Customer loyalty and satisfaction is crucial in community-based gaming, where every single player matters, and devoted, experienced gamers are especially valuable for the game. Our big data unit, Yandex Data Factory, took game churn prediction – knowing how many gamers are likely to leave the game – to another level. Wargaming, an international MMOG developer, whose game World of Tanks, one of the world’s most financially successful games, with over 100 million registered players, can now determine more accurate which players are likely to stop playing soon and take measures to prevent that.
The challenge presented to the YDF team was to help increase WoT players’ loyalty and satisfaction with a minimal effort and at a minimal cost. To approach this challenge, a sample dataset of 100,000 random players who had 20 games or more in the past year was selected – this was done to exclude those who joined the game by accident or just to have a try. Based on a similar concept used in telecom and Wargaming’s own understanding, YDF analysts defined a ‘churner’ as a player who had zero games in the month following a gaming session. Next, the raw data for the ‘churners’, which included over 100 parameters – personal (obfuscated payment balances, purchase logs, etc.), as well as gaming (game logs, number of battles, battle types, number of destroyed tanks, clan battles data, free experience etc.) – was fed to our proprietary machine-learning algorithm, MatrixNet, to find similarities in gamers’ behaviour and personal profiles. In result, a probability of churn was assigned to every gamer in the dataset.
WoT could then apply this churn prediction formula to the whole gaming community to spot top potential churners and target customer retention measures, such as special offers, new frictions, bonuses or community activities, specifically to them. The accuracy of YDF formula’s churn prediction measured at least 20-30% better than the current standard used in the gaming industry. Churn prevention – developing a formula for personalised retention measures – is the next challenge that YDF is ready to take on. Read more about YDF’s churn prediction project for Wargaming.
This article originally appeared on the Yandex company blog on March 2, 2014