Dr. Mathias Lux is Associate Professor at the Institute for Information Technology (ITEC) at Klagenfurt University. He is working on user intentions in multimedia retrieval and production, semantics in social multimedia systems, and interactive multimedia in the domain of video games. In his scientific career he has (co-) authored more than 100 scientific publications, serves in multiple program committees and as reviewer of international conferences, journals and magazines on a regular basis, and has (co-)organized multiple scientific events. Mathias Lux is also well known for the development of the award winning and popular open source tools Caliph & Emir and LIRE for multimedia information retrieval. He has integrated image indexing and retrieval features in the popular Apache Solr search server and his system is for instance powering the WIPO Global Brand Database. At Klagenfurt University he has established a lively community of game developers and enthusiasts who meet at regular events and game jams.
Analyzing Usage Patterns in Online Games
FROG 2020 – Short Talk
A typical life cycle of a game is reflected in its usage patterns. A game first builds a user base, then reaches an absolute peak to then online is played by a minimum number of dedicated fans at the end of its life. However, in games, especially multiplayer and massive multiplayer ones, extraordinary events can be observed as peaks in usage. For the usage of video games, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted usage as it had on the game business itself. However, research lacks data to investigate these relations further. Usage statistics of games are rarely accessible for researchers. In this paper, we relate usage statistics to viewership and popularity of a game on Twitch.tv. In a first study, data from the online role-playing game (MMORPG) Eternal Lands is analyzed. Eternal Lands is a free, multiplayer, online game that was created already in 2002. The usage patterns show day/night cycles of players in the prime time of the time zones where most players are located and increased playing activity on weekends. A general trend over time shows a slowly diminishing userbase over the years since its introduction. In April 2020, a significant rise of user activities can be observed, attributed to lockdowns in many countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since user statistics from Eternal Lands are shown on a per-user basis, it is possible to distinguish two patterns for this time. Regular players invest more time playing the game during the lockdown. In contrast, new or recurring players, who have not played the game intensively before, were looking for a distraction during the lockdown. In a second study, we focus on complementary viewer statistics on the popular game streaming platform Twitch.tv. We can easily observe that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the playing time, as mentioned earlier. We relate usage data to viewership and streaming statistics of popular games. With the example of Eternal Lands, being a game that never went viral, we discuss the possibility of app roximating a game’s popularity through game streaming and viewership thereof.