Let me tell you a love story on games and data…

A friend told her about a game, a mobile game. She searched it in her mobile’s app store and installed it. She ran it, played through the tutorial and a couple of levels. It was fun!

She opened it the following day. A game pop up invited her to connect to Facebook so she could see her friends high scores. She tapped the “No” button and played a couple more levels.

She met the friend that told her about the game during the weekend. “I’m so hooked!” – she said. Her friend told her of an insane high score. She was impressed and wanted to play but that report wasn’t going to write itself so she only opened the game some days later. She played and did a great score. A different connect to Facebook pop up appeared. It said “Share your high score with your friends!” She pressed the “Yes” button while smiling with the prospect of her friend seeing his score was beat. A Facebook share window showed and she shared her glorious moment. An high score table with her Facebook friends shows. She’s on top. Her friend is second placed.

The next day she played it again after dinner. The levels were getting difficult and she is given the option to make an in-app purchase to help her get through. She can also get help for free if she invites some friends. She makes the invitations, gets the power up and progresses in the game.

After a couple of weeks the game is part of her habits and $0.99 is cheap to get 5 power ups to nail those harder levels. Not only that but her sister made a sarcastic comment on one Facebook invitation post that it’s getting annoying. “99 cents is cheap…” – she thinks – “… and I can get most with a couple of tries anyway.”

After a month or more, the game is mostly grinding. She doesn’t feel she’s playing for the fun of it anymore. Finishing a level doesn’t give her that rush. Her sister went from sarcasm to running over her high scores. The sis-sis competition was fun for a couple of days but it was over now, with her on top again and no one even remotely close.

She plays less and less and one day, she doesn’t open it. She simply doesn’t. Neither the next day or the next. She opens it one last time during a TV commercial. It’s not there for her anymore. “I’m done with this game…” she mumbles. Her friend had mumbled and frowned at the sound of the game’s name not two weeks ago.

This is the love story of a player and a game she loved. It is the story of less than 1% of all mobile players on any given mobile game, with some exceptions.

We, game developers, want to imagine that every single one of the players will love every single one of our games so much that they’ll support it in a way that we can make a living of making them. Data is what allows us to understand how the players love our games and, more important, why they stop or, more extremely, why they don’t even start to love them.

That’s what this blog is about: games and data. From the passionate, visceral love for the art to the cerebral, practical analysis of its data.

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