‘No single innovation has an impact on its own, rather it is the emergence of an ecosystem of technological breakthroughs combined with business models’

”Just during the past two decades, games have changed dramatically. From a niche industry, games have grown to touch the lives of billions daily, and the playing of video games has become an integral part of our life and society, for everyone irrespective of age or culture.”

I am a Professor at the Maersk McKinney-Moeller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, as well as Lead Analyst for Weavr, and Co-Director for ARC, and affiliated with various universities, committees and networks, e.g. I am an Honorary Professor with the Department of Computer Science, University of York (UK) and affiliated with the DC Labs there, as well as the Turing Institute data visualisation SIG, and the IGGI Centre for Doctoral Training. I work with various forms of data from digital applications in order to improve decision-making across all stakeholders, including design, development, user experience and business processes in the Creative Industries and beyond. On this website, you will find examples of my research, design- and development work, a personal blog, links to a great number of projects and information for companies seeking consulting or scientific partners as well information for students and academic colleagues.

In brief, my research and consulting work centres on the analysis of user behaviour in and around interactive digital products, mainly within the domain of the Creative Industries and how data can be used to inform design and business. The reason I work with digital experiences is simple: They provide unprecedented access to incredibly detailed measures of behaviour. Using logging technology, it is possible to capture the second-by-second interaction between user and digital product. This kind of precision is not possible in the real world and provides incredible opportunities to study human behaviour and how it can be affected – whether for the purposes of improving the user experience, optimizing design, social benefits, facilitating learning, or monetization. One of the central challenges in this endeavour is the massive scale these kinds of behavioural data can reach and the high degree of complexity. Imagine working with data describing thousands of actions across hundreds of variables from millions of people. Now imagine adding contextual data – demographics, UI, UX, video capture, physiological data, personality information, geographic information and much more … deriving actionable insights from such datasets requires not only analytical skills but also a deep understanding of a passion for the products in question. I fundamentally form part of an international community of data scientists and HCI experts in the private and academic sectors who try to derive meaning from user behaviour in digital applications and -environments, as well as their context, in order to inform design, development, business and the fundamental understanding of human behavior.

For a feature article going into more depth about my background and research, click here.


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Biographical information

Anders Drachen, PhD, (born 1976) is Professor and Head of the Game Development and Learning Technologies Unit at the Maersk McKinney-Moeller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, as well as Lead Analyst for Weavr, which is building new data-driven audience experiences across esports and sports and Co-Director for the Arena Research Cluster, an international research network focused on innovation in esports and sports. He is also affiliated with various universities, committees and networks, e.g. the Digital Creativity Labs (former co-director), a UK Digital Economy Hub and World Centre for Excellence, which connects 100+ partners in delivering impact-driven research in games, interactive media and the rich space in which they converge at the University of York (UK), the Turing Institute data visualisation SIG, the IGGI Centre for Doctoral Training, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

He is recognized as one of the world’s most influential people in business intelligence in the Creative Industries, and a core innovator in the domain with 170+ publications across game analytics and games user research. His work has assisted major international game publishers, as well as SMEs, make better decisions based on their data. As an interdisciplinary, veteran data scientist, his work has reached across user behaviour, user experience, business intelligence, big data, machine learning, information systems, human-computer interaction, digital business transformation, data visualisation, audience interaction, design, psychology and health.

He is editor/author of three field-defining books in the Creative Industries domain: Game Analytics – Maximizing the Value of Player Data, which has seen about 200,000 downloads, Games User Research, a standard work of reference in the games industry, and Game Data Science.

His research has been covered by international print and online media worldwide. Major national print and online news outlets such as Wired, New York Post and Forbes have covered his research which has attained global attention on multiple occasions. His research work has received five best paper awards and two honourable mentions at major conferences including the Eleventh Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) in 2015 and the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in 2019.

He was part of the team behind the International Game Development Association’s Special Interest Group on Games Research and User Experience, which today counts over 2900 members worldwide. He is a member of the International Game Development Association’s Special Interest Group on Game Analytics. He is a member of Turing Institute Special Interest Group on Data Visualisation and the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing in the United Kingdom. He is a member of multiple other international special interest groups and committees.

He has organized several international conferences and workshops and served on dozens of conference committees. He collaborates with international networks of colleagues in academia and industry and works with students worldwide on research projects. He is a strong proponent for work-integrated learning and an active partner for the Creative Industries in matchmaking students for internships and careers.

Having lived and worked on four different continents, Anders Drachen has had the mixed pleasure of fending off three shark attacks in Africa and Australia. He is also the youngest Dane in history to publish a cooking book – dedicated to ice cream. In his spare time, he writes books for children about technology and economics.

For examples of publications, see the “Publications” section of this website.


All views expressed in this blog are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer or companies I advise or are affiliated with.

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