"Information is a high-value commodity in the digital age. Retailers like Target and companies like Google are regularly on the lookout for information they can mine and analyze to produce effective, highly personalized products. The gaming industry is no different: games like Mass Effect and Halo monitor a player’s progress and send a bevy of information back to developers. In an effort to better understand how developers use this information, I spoke with Ben Medler, a visualization designer at EA who has worked on data analyzing tools for titles like Dead Space 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Analytics manifests itself in a variety of forms: before monitored playtime via customer-facing systems, companies also use playtests and market research. Much data is tracked, from how long it takes someone to finish a game, to what players prefer and how they falter – a far cry from the more dubious types of data tracking, like looking at a user’s credit cards or medical records. This tracking is done in an effort to better learn a player’s tastes and habits, ideally resulting products that can better serve players."