I am a Professor at the DC Labs, University of York, working with various forms of data from computer games in order to improve design and development of Interactive Digital Entertainment – notably computer games – and improve the user experience of these applications. On this website you will find examples of my research 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 centers on the analysis of user behavior in – and around – games. The reason I work with games is simple: They provide unprecedented access to incredibly detailed measures of behavior. Using logging technology, it is possible to capture the second-by-second interaction between user and game. This kind of precision is not possible in the real world, and provides incredible opportunities to study human behavior and how it can be affected – whether for the purposes of improving the user experience, optimizing design, facilitating learning, or monetization. One of the central challenges in this endeavour is the massive scale these kinds of behavioral data can reach, and the high degree of complexity. Imagine working with data describing thousands of actions across hundreds of variables from millions of players. Now imagine adding contextual data – demographics, 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 an passion for games. I fundamentally form part of an inernational community of analysts in the private and academic sectors who try to derive meaning from user behavior in games, in order to inform game development.
URL´S TO PUBLIC PROFILES
Intro to User Analytics (Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra)
Beyond the Heatmap: Spatial Game Analytics (Game Developer Magazine)
Innovations In Character: Personalizing RPGs, Retaining Players (Gamasutra, 2013)
Anders Drachen, Ph.D. is a veteran Data Scientist, Professor at the DC Labs, University of York (United Kingdom). He also works as a consultant. His work in the game industry as well as in data and game science is focused on game analytics, business intelligence for games, game data mining, game user experience, industry economics, business development and game user research. His research and professional work is carried out in collaboration with companies spanning the industry, from big publishers to indies (e.g. Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, IO Interactive). He writes about analytics for game development on andersdrachen.com. His writings can also be found on the pages of trade publications such as Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra.com. His research has been covered by international media, including Wired and Forbes.
He is one of the most published experts worldwide on the topic of game analytics, user research, game data mining, and user profiling, having authored more than 100 research publications on game analytics, user testing, and business intelligence in game development. He is also one of the editors of the book “Game Analytics – Maximizing the Value of Player Data” http://www.springer.com/computer/hci/book/978-1-4471-4768-8), a compendium of insights from more than 50 top experts in industry and research. He is a former member of the board of the International Game Developers Association Special Interest Group on Game User Research. His research work was recognized with a best paper award at the largest media conference in Northern Europe, MindTrek, in 2009 and at AAAI Artificial Intelligence in Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference in 2015 as well as the Internatonal Conference on Entertainment Computing in 2016. He has organized several international conferences and workshops and served on dozens of conference committees. He is a former Lead Analyst for SaaS provider Game Analytics.
Dr. Drachen has a colourful background. He has lived on five different continents, including Africa, South America and Australia. He has worked in fields as diverse as Geology, Biology and Computer Science, along the way hunted for fossils in the Andes, suffered hypothermia on the Scandinavian seas, fended of shark attacks in Africa and roamed the Great Barrier Reef supporting research trying to save this vital ecosystem. He was also the youngest Dane in history to publish a cooking book, springing from a lifelong obsession with icecream.
All views expressed in this blog are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.