Unity and GameAnalytics Partner Up! Roadhouse Interactive Shares Their Experience With Both Tools
Exciting news! GameAnalytics and Unity Technologies have partnered up to bring developers an unprecedented analytics solution! Analytics have become an increasingly important subject for game producers and developers, not only for free-to-play games, but all forms of interactive media. In concert with the tools of creativity, imagination and experience, game designers who make use of rock-solid statistical and analytic information are able to make the most informed and intelligent decisions, and therefore will always have the upper hand. This gives developers and end user the most solid, maximized user experience possible.. resulting in more engaging and exciting games, less frustration, and a lot more revenue! Find everything you need to get started with this powerful new service on the Unity Asset Store.
Read this featured interview with Roadhouse Interactive’s CEO, James Hursthouse, on how they have taken advantage of the Unity Asset Store eco-system to discover and integrate GameAnalytics. The GameAnalytics tool brought Roadhouse Interactive closer to their players and enabled them to get deep insights into their game performance with a data driven approach to game development.
Tell us a bit about Roadhouse Interactive.
Roadhouse is an independent game developer based in Vancouver BC. Our focus is very much on free to play, but we’re always looking at other models that make sense.
Our talented team has years of development experience on multiple platforms, so we’re well equipped to create great games no matter the genre, from innovative social casino titles such as Trophy Bingo to established IP titles such as Warhammer 40,000: Carnage.
You may have also noticed that our Freeride: Ski Cross title was announced in Unity’s own Unity Games publishing initiative.
We did indeed notice Freeride: Ski Cross. You are one of the first studios to join the Unity Game publishing effort. Can you tell us more about this move?
Freeride: Ski Cross is the brainchild of Ian Verchere (SSX Tricky) and Jay Balmer (Skate) and is one of the first serious entries into the action sports category on mobile and tablet. The idea of blending free to play with high quality action sports has been germinating at Roadhouse since the early days of the company, and we’re happy that we’re partnering with Unity on this first iteration.
You mentioned that most of your games follow the freemium model. How do you usually monetize them?
We want to make sure that, first and foremost, our games are fun and rewarding for the gamer. That’s essential. While it’s possible to play through our games without needing to purchase anything, we also offer a number of options that enhance or accelerate the experience and give players who maybe don’t have huge amounts of time to devote to the game a little bit of help keeping up with their buddies.
This generally comes in the form of power-ups, equipment and other boosts that add to the depth of gameplay. We’re always keen to offer true value for the money, so if we do charge for extras, we make sure they’re of true value.
How did you discover GameAnalytics? Through the Unity Asset Store?
Actually, it was initially through a visit to Roadhouse by people on the GameAnalytics team. We’d also seen it available in the Unity store and finally decided to give it a try. We did an in-depth review of all of the tools available out there and found GameAnalytics to best complement the other tools we use on the game operations side of the business.
What do you usually track with GameAnalytics?
Everything from seeing where people are spending money to what they are doing in-game, where there are roadblocks, etc. Of course, we are also looking at retention and how we keep our customers coming back.
What’s your favorite GameAnalytics tool? Cohorts, Funnels, Heatmaps etc.?
Personally, we believe that cohort analysis is fascinating. It is providing us with some great insights that we’re continually taking on board and reacting to.
Also, the power of having access to our core game metrics out of the box with GameAnalytics is key.
For example, we usually look at session lengths and returning user data to get a general idea about user engagement.
Note: All funnels and charts have been anonymized.
With our custom events, we also rely a lot on funnels. They allow us to quickly test and isolate each tutorial flow, to see exactly where people drop out. This indicates exactly which tutorial steps are interesting enough to keep the players hooked and which steps are redundant. Looking at the lengths between the steps also offers great feedback on how smooth the learning curve is.
Did using GameAnalytics give you any pleasant surprises about your games?
We’ve learned a ton about our games – and have enhanced the experiences based on what we learned. As an example I can share that in one of our recently launched games, during beta testing, we were able to understand that ‘free’ items available in the store were not being collected; and they were essential to the gamers’ in-game success. Through GameAnalytics we identified this problem, and amended the game flow accordingly.
You probably saw this one coming, but how is development life after starting to use GameAnalytics?
I think as a group, we’re closer to our players than ever before – we know what features are resonating, where we’re making money directly, where it makes sense to look at alternative forms of revenue generation and so on.
Ultimately, data is at the core of the organization, and it informs our decision making for each game on an ongoing basis. A good analytics platform in the hands of talented game designers can be a very powerful tool to make the games more appealing. And today, more than 15 people from our company log in to GameAnalytics every day as one of the tools we use to check KPIs on everything.
How would you describe the process of integrating GameAnalytics into your Unity games?
Our team is pretty familiar with the tools that Unity provides, so it was fairly easy. For us, the deep integration between GameAnalytics and Unity meant that we were up and running with 45+ important metrics in a few hours of development time.
Do you have any advice for developers who are new to GameAnalytics?
I think one key piece of advice is to use analytics but not necessarily to react to every little change on a day by day basis. The tendency is to want to ‘fix’ immediately, but it sometimes makes sense to wait for a while to make sure what you are seeing is really a trend, and not a blip.
More about GameAnalytics
There you have it. So if you want to start understanding everything about your game, from player acquisition and engagement to in-game monetization, remember that the GameAnalytics SDK for Unity is right here in the Asset Store: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/#/content/6755
Be sure to stop by the GameAnalytics blog, they share a wealth of insights and key learnings on data analysis in games, in-depth introduction to the basics, further reads on optimization of virtual economies. Their blog is where leading industry experts and researchers contribute on a regular basis.
More about Roadhouse Interactive:
Roadhouse is an independent game developer and operator based in Vancouver BC. The company started in late 2009, initially focusing on high quality browser-based games. Recently, it has been accelerating its efforts on the mobile and tablet platforms and expects to publish four to five games on the iOS and Android market by early 2014.
Games in their Portfolio include:
Freeride: Ski Cross, Warhammer 40,000: Carnage, Trophy Bingo, Elemental Power, Mechwarrior Tactics, UFC: Undisputed Fight Nation, Family Guy Online