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Big Data in Practice by Bernard Marr

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31 ZYNGA Big Data In The Gaming Industry

Background

Big Data is big in gaming. Take Zynga, the company behind FarmVille, Words with Friends and Zynga Poker. Zynga position themselves as makers of “social” games, which are generally played on social media platforms (rather than game consoles like Nintendo, Xbox or PlayStation) and take advantage of the connectivity with other users that those platforms offer. Their games are also built to take advantage of the Big Data those platforms enable them to collect. At their company’s peak, as many as two million players were playing their games at any point during the day and every second their servers processed 650 hands of Zynga Poker.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

Zynga have leveraged data to provide gamers (or bored office workers) with novel, compulsive distractions. And, of course, to make money.

How Is Big Data Used In Practice?

Zynga’s games and the hundreds of others that work on the same principle – for example the hugely popular Candy Crush Saga – use a business model which has become known as “freemium”. Players do not have to hand over cash up front to play them, although they often charge small amounts (micro-transactions) for enhancements that will give them an advantage over other players, or make the game more fun. For example, in FarmVille, which simulates running a farm, you can buy extra livestock for your virtual agricultural enterprise. Arrangements are also in place with a range of “partners” ...

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