Edinburgh-based Games Analytics is a data mining company, focused on the online games market. Using the intelligence derived from its bespoke analysis techniques, game developers and publishers can better understand their players, improving the in-game experience and maximising revenue.
TalentScotland spoke with co-founder and chief executive Chris Wright.
Tell me about the history of Games Analytics
I co-founded the company in August 2010, with our chief operating officer Mark Robinson. My background's in the video games industry, where I've been for 17 years - I was one of the founders of iPlay. Mark's background was data mining - he ran a data mining company in Edinburgh, called MDB, which predominately in the finance and retail sectors.
So, when we say we're a data mining company, we have a really hardcore analyst team. A lot of our competitors come from either games companies who have built some analytics stuff, or web analytics, but they don’t have the experience in behavioural segmentation and predictive modelling.
What does your product do?
Specifically, we work with developers and publishers to help them understand what their players are doing. These online games are collecting a huge amount of data and, particularly in models like free to play - where players play for free, but then purchase virtual items – it’s vital that they understand what motivates their players, how to retain and encourage them to keep playing.
We have a technology called Predict, which allows us to do this in real time. So, we can identify and predict player behaviour and help the games react to that situation. A classic example is that we can identify within the first five or ten minutes of a game that somebody might leave a week later. We can use that to offer those players tutorials which might help them to keep playing.
Any exciting developments in the pipeline?
We’re already working with Channel 4 and will be announcing more clients very shortly. We’ve grown steadily since the company was founded. In the past year, we've been building our client base, taking on more people and moving our offices to the centre of Edinburgh.
So you’re very much in ‘growth mode’?
Absolutely. We’re hiring at the moment, looking for both analysts and developers. Up to this point, we’ve been fortunate enough to recruit through our own contacts in the industry, but now we're now looking for ways to get our name out there and attract the best talent, wherever it comes from. We recognise we have to have the best people, and what we're doing is pretty unique, so trying to find people with the kind of expertise we're looking for is very hard.
And what would you say to those top international candidates?
The market's changed massively over the past few years. Just look at what's happened with Zynga - they're three years old and a $10bn company. Casual and sophisticated online games are absolutely where the industry is heading and that’s where we are.
So, we're a small, rapidly growing startup in a very exciting part of the industry. It's massive amounts of data in huge infrastructures – the sort of stuff that gets people in this field very excited!
And why did you choose Scotland?
Scotland's a great place for the games industry and for analytics.
The country has a fantastic games heritage: I've been in this industry a long time and have worked with some hugely talented people.
On the analytics side, Edinburgh is an international financial centre, so there are a lot of people who already have the kind of experience we need. We're also working very closely with Napier University on a knowledge transfer programme around analytics.