Having fun and pushing the boundaries with the latest tech innovation represent two of Australia’s most enduring traits. This is a nation famed for its competitive spirit, but also for its tech-readiness. In fact, technology is one of the top three contributors to the nation’s GDP.
It’s little wonder, then, that when it comes to innovation in gaming, Australia is the place to look. It might not have the huge big-name game companies like the USA and Japan, but when it comes to innovative ideas, it is the indie studios down under that are making all the waves. Here are a few examples.
In-depth analysis of player behavior
When an Australian indie studio comes up with yet another groundbreaking game that takes the world by storm, people act as if it is down to some random brainwave by a clever designer. The point is, the likes of Fruit Ninja and Crossy Road do not come along by accident.
Australian researchers devote time and technology into analyzing player behavior. This includes a range of analytical tools and techniques, including funnel analysis, which follows a player’s step by step path from studying game tutorials to achieving milestones. This shows how players engage with games and also how they don’t – that is, it highlights points where players might walk away, delivering useful insights to aid player retention.
Another, more famous, technique is A/B analysis, where two different versions of a game are released and trialed. Australia’s relatively small population of just over 25 million makes the nation a perfect test bed for this sort of analysis.
Incorporating AI and Machine Learning into player interactions
Artificial Intelligence is one of the biggest tech gamechangers of our age. It could have a fundamental impact on gaming, and Australian studios like League of Geeks and SMG Studios have already been hard at work incorporating it into gameplay. adapted some of this technology to improve gameplay in open world games like Jumplight Odyssey and Moving Out 2.
AI is used in games like these to generate procedural content in dynamic gaming worlds. It makes for eerily realistic interactions between players and characters, as neither the player nor even the designer can be sure what the characters will say or do.
IoT advances – a wearable casino?
Australians have a passion for gambling that is stronger than any other country. The average Aussie wagers $1,000 each year and most of it is fed into pokies. The Internet of Things has opened up all sorts of new possibilities, including the chance to visit Australian online casinos to play the highest paying online pokies in Australia through a smart watch.
A gimmick? Plenty thought so when they first came out, but the simple advice is don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Global sales of smartwatches are growing at a CAGR of 27 percent, and casino platforms are continuing to migrate to them.
Advanced User Experience optimization
Known as UXO, this is a technique by which analysts leverage in-game data to derive insights on user experience from inside the game. Examples of outputs include creating more balanced gameplay and modifying certain features such as under-utilized weapons.
Insights can also come from external sources, such as gathering player feedback either directly via in-game surveys and the like or indirectly by monitoring social media feeds, reviews and feedback forums.
Incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR is still in its infancy from a gaming perspective. But it nevertheless offers several analytic-driven insights to the industry. Death Squared from SMG Studio provides an interesting example. It uses VR to create real-time gaming experiences, and the developers can review aspects like player engagement in real time. These insights help designers to understand different player preferences and needs.
AR has a more subtle role to play, but is no less important when it comes to marketing games. Used in combination with certain analytical tools, AR can be used to adjust subtle aspects of the game and features like in-game purchases.
Optimizing monetization strategies
Monetization seems almost an afterthought. That’s no surprise given that mobile is by far the largest platform, bigger than all the rest put together, and mobile gaming is responsible for three quarters of gaming revenue worldwide. Yet 95 percent of mobile gamers never spend money, playing only free games and declining in-game spending.
That makes monetization a tricky topic, and Australia is delivering hope with applications like Leadbolt, an advertising and monetization platform specifically tailored for mobile apps. It is designed to help developers optimize games in various ways, such as to include ad placements that are unobtrusive.
Monetization tools can also provide insights on how ad campaigns are performing and how different players respond to them.
Ultimately, as is the case in any industry, providing what people want is key to success. Get that right, and everything else will follow. That’s as true in gaming as it is in any sector. But when you consider that half of all gaming revenue comes from less than 0.2 percent of players, it is fair to say that it makes sense to pay attention to the minorities – that’s one thing that modern analytics can achieve quite easily.