune moment to run their campaign, by reaching out to a targeted and engaged audience, that is already invested in the kind of game(s) being advertised.
  • Media outlets – As competition heats up in the media space, larger outlets can differentiate themselves from their competitors by providing richer and up-to-date video game data to their users via an API that is powered by a stream of data fed by a Video Game Database. The data is then supplemented with high-quality screenshots, trailers and artwork related to the games. 

And it’s not just limited to these four; many digital distribution platforms, gaming websites and forums also require access to an up-to-date video game database.

Conclusion

The recent boom in gaming due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to sustain well into the future. As the number of gamers across the world increases, businesses in the video game industry will need to serve this rising audience more efficiently. Using the functions of a well-maintained database is a step in the right direction.

Gameopedia’s professionally maintained database and high quality video game data can serve multiple needs of businesses in the gaming industry. We provide a vast array of customizable services, powered by our database that contains more than 5 million video game facts/insights and up to 13,000 Game attributes for more than 180,000 games.

Our database keeps growing every day and we are excited to work in the dynamic, ever-changing video game industry. Get in touch with us to know more.

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Everything You Need To Know About Metadata For Video Games

What is Video Game Metadata?

Metadata describes an item, i.e. it is any information that summarizes basic details about the item, which can make finding and working with particular data easier.  For example, the ingredients listed behind a box of cookies is metadata describing the contents of the cookie. 

Similarly, video game metadata refers to descriptors about the game that not only give you an overview of the game like the developer’s name, publisher’s name, release date, game description, and so on, but it also helps the people using this video game data easily understand what the game has to offer without having to purchase or play the game themselves.

What Constitutes Video Game Metadata

Video game metadata could be any information that gives the reader insights about the game. From the release date to the game franchise it belongs to, any information that tells us something about the game can be considered game metadata.

Let’s take the example of Borderlands 3 – an action role-playing first-person shooter. The metadata for this game would look something like this.

Metadata for video games

The information above may appear to be basic but its applications are invaluable to certain sections of the industry. 

This leads to our next question:

Who Needs Metadata For Video Games?

Everybody that is a part of the gaming ecosystem, from the retailer to the consumer, uses video game metadata at some level. The format in which the data is presented and how it is used can vary depending on the requirement. Let us explore this in detail. 

e-Retailers & App Stores

A retailer’s goal is to engage their customer and attend to their needs or solve a problem they have. 

Your first thought might have been retailers want to sell more but it might be more prudent in the long run to gain the trust and loyalty of their existing user base. And gamers are a loyal bunch.

The best way to gain a gamer’s trust? Understand what you are selling inside out. 

With detailed and descriptive metadata and good metadata management policies, the store can display the right games to the customer most likely to buy them. What are these “right games”? They are games which have the features that a customer wants, or a game by the same developer whose earlier work the customer enjoyed for example. This is information that the customer needs to make a decision. By offering the right games, the store improves not just the customer’s user experience but also instills a certain sense of loyalty in them. You gain their trust by putting the customer first with recommendations and search results that solve their problem.

Let’s consider the example of Cyberpunk 2077. Even though it was the most anticipated game of 2020, not everybody was looking forward to the game. This segment of your user base would prefer not to be inundated with content and promotional material regarding the game. For these users, “Cyberpunk 2077” is the definition of not being the “right game”.

Metadata for video games - Cyberpunk-2077

Combining comprehensive game metadata with user behavior, your game store can display content that actually appeals to the audience, making their experience more personalized and improving conversions. But above all, you put the customer first, building their trust in you and retaining their loyalty.

For more information, have a look at our video game metadata offerings for e-Retailers.

Advertisers

People use the same item for different purposes. These purposes are defined by the users’ requirement. For example, while a gamer could be looking for a mouse suitable for gaming, an office employee will look for a mouse more suited for day-to-day use. Depending on their requirement, the features they are looking for can also change.

This means that to advertise the right product to the right consumer, it is vital to understand the “why” and not just the “what”. That way, you don’t just show the user the item that they were looking for, but you also solve their problem.

Let us look at this through the example of a game. The “Mario Kart” franchise is an incredibly popular series of games, having sold over 150 million copies worldwide. These games are enjoyed across all age-groups, by gamers who have different expectations from their gaming habit. 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Metadata

Some gamers play because they like to win. They like competitive games.  There are those who play games purely as a social activity that they indulge in with family or friends. There’s another group of gamers who have a hard day at work, and would like to unwind in the evening, without having to worry about complex plotlines or learn advanced gameplay mechanics. 

The beauty of “Mario Kart” is that it has something for all the types of gamers described above, but an advertiser can’t expect to use one campaign to reach out to all three groups. Trying to sell a game in the “Mario Kart” series requires using a different pitch to sell to each of these three kinds of gamers. To do that, they need to understand how to appeal to these target demographics. What keywords do they look out for when making a game purchase? What features do they expect from a game? Do they expect their games to look simple, or photorealistic with complex mechanics?

Hence, the advertisers should not only align with “what” the consumer is looking for but also the “why”. With comprehensive game metadata, ad networks can improve their targeting, making it more personalized while providing context to why the said product is best suited for your needs, and not just the best on the market.

Advertisers can learn more about our data offerings that can benefit their campaigns.

ACR Platforms

With the rise of OTT platforms, we have seen a significant need for Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) – identification technology that utilizes a large database to recognize content (video, audio, or digital images) played on a media device. Using this technology, ACR platforms can not only extract user-specific viewing data like time of viewing, show title, and genre, but also prevent third-parties from pirating online content.

For example, major appliance providers like LG and Samsung do not have a way to track what content is being played on their Smart TVs via gaming consoles, making it difficult for these brands to understand user behavior and interests. Instead, they have to depend on the device manufacturer or third-party providers for this information.

In a world where gaming has become everyone’s new favorite pastime, this information is gold, and paying for this data is not feasible in the long term. This led to manufacturers using ACR to bridge this gap. 

ACR platforms utilize thousands of “fingerprinted” content to use as a reference in identifying the viewer’s on-screen content. With comprehensive game metadata, ACR platforms can tag game videos and screenshots with descriptive tags that describe key characteristics or elements that can be used to identify a specific piece of content.  

Read more on our data offerings for ACR Platforms.

Why Do You Need Metadata For Video Games?

Improve Search Results and Product Discoverability

In a study carried out by Kotaku, 40% of purchased games are never even played. From this information, it is clear that there are people to play games but they can never find the right one. So, to get the right game to the right individual, it is important to catalog these games properly using specialized video game data and metadata management practices.

With an exhaustive game metadata repository, you get access to descriptive tags and information that provide an in-depth understanding of the gaming product or service you are offering. This allows you to improve product placement and discovery.

For example, if a customer is interested in purchasing a popular RPG game called “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”, they would understand from the description that the game is an open world Action RPG with a medieval setting. But if they wanted to understand to what extent the open world and RPG elements are present in the game, they could be presented with additional information by using descriptive tags. For this game, some tags would be, “Open World (Defining)”, “Action (Key Feature)”, and “Role Playing (Defining)”. 

From these tags, the customer understands that the game heavily features open world and Role Playing features, while Action elements are strongly present without being the main focus. This additional layer of information can strengthen the customer’s resolve to purchase the game.

Understand and Use Your Data Effectively

The most common problem faced by people working with video game data is that it is not ‘clean’, i.e. it is not organized and easy to understand. This makes working with data difficult and time-consuming. 

With comprehensive metadata, people can make sense of the data presented to them quicker. This reduces turn-around times, and improves the quality of insights derived from the data. Conventionally sourced data would require a great deal of fact-checking and cleaning before you’re sure it’s employable. However, using an organized and quality-checked dataset and good metadata management practices, such as the ones provided by Gameopedia, means you can utilize it right away. 

Improve Trust in Your Data

Organized game data and information, collected in a standardized manner, means that the data is immediately ready for use and its in-depth nature provides transparency that would have been difficult to achieve otherwise.  Gameopedia has a proven track record in delivering standardized metadata consistently, with all the definitions and use cases being agreed upon by a team of gaming experts.

Properly managed video game metadata can help organizations better trust the collected data because they know that the information is curated in an organized manner.

The video game data that we collect can be used for a variety of purposes. How much data you collect and how you use it is at your discretion.  Powerful, descriptive metadata and proper metadata management makes the data easier to understand and use irrespective of the volume.

At Gameopedia, we look to provide informative game metadata to every member of the gaming ecosystem in order to empower their efforts and capture the gaming market. Reach out to us to leverage the power of our data that encompasses over 180,000 games spanning 200 platforms. 

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How e-Retailers and App Stores can boost Game Discoverability and Conversions with Quality Game Content and Metadata

The ability to collect from and analyse vast pools of information is expected of all enterprises with a digital footprint. This represents an increasing number of businesses and operations every year.

With more than one-third of all global retailers selling the majority of their products via digital platforms, and the rest expecting the gap between physical and digital retail to shrink ever further in the coming years, it is becoming ever more imperative for e-Retailers and App Stores to streamline their data usage in order to improve uniformity, efficiency, and cost. 

In order to take advantage of the ripe condition of the digital retail market, there needs to be both a mechanism for sourcing large quantities of data, as well as the ability to analyse, categorise, and easily communicate what that data means.

This is especially true in the video game industry, which is growing exponentially, both in terms of overall sales, but also in terms of how many of those sales are switching over to digital retailing.  

PC gaming has steadily been shifting from physical sales to digital sales, with the ratio being 4:1 in favor of physical sales in 2009 in the US, to an almost directly inverse 1:4 in favor of digital sales by 2018Gaming app download revenue was responsible for $20.9 billion, or 72.3% of all app revenue for Q3 2020, across both iOS and Android app stores

As a result of the current global pandemic, which has led many customers to turn to digital options for their needs, Sony has seen the digital sales for their console games grow by 154% this year alone, in comparison to their physical sales growth of 1%. In the same year, for the first time in their history, more than 50% of all their gaming revenue came from digital sales. This trend tracks similarly for other major game developers. A major reason for improved digital sales is good usage of video game taxonomy and metadata.

What is Video Game Metadata?

Game metadata consists of descriptors about the game that not only give you an overview of the game like the developer’s name, publisher’s name, release date, game description, and so on, but it also allows the people who use this data to easily understand what the game has to offer and game content without having to purchase or play the game yourself.

Video Game Metadata

How Stores Benefit from Quality Metadata and Game Content

Video game metadata can be vital in increasing product discovery, as well as providing an enhanced customer experience for discerning customers keen to know more about a product, especially via a digital platform. This increases the transparency offered by a digital retail platform, further increasing the likelihood of a purchase, as well as the customer returning. Video game taxonomy helps in classifying and organizing games which makes it easier for your customers to find what they need.

The presentation of certain keywords regarding genre or gameplay specifications will also greatly enhance a platform’s SEO, allowing visibility across search engines, while simultaneously increasing visibility of related products on the app store or e-retail platform. Powerful video game taxonomy allows retailers to bolster their in-house personalization and search solutions.

Good metadata and  game content is capable of guiding the customer from when they arrive at the app store or e-retailer platform till the point at which they make a purchase. During the discoverability phase, keywords, SEO classifications, and relevant images help the customer along this journey. A varied database improves the targeting of a wider array of customers, leading to increased conversions.

An estimated 65% of users barely swipe or scroll beyond the first images and text they see. The remaining users, however, prefer to examine their products in detail. Access to well-organised video game metadata and game content caters to both types of users. In addition to this, the smart deployment of a well-curated database can keep customers engaged for longer periods, improving website traffic.

Despite the rapidly growing state of the global digital market, the presence of high-quality video game metadata remains minimal. In 2020, most e-retailers and app stores rely on data provided to them by suppliers, and their own in-house collection and sorting. This is an expensive and cumbersome process, with supplier data varying in its quantity, quality, and clarity.

How can e-retailers and App Stores gain the Competitive Edge in Video Game Metadata?

In place of these expensive and inconsistent options, e-retailers and app stores are better served seeking out services and products that specialize in providing metadata collection and curation.

This allows retailers to avoid the hassle and expense of organizing and maintaining their own databases, freeing up their time and capital to be invested elsewhere. It also ensures the accuracy and uniformity of game information across platforms. By utilizing a pre-existing and well-curated database for video game taxonomy, game content, and metadata, e-retailers and app stores will be able to improve existing personalization and product discovery with detailed descriptive tags and metadata.

With that being the case, an even wider, more varied customer base is likely to turn towards e-retailers and app stores for their video game needs. The ability to provide these customers with the most relevant information, organised and classified according to their individual search and spending patterns and quirks by using video game taxonomy, game content, and metadata, is a provably successful way of increasing the frequency a customer returns to purchase more.

With a database spanning 40 years of video game metadata across over 200 platforms, this is where Gameopedia and our products shine. We specialize in a niche suite of data services that improve game discoverability, enhance customer experiences, and increase conversion. Reach out to us for industry leading video game information for over 180,000 games.

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