Case Study: Big Fish Games

How knowing your customers keeps you ahead of the game

01

Executive Summary

In the ultra-competitive mobile and online gaming industry, the ability to identify loyal clients and reduce customer churn are key factors to success

In the rise of the digital age, a company like Big Fish Games, which produces and distributes casual games to billions of people around the world, is creating big business with the everyday game consumer. The typical profile of a gamer is evolving, as the proliferation of smartphones means that most of us now carry the equivalent of a games console in our pockets. With the rise of casual gamers and the democratization of game development, creators need to work harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

David Darden, BI Engineering Manager at Big Fish Games (Big Fish) explains: “A few years ago, we successfully transitioned from a PC-centric to a mobile-centric gaming company, and with that came a change in strategy. Today, mobile users are spoiled for choice with millions of games at their fingertips and new releases emerging at lightning speed. The window of opportunity to capture and keep the attention of a player is shrinking, so it is vital that we get our games right the first time.”

With IBM Analytics solutions, we are increasing customer engagement and loyalty, and attracting new users.

David Darden

BI Engineering Manager, Big Fish Games

02

Challenge

For Big Fish, the key to success lies in understanding customers’ changing tastes so that it can deliver the optimal balance between challenging and satisfying gameplay

But to get to these insights, the company needed to get a handle on escalating volumes of data.

Big Fish games can bring in tens of millions of players from around the world each day, so the amount and variety of data is staggering. Working with such large data sets can be time consuming—and in efficient when a particular analytical exercise turns out to be a dead end. The company needed a smarter approach.

03

Solution

Big Fish set out to create an analytics platform to meet their many business demands

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.

These tools allow Big Fish to analyze structured and unstructured data, and analyze the results quickly and easily. InfoSphere BigInsights allows them to rapidly onboard huge amounts of unstructured data and carry out more experimental analysis, providing insight into which avenues should be further explored.

The company is utilizing the solution to build a holistic view of player behavior, and using this information to guide current and future game development.

For the first time, Big Fish has insight into whether customers are playing as expected, where they get stuck, where they continue to play, and which features make them most likely to play multiple times a day. Enabling the company to fine-tune existing games or new releases in order to offer players more of what they really want.

Making these usable, analytic conclusions possible, according to Darden, is IBM Fluid Query: “The ability to answer complicated questions with data from disparate sources will allow our analysts to focus on answering business questions without having to worry about where the data lives or waiting on a project to perform the data integration for them.”

We have been especially impressed by the seamless integration between the PureData System and InfoSphere BigInsights solutions. Fluid Query gives us the ability to leverage the different strengths and capabilities of Hadoop and PureData System for Analytics together.

David Darden

BI Engineering Manager at Big Fish Games

04

Results

Big Fish is successfully tapping into consumer behaviors to deliver games that keep players coming back for more

For major new games, Big Fish is able to carry out in-depth analysis of the gameplay experience before releasing them—enabling the company to iron out rough spots and ramp up the most appealing content to ensure that they capture as large an audience as possible.

For existing games, the company can zone in on the elements that will make popular releases successful, and use this data to inspire new content. With IBM analytics solutions, Big Fish is increasing customer engagement and loyalty, and attracting new users.

In the fast-moving gaming industry, Big Fish can recognize and respond faster to changes in trends than ever before, offering the company a key competitive advantage.

Solution components

  • IBM® InfoSphere® BigInsights®
  • IBM PureData® System for Analytics
  • IBM Big Data Stampede

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