A Comparison of Methods for Player Clustering via Behavioral Telemetry

Anders Drachen, Christian Thurau, Rafet Sifa, Christian Bauckhage

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


The analysis of user behavior in digital games has been aided by the
introduction of user telemetry in game development, which provides
unprecedented access to quantitative data on user behavior from the
installed game clients of the entire population of players. Player
behavior telemetry datasets can be exceptionally complex, with
features recorded for a varying population of users over a temporal
segment that can reach years in duration. Categorization of behaviors,
whether through descriptive methods (e.g. segmentation) or
unsupervised/supervised learning techniques, is valuable for finding
patterns in the behavioral data, and developing profiles that are
actionable to game developers. There are numerous methods for
unsupervised clustering of user behavior, e.g. k-means/c-means, Nonnegative
Matrix Factorization, or Principal Component Analysis.
Although all yield behavior categorizations, interpretation of the
resulting categories in terms of actual play behavior can be difficult if
not impossible. In this paper, a range of unsupervised techniques are
applied together with Archetypal Analysis to develop behavioral
clusters from playtime data of 70,014 World of Warcraft players,
covering a five year interval. The techniques are evaluated with
respect to their ability to develop actionable behavioral profiles from
the dataset.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Foundations of Digital Games 2013
Number of pages8
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2013
ISBN (Print)978-0-9913982-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventFoundations of Digital Games: The 8th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games - Crete, Chania, Greece
Duration: 14 May 201317 May 2013


ConferenceFoundations of Digital Games

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