Making Games Even More Fun
“In less than a month, AnswerRocket drove insights that had millions of dollars of impact.”
— Stew Chisam, President of Hi-Rez Studios
Hi-Rez Studios is a top 10 video game developer with millions of monthly active players and one of the most popular eSports leagues in the world. Their critically acclaimed games are available on PC, XBOX, PlayStation, and mobile.
Hi-Rez Studios was growing rapidly, and their analytics tools weren’t able to keep up. Just a few years ago, Hi-Rez produced a single PC game that primarily served a North American and European audience. Today, they offer several titles on multiple platforms with millions of users across the globe.
They had migrated from Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services onto a big data framework using Amazon Redshift. This enabled Hi-Rez to dramatically increase the amount of data available to them, but it wasn’t enough.
“Our traditional reporting tools were proving too cumbersome to really find the insights we needed,” said Stew Chisam, president of Hi-Rez Studios. “Queries had to be constructed exactly as intended, and it would usually take a lot of time for our more technical people. And for a fast-growing company like ours, we didn’t have time for that.”
Hi-Rez’s implementation took two phases. First, Hi-Rez had a problem common to many companies that are quickly accumulating large amounts of data on top of homegrown data models. Within a week, one of our data scientists resolved Hi-Rez’s data structure.
The second phase was even faster – it look less than three days to connect to Hi-Rez’s instance of Redshift and configure AnswerRocket. Hi-Rez’s data was stored in a single cloud database with more than one billion rows and several terabytes of data.
Chisam believes one of Hi-Rez’s strengths is a strong connection to their user community. They regularly iterate new designs and actively seek their customer’s feedback.
Deploying AnswerRocket has given Hi-Rez an even greater understanding of their customers. “It’s no longer just anecdotal feedback,” said Chisam. “If we tweaked a character’s attributes or the flow of a gamemode, did that affect the balance of the game or the retention of players in a meaningful way? How much is a given character being played or not? How do the behaviors and tastes of our players in Canada differ from those in Russia? That kind of data existed before, but it was difficult to get to.”
Chisam said that on the scale that Hi-Rez operates, the impact of even small insights could be dramatic. “Before, we could see the highest level of data, but now I can look at specific cohorts,” he said. Studying retention characteristics by country has already influenced the publishing strategy for their newest game, Paladins: Champions of the Realm.