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byLori Smith 2015-09-23

The Game Operator's Toolkit: Get the White Paper

A tale of two game operators: Meet Grace and Gary. Gary runs game operations for The Cheerful Unicorn, while Grace works on The Very Sad Penguin. A month after launch, they each get the same request from their managers: “Our business guys say we’re below our targets. Can you get our whales to spend 30% more?”

Grace spends several days running SQL queries and goes back to her manager with a plan to raise revenue. It will take 20 hours of dev time and go out in the next game update, 6 weeks later. Gary spends two hours looking at data on his game operations dashboard, then starts implementing his plan immediately. He tells his manager he should have results within a day or two.

The difference here is not that Grace is bad at her job and Gary is good at his; it’s that Gary has the better toolset. All the data he needs to run his game is at his fingertips, and he can make changes to the game without needing engineering resources.

Our newest white paper explains that live games don’t just need great game operations strategies, they need great tools:

The four essentials are metrics, messaging, awards, and adjustment mechanisms. In other words, game operators need to know what’s going on in their games, they need a way to communicate with and award items to their players, and they need a way to modify their games after they go live.

Game operators usually find a way to hack a solution together even if their tools are terrible (or nonexistent), but having good tools can make a world of difference. This white paper walks through the impact in each essential area between having no dedicated tools, basic ones, and great ones. 

Beyond the essentials, game operators can now take advantage of add-on services such as those for attribution, a/b testing, analytics, and ad optimization. Having a backend makes implementing all of these services easier.

Finally, this white paper compares the pros and cons of "build vs. buy" when it comes to improving game operations and offers a checklist to consider when evaluating these tools.

Download the white paper here.