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Online Games Are a Gold Mine for Design Ideas

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Game gun screen

Take that, bot.

UbiSoft Entertainment / Games Press

Gone are the days when video gaming was a private pursuit. Gaming services such as Microsoft's Xbox Live not only connect players in living rooms the world over, they can also record every move each gamer makes. Academic researchers are learning to use information mined from this mountain of data to build more stimulating games—and commercial games designers are beginning to take notice.

"All of the big games publishers are getting into data mining," says Julian Togelius of the Center for Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. "They're talking to universities, even hiring researchers to work on some of these huge data sets."

The trend is all the more remarkable because games designers are usually reluctant to collaborate with academics. Togelius says that designers find most aspects of academic games research, such as artificial intelligence, too esoteric to use as part of the development process. Using data mining to study how gamers play existing titles, though, can give developers instant rewards, such as identifying points in a game where players are likely to become frustrated or bored. The insights could help to tailor future releases to make them more satisfying.

There is a problem, however...

From New Scientist
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