Why should you use Metrics and game analytics in your game?
Most of the time the importance of analytics in game development is underestimated.
But we must understand why metrics are so important and why we should always add analytics to our game.
Why Game analytics are important
So the main point here is the following: if you want to get better in game development you have to make mistakes and learn from them.
But how do you know when there is something wrong with your game? Here is where analytics can help us. With them, you can understand the user behavior and see if something is wrong with your game and eventually fix the errors and improve the game.
What kind of mistakes can we track with analytics?
Simple answer: you can track everything.
You can find if something is wrong with your game design for instance, or you can track a bug in your code. You can also determine how many users click a specific button, how many of them are able to finish the game, or how much time they spend inside a specific area of your game etc.
How to use analytics to understand your game
Improve your Level Design
Let’s assume that you have a puzzle game with 30 levels. You release your game in beta and after a few weeks, you have your metrics back. From there you see that the 70 percent of the users close the game at the level 18. You can then start investigating why that is, and eventually make the necessary adjustments to the level difficulty., It’s as simple as that.
Increase your income:
Assuming you have an in-app purchases page where it’s possible to purchase free upgrades for your game. With analytics, you can understand how much users open the page and which percentage of them click the purchase button. You can also determine the percentage of users that clicked the button. Doing so, effectively gives you money.
Put it in numbers: 1000 of users opened the purchase page in the latest month. From that number of users, 100 of them clicked on the purchase button, and only 10 of them completed the transaction. From this data, you can ask yourself the following question: “Why only the 1% of the people that opened the purchase page effectively complete the purchase?” If you use the data, you have the instruments to ask yourself that question and eventually do something to improve the situation. Without them, you can’t know if something is wrong.
Use heat map to measure your level design
What are heat maps? A heat map can be used to visualize what happens in your game. Assuming you’re developing a multiplayer fps game, if I ask you the following question: “What are the areas where players mostly die?” If you don’t know the answer, then you should add heat maps to your game. With them, you can visualize inside your game the areas where most of the players died. And from that data, you can decide if your level needs some changes or maybe that was exactly what you expected.
How to start?
The are a lot of free services that allows you to track user behavior. You can add the google analytics SDK to your game for example.
Or if you use unity you can have the ability to turn on game analytics within a few clicks and then start to create your own custom events. Have a look at what you can use with your game engine to see what is the best for your game.
Introductions to Unity analytics: some nice videos
Here some nice talks from Unity which will give you a nice introduction into the world of analytics inside Unity:
It doesn’t matter how lazy you are if you don’t have any kind of analytics tools in your game you better go and add it now. It’s very important to understand the user behavior in your game and see how you can improve or avoid the same mistake in your next game.