Are Today's Game Developers Future Analytics Experts?

The video game industry is going through a stupendous boom. Thanks to the parallel development of new and powerful smartphone hardware and the growth of crowd funding platforms, more people are playing games than ever before, and more people are making them than was ever thought possible too.

Unfortunately, as history has shown us that as big as the video game industry can get, it does go through periodic crashes, and they're rather monumental. One quick glance at the problems prior to the famous 1983 crash shows a similar parallel to today's gaming market, where huge swathes or lower quality games glutted a scene that was already over saturated. Combine that with a lack of originality and some high profile failures casting doubt on the industry and you had a recipe for failure.

While we're not in dire straits just yet, there are certainly a few of those same problems rearing their ugly heads today, so we may be on the cusp of a video games crash.

If that is indeed the case, that will mean a lot of developers, programmers, and artists are going to be out of work and looking for jobs where their skills will be appreciated. Funnily enough, analytics may be one of the best to try out for. Although it's unlikely that concept artists or story tellers will be needed in the future analytics industry, the programmers certainly could be.

At least that's what Bill Franks, chief analytics officer at Teradata thinks. In a piece he penned for Forbes, he talked about how the use of various languages in games programming and the core logic of creating such mammoth projects, has a lot of cross over with analytics.

As the analyzing of data takes hold in big business, more companies with different data storage types and platforms are looking to utilize all of their stored information. But doing so with existing tools can often be a minefield, the kind of landscape that a game programmer is used to finding a safe path through.

It could well be that the near-future of analytics is ruled by the creation of simplifying tools, too. With multiple systems to factor in, different data standards and storage types, we may need new ways of bringing all of these together so that the data miners can focus on the task at hand, rather than remembering the different syntax required to access each silo.

Game developers have been making their lives easier for decades, creating game engines, physics systems and animation rigs, which can be reused on future projects, sold to other companies, or at the very least used to make their lives easier on a day to day basis.

That sort of thinking would be right at home in a contemporary analytics company.

Combine this with the fact that game developers have been using their own analytics to create better games for the best part of a decade, and the learning curve may not even be that steep for them during the industrial transition.

The question is, would your organization hire someone with a background in game programming for an important analytics based position? It probably should.

Jon Martindale, Technology Journalist

Jon Martindale is a technology journalist and hardware reviewer, having been covering new developments in the field for most of his professional career. In that time he's tested the latest and greatest releases from the big hardware companies of the world, as well as writing about new software releases, industry movements,and Internet activism.

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Re: different skills
  • 8/4/2015 7:18:17 PM

It would depend on the coding languages the game developers were familiar with, as some languages lend themselves to development over analytics, and viceversa. There would be a noticible void in the field of entertainment in the wake of the gaming industry's downfall, but I feel that the artists behind gaming would find their place elsewhere.

Re: different skills
  • 8/4/2015 2:02:14 PM

Not having played digital games in recent years, it makes me wonder if I'm missing something or is this really a "young" person's game. But, I would guess if the market does go bust, those programmers with just a bit of training could easily slip into the analytics industry, even though the gaming industry seems light years away from the those experts analytics folks. Biut what the folks who write the stories and make the art and music will do is another question.

Re: Engineering, Statistics or Digital Media Background
  • 7/30/2015 7:25:14 AM

Thank you, Terry.

-Judith, blogger

Re: Engineering, Statistics or Digital Media Background
  • 7/29/2015 5:57:29 PM

In complete agreement, jmyerson... I think it's stretching quite a bit to say that gaming programmers are an automatic fit or good complement to an enterprise's analytics staff. The variables are too numerous to list.

Re: different skills
  • 7/29/2015 12:52:44 AM

The industry is steadfast, having endured rough times, it has now established itself as a regular member of our daily society. Step onto the subway at any given hour, and point out a car that doesn't have at least 3 people matching colored blocks, or slicing down a dragon.

Re: Game Market
  • 7/29/2015 12:50:29 AM

From mobile gaming to Playstation, the indsutry has successfully integrated itself into people's daily lives, to the point where folks are pouring thousands into free-to-play games like Hearthstone or Candy Crush with models designed with endless returns in mind. Games are here to stay, and they're only getting more lucrative.

Engineering, Statistics or Digital Media Background
  • 7/27/2015 3:29:30 AM

The school of engieering  was impressive with my background in math. I was initiated into the Honorary Math Society at another university.  Unlike my achievement of getting A's for 95% of the coursews, my normal hearing father achieved B's for similar courses.  My high achievement in math  compensates in part for my hearing loss and got me into the Master of Science in Engineering degree program in live classes. I was asked to consider a master in computer graphics and game design (engineering). So I have my own thoughts about the issue of hiring game developers for data analytics positions. It all depends on several variables including rhe hiring manager's background -- MS in Statistics, MS in Enigineering, MS in Math, or MS in Digital Media.

  • 7/25/2015 6:21:54 PM

At least that's what Bill Franks, chief analytics officer at Teradata thinks. In a piece he penned for Forbes. 

Actually, this article was republished by the InIernational Institute for Analytics.

Game Market
  • 7/24/2015 10:18:18 PM

I don't expect gaming industry to slow down in the near future. Gartner has predicted video game market will top $127 B in 2017.

Re: different skills
  • 7/24/2015 8:55:20 PM

I do also agree that crossover skills exist and value will quickly be evident to an organization that takes advantage of the availability should a gaming industry crash or slow down occur.

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