The virtual reality (VR) gaming market is expected to reach $45 billion by 2025, with 62 percent of consumers today having tried at least one VR experience.

What is Virtual Reality Gaming?

According to VR game company Survios, whose VR-exclusive game Raw Data became the first VR-exclusive game to reach #1 on Steam’s Global Top Sellers list and the first VR game to make $1 million in a month, VR gaming is about expanding the human experience and unlocking players’ creative potentials through the power of VR.

In order to elevate the player’s journey into something richer, Survios uses data to analyze and optimize the player experience. The team at Survios doesn’t just wait for the data to come in but creates hypotheses beforehand and looks to the data to validate or disprove them.

Virtual Reality Gamming

Survios Gaming

“At Survios that’s really where we’ve been successful — it’s moving the bar forward in terms of what you can and can’t do. Specifically for gaming, it’s about creating a more human experience, understanding that it’s not just immersion, but making you really feel invested in what you’re playing and really feel like you’re there.”- Ben Solganik, Producer, Survios

How Survios Designs Products to Make the Customer Experience Click

Historically, gaming companies used to rely on internal brainstorming, focus groups, customer commentary and seniority-based decision making to power development.

“A lot of companies think they know what they want to build, and how they want to build it, and think that their game is going to be the most successful VR game in the history of VR games. But people are wrong. It’s really important to set your ego aside and really understand that data is king. And data makes it a little bit easier because it drives you in directions that you may not have previously thought of, and it opens up creativity.”- Ben Solganik, Producer, Survios

Survios Customer Experience Click

Survios mandated Exostatic (a Treasure Data partner) to manage their analytics. The solution leverages Treasure Data’s Customer Data Platform to collect server and client data and answer questions about play patterns, content preferences, control schemes and time spent:

“Data has been incredible for figuring out how long players are comfortable playing, how long they should play, and what they like. Yes, we can cross-reference what people are saying, but actually having their entire play pattern is a lot more useful to identify those points.”- Nicolas Nadeau, President, Game Consulting Firm Exostatic

For instance, it’s important to never assume where the audience is or what hardware they are using. To understand which platforms worked best for players, Survios conducted control scheme analysis and explored weapon interactions.

Survios Game Data

Survios Data Driven hero Optimization

Data Driven Hero Optimization

The team also conducted character selection and match analysis to optimize hero performance and for character tuning. The goal was to use this data to help make avatars feel more life-like so players could be more invested in who they’re playing, and ultimately more invested in playing and staying in the game.Results indicated hero selection relative to the quit rate in matches.The hero “Boss”, for instance, had a low play rate and high quit rate.

This indicated that the Boss experience wasn’t up to gameplay standards. Boss was not being effectively utilized when other heroes were performing as expected. They realized that Boss was cumbersome to use, especially for first time users.The team decided to remove one of the reloading ammo clips and simplified the reload process to address the learning curve for the hero. They also added an auto grip option to help attach hands and improved handling with two hand aiming.

In analyzing match statistics, they could see down to specific levels how users and heros were interacting with enemies and understand the different levels of difficulties within the game itself.

Survios Game Data Analyzing

Using damage and ability usage data, Survios noticed that players using the character Saija had a higher than average number of deaths although general performance regarding damage was appropriate. They decided to increase Saija’s health and also improve tutorials for the character. This resulted in an increased percentage of players finishing tutorials. Higher tutorial completion rates results in better player onboarding and higher customer retention. This also triggered the team to optimize tutorial zones to give players easier and faster ways to access tutorials.

VR Experiences = 10X Data Volume and Complexity

The complexity of VR data collection is enormous because understanding the interface has a direct effect on gameplay. This requires tracking usage of a game that engages a user’s entire body motion, not a simple controller where, for instance, left-handed people can simply adapt, or where the controller, the action interface, doesn’t actually impact gameplay. With multiple different combinations of hardware specs, understanding what combinations work best is tricky but crucial for improving usability and player experience.

Survios looked at multiple vendors before choosing the Exostatic & Treasure Data solution as the most accurate, solid and reliable data management platform for their needs. When keeping up with VR game development, Survios knew they were always going to run into situations where data needed to be backtracked, logs re-processed and something recompiled. Thanks to the incredible flexibility and power of Treasure Data’s solution, partner Exostatic can ensure an answer to any and all the questions management and production teams might have.

They also understood the power of Treasure Data’s ability to provide Survios with granular level data. Many companies use averages, but averages can be misleading. It is key to know exactly where each player falls, including attributes like geospecifics. With 100+ pre-built integrations, Survios knew they could import data from any source and activate it into their chosen destinations.

“You need that flexibility, that ability to keep all that granular-level data, to be able to rebuild epiphanies you’re going to keep having every week. As we learn, we can plan ahead. You need some power behind it to be able to do it well, and you need that flexibility to be able to get what you need.”- Nicolas Nadeau, President, Game Consulting Firm Exostatic

The enterprise-grade security of Treasure Data’s platform was also essential. Another key factor Survios trusted Treasure Data was for the long-term benefit of data ownership. Survios knew that any data captured inside Treasure Data would be forever secure, accessible and never held hostage.

Propelling Performance and Further Commercial Success

Survios uses data to figure out what they should work and focus on next. They are constantly monitoring matches, wait times, processing capabilities and other infrastructure elements to drive performance optimization and ensure a positive product experience for players globally. With Treasure Data and Exostatic, Survios can easily identify and prioritize feature development for their games. With granular level data, they now have the ability to know exactly where players are having issues, no longer relying on inaccurate assumptions or just the vocal minorities.

Game development, especially in VR, is expensive. But strategic use of data has provided Survios a key competitive advantage, helping to propel their games to the top of the charts.

“It’s not just about what you’ve done successfully, but what you’ve possibly done poorly, and fixing that for future games — and for the games that you’re currently working on. We’re constantly looking at our new builds versus all of our old builds, understanding what we’ve changed, and making sure we understand the learnings from each specific issue.”

– Ben Solganik, Producer, Survios