Capturing game data is the future

They're watching you frag. Every excessive potshot you take at an ill-programmed sentry, every curb you mount during a badly-timed turn, every dragon you slay in a fantasy world, they're documenting your actions, crunching them to make way for a new society. It may sound batty, but mark my words: the future will be determined by what you do on your home console or via your PC.

Now, before you call the nice men in white coats to Guardian Towers 'cause it seems Aleks has taken those Philip K Dick novels a little too seriously, let me assure you this is all happening. At the moment, most of the watching is happening in ivory towers or within the walled gardens of game publishing companies. People like social science researchers whose academic passions are tracking, collecting and crunching huge swathes of digital activity in online worlds to test behavioural theory, find capturing game data much easier - and often more realistic - than sitting in a laundromat surreptitiously taking notes about who talks with whom about which soap powder. Using the server logs, they can document how people are connected. They can track innovations and epidemics. They can learn so much about ourselves from how we play.

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