Gambling on the Cloud: How Big Data is Changing the Gaming Industry


Big Data has changed gambling by making both bookies and gamblers more sophisticated.

The fast-paced gambling industry

The fast-paced video gaming industry is almost bursting at the seams. Today, the electronic gaming industry is valued at over 90 billion dollars. And it isn’t just major companies who are contributing to this rapid growth. There are thousands of smaller developers and new designers creating games for emerging platforms, like social media or mobile devices.

Worldwide Phenomenon: Gaming has exploded in every region across the globe.

There are more than two billion video game players in the world, turning this virtual world into a real data goldmine.

What’s causing the surge in data? Video game data is streaming in from several sources: gameplay data, micro-transactions, social media, price points, payment systems, in-game advertising, virtual goods, multiplayer interactions, real-time events and content updates.

With so much of it available, developers run the risk of recording ‘data for data’s sake’. So, driven by a market in which it’s increasingly hard to retain players long enough to monetize, the focus is shifting toward the right data to generate actionable insights.

Gaming Goes Big on Data

When it comes to collecting customer data, the gaming industry is in a unique and enviable position. Unlike other sectors where customer data is often incomplete, games makers and marketers can access a wealth of live data about every single one of their players. Because video games happen in a virtual world, it’s possible to measure just about every aspect of a game.

Anytime, Anywhere: There’s virtually no place where people aren’t playing video games. Source: Woobi

With video game companies routinely gathering 50 terabytes of generated gaming data per day, Big Data technologies are making it possible to improve games, streamline operations and increase revenues.

Game developers use the huge amount of data generated to improve and update gameplay according to the user profile, providing a more challenging and tailored game, that is less likely to frustrate the player

Segmenting the players based on their profile also serves to improve conversion and monetization of the game.

Big data also affects gambling and casinos

Let’s look at the five major ways that big data has affected gambling and casinos:

  • Big data analytics helps bookies and both online and offline casinos establish more realistic odds, improving revenue and reducing player frustration
  • Big data analytics and data science helps card players in developing better game strategies
  • Big data analytics helps players predict outcomes and wager better bets
  • Big data analytics improves casino marketing and revenue by synchronizing all assets
  • Big data analytics can also detect at-risk players, allowing companies to limit problematic gaming if signs of addiction are detected

Gaming Challenges, Big Data Solutions

The goal of an effective BI system in the gaming industry is to gather data from several types of external sources (i.e. social profiles), and analyze it against streamed online data with historical stored data, to arrive at conclusive decisions about a customer’s spending patterns, tastes and levels of satisfaction.

Who’s playing? Over the last few years the average age of gamers has increased significantly.

In addition, companies in the hyper competitive gaming industry must be able to guarantee uninterrupted play sessions.

Gambling on the Cloud

Cloud-based architecture has proven to be able to uniquely address the technical challenges posed to the gaming industry. A cloud offering may be the only feasible option if a company needs terabyte-scale storage and availability to billions of records for immediate streamed analysis (i.e. click streaming), at minimal investment.

Sky Betting and Gaming, for instance, uses an architecture for streaming gaming telemtry data through Kafka Streaming into HBase for real time decisioning and promotions. Such architectures are common for online gaming. For more in-depth analytics, some gaming companies opt for GPU Databases like SQream DB, for looking back at a longer history, providing better trend analytics. 

The cloud offerings, like Google BigQuery with PubSub and SQream DB on AWS enable even smaller gaming companies to compete with giants such as Sony and Microsoft, by providing them with access to unlimited event logs; scalability flexibility, high compression ratio leading to savings in storage space; and real-time actionable analytics, at minimal investment.

Conclusion

Now that the gaming industry is rapidly embracing big data technologies, the industry is expected to make waves in novel methods of customer engagement, optimized and targeted advertising, and enhance the end-user experience.

Cloud-based solutions could be the key to the development of video games. By replacing more complex, expensive alternatives that require heavy IT involvement with a high performing, scalable, service-based analytics solution, Big Data is being harnessed more quickly and effectively by both established gaming companies as well as newcomers.

 

Author –  Arnon Shimoni