Customer Focus - How Knowing the Customer Can Improve Online Gaming

The need for social interaction during the quarantine period has demolished whatever little negative connotations were associated with playing online games and gambling. A recent study shows that nearly 80% of people in the 15-69 age group are into video games during this time. With such a huge opportunity at hand, it is important for online gaming sites to do all they can to stand apart. Most sites understand the value of creating and delivering a high-quality and unique customer experience. This post is about how they can go about doing that.

The road to a great customer experience starts with insights on the customer base. A better understanding of the customers will help companies build better games, market their games better, encourage player engagement, and build enduring relationships.

Initially, the negative press about online gaming had made it difficult for gaming sites to gather info about the gamers. The cacophony about the physical and social ill-effects of gaming had made gamers reluctant to share personal information with the sites they patronized. Gamers would hide their real age, location, and other information to avoid any public shame. These challenges widened the gap between gaming sites and potential gamers. They also prevented gamers from building stronger communities.

But the pandemic has changed much of that. Gaming is mainstream now.

So, it’s time to redefine the methods that online gaming sites can use to truly understand their customers, the gamers.

  • Information gathering & analytics:
    Empathetic analytics of gamer information is the best way to understand the customer. Sites should obtain, directly from the gamers, as much relevant information as possible. This helps profile gamers better. Although gamers might be sceptical about revealing too much information, the basics can be collected. Age, contact information, message logs can be procured. Moreover, a lot of info can be collected automatically like game progress (time spent), IP and Device information, interactions with the gaming platform, etc. It is necessary to be transparent about the information being collected. Based on even this information, the sites can understand gamers’ demographics, playing habits, communication patterns, etc. that the site can leverage to communicate better, design better games, grow relationships, and interact meaningfully with them.

  • Gamer Community:
    In addition to direct information, more information can be collected from the community the gamer may be a part of. Gaming sites can connect with social networking platforms like YouTube, Twitch, etc. Many gamers like to communicate with the gamer community via these platforms. There is much that sites can learn from the community interactions of gamers. Patterns can be detected from information like,
    What kind of gamers plays together with a certain game?
    Is this the same group for every game or does it change for different games?
    What matters to them, their likes, and dislikes?
    Sites can also build a community experience  by allowing people to play with or against each other. The response to such options and the results can help sites gather more behavioural information about the gamer that can help drive better engagement.

  • Gamer and Game Activity Tracking:
    Game progress is usually saved by gaming sites so that the gamer can resume from a checkpoint. Activity information like this can also help sites to understand their gamers better. Insights like betting habits, time spent on the game genres, when games get abandoned, etc are very helpful to profile gamers. Real-time game feeds like the number of active users, resuming users, etc. add more to these insights. With such information, the gaming sites can “recognize” the gamer in terms of their engagement patterns, the peak hours for every game, and the games that might be attracting or losing traffic.

  • Promotional Campaigns:
    Data can also be gathered from the promotional campaigns that the gaming sites run. Traffic engagement for different promotional content like pay per click banners, game teasers, offline promotions, etc. can help the gaming site generate leads that would not only help them convert more customers/gamers but also get newer metrics to gather insights from. For example, what attracted the gamer to the site or the game, which genre of game is more likely to kindle more curiosity among the potential gamers etc.

  • Difficulty Scaling:
    One great way, AI can be used in the context of understanding the gamer, is difficulty scaling. Here, the game difficulty and the opponents are decided as per the gamer’s behaviour during each round of the game Therefore, if the gamer, for instance, loses a game, they might be suggested a simpler level or another opponent that matches their calibre. While this makes the game more entertaining for the players, this method can also be used to understand their behaviour. Essentially, the gaming sites would be using AI based algorithms to draw meaningful patterns related to the gamer choices, their results, and their alignment to the intended result of the game. Such data can be used to make the game more engaging or create games or levels with similar difficulty.

  • Third-Party Tools:
    In addition to social networking platforms, there are many other third-party tools and platforms that can help gaming sites to gather rich gamer information. These tools help the sites visualize gamer and game activity data. They also collect data from other games for the same genre and help gain competitive insights. However, while availing such third-party services, the sites need to be careful about a few points like:
    Scalability and Speed at which the insights are gathered, analyzed, and visually presented to the user
    Effective Customer Service in case of any issues
    Secure and transparent data transaction and analysis Choosing good third-party tools can help gaming sites get better customer insights from multiple sources.

Conclusion

It’s a universally acknowledged truth that understanding the customer is essential for any kind of business. It’s now become easier for gaming sites to gain better insights from their customers. Thus, it is imperative that they gather maximum customer information to refine their offerings even more. It’s important that the process be transparent and the information is used to enhance the value delivered to the gamer. The objective is to leverage that information to deliver a customer experience that makes the gamer come back again and again.