Measuring Player Retention and Monetization using the Mean Cumulative Function [article]

Markus Viljanen, Antti Airola, Anne-Maarit Majanoja, Jukka Heikkonen, Tapio Pahikkala
2017 arXiv   pre-print
Game analytics supports game development by providing direct quantitative feedback about player experience. Player retention and monetization in particular have become central business statistics in free-to-play game development. Many metrics have been used for this purpose. However, game developers often want to perform analytics in a timely manner before all users have churned from the game. This causes data censoring which makes many metrics biased. In this work, we introduce how the Mean
more » ... ulative Function (MCF) can be used to generalize many academic metrics to censored data. The MCF allows us to estimate the expected value of a metric over time, which for example may be the number of game sessions, number of purchases, total playtime and lifetime value. Furthermore, the popular retention rate metric is the derivative of this estimate applied to the expected number of distinct days played. Statistical tools based on the MCF allow game developers to determine whether a given change improves a game, or whether a game is yet good enough for public release. The advantages of this approach are demonstrated on a real in-development free-to-play mobile game, the Hipster Sheep.
arXiv:1709.06737v1 fatcat:22gtg3cembgopffmwisghbxw44