The first VR-exclusive game hit #1 on Steam’s Global Top Sellers list because the devs know how to turn data into actionable insights. Register now for this interactive VB Live event for their insights into integrating analytics into your VR game development.
VR is a little bit like the wild, wild west right now, our director of technology, Stewart Rogers, says. No studio or company in any industry has found the silver bullet — the answer to roping in consumers and keeping them penned up, fascinated, engaged, and spending their very real money.
VB Insight reports have shown that people are generally excited about VR — 62 percent of consumers have at least tried a VR experience in one way, shape, or form, even if it’s just wandering by a game booth in the middle of the mall and popping on a head set. We’re all still poised, breath held, to figure out what it’s going to take to knock virtual reality out of the park and into everyone’s living rooms.
Ben Solganik, a producer at Survios, the company that developed the first VR-exclusive game hit #1 on Steam’s Global Top Sellers list says there are hurdles to jump before any industry gets there.
“Obviously, there’s the price point, which everybody likes to talk about,” he says. And developers are all watching headset prices slowly, slowly come down with bated breath, big hopeful anime eyes, and a lot of impatience.
In the meantime, Solganik says, it’s on the studios to find what makes the VR experience click, and they’re limiting themselves in terms of what they think they’re able to do in the virtual reality playground, when there’s such an extraordinary amount of room to grow, and so much potential for mind-blowing creativity. Developers aren’t even sure what’s possible yet, and too often they’re letting themselves be constrained by that.
“At Survios that’s really where we’ve been successful — it’s moving the bar forward in terms of what you can and can’t do,” Solganik says. “Specifically for gaming, it’s about creating a more human experience, understanding that it’s not just immersion, but making you really feel invested in what you’re playing and really feel like you’re there.”
The key to creating those powerful experiences is data.
“Basically we’re collecting any analytics where the user is interacting with our product — the actual user experience,” Solganik says.
The data points are myriad, and each is essential, because working in virtual reality has some fascinating, unexpected problem points to address. With three dimensions, you end up with three dimensional points of friction.
Survios developers look at where people are entering the game from, how they’re playing, who they’re playing with. Are they playing with a friend or are they playing by themselves? Are they playing one hero specifically through the game, or are they jumping around and trying all the heroes? Where are the players having issues within in the game?
“And then, we take that information to understand play patterns, content preferences, and try to balance the game,” he says. “Is an appropriate percentage of players actually playing through the entire game or do we have a higher churn rate on specific levels? And if we do, how do we address that? Is it too hard because of a certain type of VR element?”
For instance, a lot of players, when they’re particularly immersed in the game, want to stop, look around, and explore. How do you balance that kind of engrossed interest with active playtime?
“The most important thing is taking what we’ve learned from raw data and the analytics and applying it to our future games,” Solganik says. “Specifically for us, we’re looking at play patterns and content preferences from the analytics, then taking that information and really understanding why that information is there.”
It’s important to understand where you’re losing players as well, he notes.
“It’s not just about what you’ve done successfully, but what you’ve possibly done poorly, and fixing that for future games — and for the games that you’re currently working on,” he adds. “So we’re constantly looking at our new builds versus all of our old builds, understanding what we’ve changed, and making sure you understand the learnings from that specific issue.”
Building a game is all about the developers’ vision and their secret hopes and dreams, really. But that’s not enough.
Get data early, Solganik says. A lot of companies think they know what they want to build, and how they want to build it, and think that their game is going to be the most successful VR game in the history of VR games.
“But people are wrong,” he says. “I think it’s really important to set your ego aside and really understand that data is king. And it makes it a little bit easier because it drives you in directions that you may not have previously thought of, and it opens up creativity.”
To learn more about King Data, how to choose, deploy, and leverage analytics infrastructure and more, don’t miss this interactive VB Live event.
Don’t miss out!
- Understand the role of VR in online gaming
- Find out how VR company Survios successfully leverages the Exostatic analytics infrastructure for commercial and gaming success
- Discover how to deploy full-stack analytics infrastructure and tools
- Nicolas Nadeau, President, Exostatic
- Kiyoto Tamura, VP Marketing, Treasure Data
- Ben Solganik, Producer, Survios
- Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
- Wendy Schuchart, Moderator, VentureBeat
This VB Live event is sponsored by Treasure Data.