'Level Up': Leveraging Skill and Engagement to Maximize Player Game-Play in Online Video Games

52 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2016 Last revised: 14 Nov 2018

See all articles by Yan Huang

Yan Huang

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Stefanus Jasin

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Puneet Manchanda

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: November 14, 2018

Abstract

We propose a novel two-stage data analytic modeling approach, combining theories, statistical analysis and optimization techniques to model player engagement as a function of motivation to maximize customer game-play via matching in the large and growing online video game industry. In the first stage, we build a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) based on theories of customer engagement and gamer motivation to capture the evolution of gamers’ latent engagement state and the state-dependent participation behavior. We then calibrate the HMM using a longitudinal dataset obtained from a major international video gaming company, which contains detailed information on 1,309 randomly sampled gamers’ playing history over a period of 29 months comprising more than 700,000 unique game rounds. We find that high-, medium- and low-engagement-state gamers respond differently to motivations such as feelings of effectance and need for challenge. In the second stage, we use the results from the first stage to develop a matching algorithm that learns (infers) the gamer’s current engagement state “on the fly” and exploits that learning to match the gamer to a round to maximize game-play. Our algorithm increases gamer game-play volume and frequency by 4-8% conservatively, leading to economically significant revenue gains for the company.

Keywords: Online Video Games, Gamer Behavior, Customer Engagement, Hidden Markov Models, Optimization

Suggested Citation

Huang, Yan and Jasin, Stefanus and Manchanda, Puneet, 'Level Up': Leveraging Skill and Engagement to Maximize Player Game-Play in Online Video Games (November 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2885082 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2885082

Yan Huang (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Stefanus Jasin

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Puneet Manchanda

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734-936-2445 (Phone)
734-936-8716 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
461
Abstract Views
1,985
rank
61,425
PlumX Metrics