Power up your analytics to improve the gaming experience

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Communications Sector, IBM Analytics

If you have children, you probably know how big of a deal video games can be. And as an adult, you definitely feel the excitement of a big Powerball drawing. Gaming in all its forms and functions continues its explosive growth in mobile, experiential, platforms, retail and beyond.

It’s now easy to see that the implications for gaming analytics run far and wide. The use cases range across the full spectrum of industries, platforms and experiences. When responsibly applied, they can directly lead to a reduction in customer churn, an increase in sales and a level-setting that the customer experience should always be “1-up.”  

Today, I’d like to focus on two key areas: casual online games and retail lotteries. Both of these radically different industries are a potential gold mine of product and player data. The question is: Who’s scoring points with their customers?

Big Fish Games Fish Games is the world’s largest producer and distributor of casual games, delivering more than 2.5 billion—that’s billion with a “b”—games to customers in more than 150 countries. When you’re dealing with a growing catalog of offers and an ever-expanding potential and realized audience, the competition gets fierce, and so do customer expectations. Big Fish Games needed to find a way to identify and reward loyal customers in an effort to reduce churn and improve the overall player experience.

To do so, the company integrated IBM PureData System for Analytics and IBM InfoSphere BigInsights solutions with IBM Fluid Query to create a smarter data analytics process. Now, Big Fish Games can quickly and easily identify those critical points of insight into customer behavior and take immediate action. And like most aspects of media and entertainment, it’s the immediacy that matters to maintain an engaged audience of any size. With this substantial advantage, Big Fish Games can now continually improve products that are both in play and in development to give audiences more of what they want. Through this type of customer experience optimization, Big Fish Games stays on top of gaming trends, keeps more loyal customers playing and increases new customer acquisition—all of which boosts its competitiveness in an industry that’s constantly spawning new players.

As David Darden, BI engineering manager at Big Fish Games says, “With IBM Analytics solutions, we are increasing customer engagement and loyalty, and attracting new users.” That sounds like a game well won to me.

To find out about how Big Fish Games stays ahead of the game, read the complete IBM Analytics case study.

Online games are a relatively recent global phenomenon. Lotteries, however, have a long history of audience engagement going back to the original Keno games played in China around 200 BCE. But we’re not going quite that far back.


Let’s look at early 2015 and a company called GTECH, which is the largest global lottery business. IGT, a leader in casino and social gaming entertainment, merged with GTECH to create the world’s leading end-to-end gaming company. Today, IGT provides proven solutions for gaming, lottery, interactive and social, through every channel. As a key part of its service offering, IGT partners with lotteries and their retailers to maximize responsible sales.

As you can imagine, this creates not only a lot of new and repeat customers but also an enormous amount of customer and retail sales data. To capitalize on this valuable resource, IGT developed the Retail Market Insights platform, in conjunction with participating lotteries, which analyzes data to better compare retailer performance and understand the insights behind what’s driving sales. This strategic new platform uses PureData System for Analytics (powered by Netezza technology) with support from IBM STG Lab Services.

By sharing these data-driven insights from the game designer to the point of sale, IGT is revolutionizing the lottery industry, with the goal of unlocking untapped revenue that could reach an estimated incremental $300 million per week.

As Matthew Whalen, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Lottery at IGT says, “IBM Analytics solutions are helping us assist our customers in capturing new players.” And that sounds like a good gamble that will undoubtedly pay off.

For more information about how IGT gains faster time to insight on lottery data, see the complete IBM Analytics case study.

I don’t know about you, but after thinking about these advances in the gaming industry, I’ll be grabbing a quick-pick ticket on my way home today. And after dinner, I’ll sit down and try out a round or two (or 12) of Gold Miner Vegas.

Game on!

Learn more about IBM solutions for Media & Entertainment.