When it comes to game development, anything that is worth doing is also worth measuring.
Trusting your intuition may work but, according to the industry’s experience, it often results in missing the deliverables or multiplying the budgets the way you never planned. Defining and tracking metrics helps to understand exactly when your development team does their best work and what factors contribute to that.
Using Software Development Metrics is a great way to:
- Quantify outsourcing performance for better visibility and transparency for both clients and service providers;
- Stimulate outsourcing productivity and increase savings by applying smarter data-driven approaches;.
- Make individual and team performance visible;
- Provide better development estimates.
No matter if you’re working with an internal or external game development team, you should define and share the set of metrics that are essential for the development process. Note that neither of them defines true productivity, but tracking and analyzing those metrics may help to understand the current development stage better and plan future iterations.
Generally, these are the ones that help to reflect on what was done in a set of time from the management perspective. The most common productivity metrics are:
- Milestone hitting — obviously, a metric that reflects the fact of achieving the planned project stages;
- Active hours — a number of hours spent by the team while working on the project;
- Assignment scope maintenance — a metric to track the development performance in smaller scales than Milestone hitting because it tracks tasks, not the milestones;
- Cycle time — a metric that reflects how long does it take to change something in a project’s system and deliver its updated working version into production;
- Team velocity — a metric that counts the number of working units required to complete s sprint;
- Lead time — is the time metric that shows how much time does it take for the team to turn an idea into working software.
Game quality metrics
A lot of great game ideas get destroyed via poor realization and lack of quality. Here are some metrics that may help to keep the game quality at a playable level:
- Code coverage — a metric that shows how much of your code is tested;
- Percentage of automated tests — the metric that shows how much of your testing efforts is done automatically, without a manual interaction by your team;
- Application crash rate — the amount of application fails divided by the number of times it was used. It provides a good image of the business value delivered and the cost of remediating failures;
- Instruction Path Length — is a very basic software development metric that reflects s the number of code instructions required to execute a section of a game or any other piece of software.
Operational and Management metrics
These are the set of metrics that value the management of the project in development. They vary a lot depending on the project, especially in game development. Let’s bring up two of the biggest operational metrics that matter while you’re making your game:
- Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) — is the average time between repairable failures of a game. This one tracks the availability and reliability of a product: more time between failures means the more reliable game;
- Mean Time to Recover (MTTR) — is the average time it takes to restore an occurred game code failure. Shorter means better.
You should NEVER stop analyzing your game after the release. At least, good analytics on a launched game shows you the places to grow and at worst, it shows what parts of your game should you fix IMMEDIATELY and gives your game a chance to recover, even if the start is not that good.
- DAU/MAU or daily/monthly active users — is a metric that shows how many people play your launched game per some period (day, month, or whatever fits your game);
- Sessions — every time someone launches your game counts as a session. This metric is not that useful on its own, but may serve well for other analytics metrics;
- Retention rate is a metric that shows how many users play your game stable and repeatedly. Many believe this one is the most important in the modern game development industry;
- Churn — is a number of people who downloaded your game but never played at all or just did it once;
- Total Daily Play Time —- it’s simply the total number of time players spend in your game.
Game development is still a business and you should know your monetization strategy and its details. Here are some metrics you may find useful in terms of making money:
- Conversion rate — is a percentage of users that bought something inside your game in relation to the overall players’ number. It may be applied to a specific period, like launching a new DLC or battle pass-like mechanic to your game;
- ARPDAU or Average Revenue Per Daily Active User is the average amount of money you get from an active player per day. It may also be an ARPPU or Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) in case you only count users who make purchases;
- LTV or Lifetime value — is a metric that shows the general amount of money user spent all his time playing your game.
Metrics don’t define the success of your game, but they help to build a good image and serve well as a basis for analytics. Here are 3 of our top recommendations about using metrics in game development:
- Don’t keep your metrics in secret.
Metrics should serve both management and development teams. Teams should know what metrics are considered important and use them for improving the quality of their contribution;
- Get the numbers in the conversation.
Use metrics to make data-driven decisions and develop your business based on facts;
- Measure with a purpose.
The worst you can do to a perfectly measured set of metrics is to leave it unused. Make hypotheses based on metrics and use them in your business.
In case you’re looking for a game development partner to increase your development or operational metrics, Contact an Expert and let’s bring your game to life in a smart way!