Call of Duty Gamifies Data Analytics for Digital Natives


There’s plenty of talk on how the newer generations are “digital natives” and uniquely suited to transform business, and more specifically IT, through total adoption of mobile, social, local, and always-on connectivity. However, it can be difficult to conceptualize this predicted transformation when all you see is a bunch of teenagers who use Facebook too much. Sure, digital natives demonstrate knowledge on liking a status and using emoticons, but how will that translate to skills integral to the future of technology and business?

Analytics Will Drive 21st-Century Innovation

One answer is analytics. With Big Data and the push for better analytics exploding, companies are scrambling to hire employees who can makes sense and drive value from analytics tools. Analytics skills aren’t taught in school besides the highest levels of business education; digital natives get their in-depth analytic education from consumer software, specifically Xbox Live.

Video Game Surpasses Box Office, Book, and All Entertainment Releases

In 16 days, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 grossed over $1 billion, surpassing Avatar’s record of 19 days to become the biggest entertainment launch ever. For the uninitiated, Call of Duty is a first person shooter where players form teams and engage in a game of shoot ‘em up against players from all over the world. At the end of each round, players can see how many players they “killed” and how many times they died. More kills than deaths mean you did pretty well. Gamers use their “KDR” or Kill-Death-Ratio as the go-to metric for measuring one’s skill in the game. This basic metric has been in video games for years, and for many gamers, it doesn’t go deep enough.

Metrics Create Fun by Providing Social Content

As the 8th installation in the Call of Duty franchise, the developers have significantly increased analytics reporting to meet consumer demand. Competition drives the game and players want to compete in any given match, but also over time in any number of varied highly detailed metrics, with friends and foes alike.

Their social, analytics service, “Call of Duty Elite,” started in 2011 and debuted to overwhelming demand. No longer are one’s metrics limited to “kills” and “deaths.” Instead, players can now see how they’ve performed on specific maps, with specific weapons, and with specific teammates. If they want to know spots on the map to avoid being killed, they have access to heat maps that overlay information about where the most number of players have died. Data visibility doesn’t stop there.

Analytics Impact Consumer Behavior and Continuous Improvement

With this wealth of information, players can form better strategies and determine the best configurations for their play style. The results can be immediate. For a bunch of high schoolers who can’t wait to get out of math class, they’re awfully interested in statistics, as long as those statistics are tied to video games.

So while business users take training courses on using analytics tools effectively, they could just as well ask their teenagers explain it to them. By the time those 13-year-olds hit the job market, the use of analytics software will seem like a game.

For an in-depth look, watch this webinar titled “Data Science 2.0: Guided and In-line Analytics with Spotfire.”


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