Game Development Reference
In the following sections, Michael Oiknine, CEO of leading iOS analytics service Apsalar
( www.apsalar.com ) , which tracks the app-related activity of 150 million iOS gamers, shares some general ad-
vice on leveraging analytics services like his.
Start Small and Learn As Much As Possible from Customers
According to Oiknine, it's important to release an early build of your game to a few hundred or a few thousand
users, capture their gameplay information, iterate, and then release to a few hundred/thousand more. Then make
your game available in the App Store of a smaller country; for instance, many developers first launch only in
Canada, which allows them to further iterate and improve the game at a larger scale than they did in beta.
Michael Oiknine calls this “organic juice,” since it's based on players' natural enthusiasm for your game.
Also, you should encourage your early users to give you good user ratings and concentrate on the product's
basics—minimizing crashes, while making sure users are flowing naturally through the game, and staying en-
gaged with it. This is an important process, because once you're ready to launch the game in the U.S. App Store,
you'll have a very short time cycle to identify issues and address them.
Track Beta Users by Cohorts
It's a good idea to have beta players playing slightly different versions of your game (some with one particular
gameplay feature, such as a new level or gameplay mode, others without it) in order to test how these differences
impact retention and engagement. Often called A/B testing , the basic strategy is a more-or-less scientific way of
measuring whether a new feature or feature improvement makes an overall difference to player behavior (good
Treat Analytics as Part of the Game Design Process
Successful developers carefully plan the aspects of the game they want to test with analytics and then incorpor-
ate the feedback into the design. What analytics questions do you want to address? What events and user actions
do you want to tag? Which actions allow you to answer these questions? (See Figure 12-6 , for an example of
how this game behavior is tracked by Apsalar.)