How Player XP's artificial intelligence is helping devs find the reviews that matter

How Player XP's artificial intelligence is helping devs find the reviews that matter
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

June 15th 2016 at 12:54PM

Hertzian talks us through its new review aggregation and analysis tool

Reviews, particularly online, can sometimes be disheartening – potentially toxic – but trawling through them is one of the only ways to gather feedback on how well your game is resonating with gamers and establish how to keep your community happy.

However, doing so can be an arduous task – which is why new studio Hertzian has created Player XP, a new tool designed to help devs aggregate reviews and find the most constructive criticism.

The tool compiles over 40m reviews for more than 250,000 iOS games, and uses articifical intelligence to identify patterns in the data. We speak to CEO Garry Barter about how this is helping developers improve their games.

What is the purpose of Player XP? How will it benefit developers?
PlayerXP is a review aggregation and analysis platform built specifically for mobile games, and it does two things.

Firstly, it provides a place for you to connect with your entire community, tracking live updates on what users are saying about your game. Secondly, it provides actionable intelligence through our analytics, ensuring that you are always the first to know what your users need from around the world.

We aim to bring all of this constructive information together to help you make the critical decisions you need to improve your game.

Why is it important for mobile devs to understand players and their reviews?
In any industry, it’s extremely important to listen to your customers and the games industry is no different. In fact, we’re extremely lucky to have such a willing audience when it comes to engagement.

Leaving a review is often the first feedback point you can capture from your players and getting that initial feedback should be essential for any developer. Whether it’s a new game or just after a new update has launched, being able to quickly identify key feedback is essential.

As we all know, players are more than willing to share their thoughts on a game and that feedback can be the difference between success and failure.

How do the analytics and aggregation work? How do you ensure that they only take constructive reviews into question?
Player XP has been built from the ground-up to take advantage of the latest advancements in the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning [a computer science where computers are able to learn without being explicitly programmed].

Through the use of machine learning, we’ve been able to train our systems to recognise specific types of sentences within the reviews. This means that our system can automatically identify reviews containing constructive feedback, highlight in-game bugs and so much more. Every day our team pushes to enhance the underlying technology and we’re very excited to see what more this data can uncover.

Players are more than willing to share their thoughts on a game and that feedback can be the difference between success and failure.

What are the advantages of your category filters and the ability to only see reviews since the latest update?
Being able to track either the latest version of a game or a subset of versions is one of our most powerful features. It allows you the ability to see trends and patterns emerging whilst also allowing you the ability to quickly identify any ‘fires’ that may be occurring. 

Through conversations with mobile developers, we saw that it’s a very difficult task to be able to comprehensively understand how a new version changes the game balance and we believe through our tool we make that job a lot easier.

Which developers are already using this tool? How has it helped them?
We’ve had a great response to the tool already and it’s being used by a wide range of developers across the whole scale of the industry. We’ve got small indie developers using it for competitor analysis ahead of their own launch all the way through to major developers using the tool to monitor how their latest update is being perceived and tracking consistent trends appearing amongst their reviews.

We knew that when we built Player XP that it very much stood on it’s own in terms of game analytics tools and that it was a risk to try to do something different but the reaction so far has been so positive that we’re glad we took the risk.

How do you plan to build on this tool going forward? Any features you plan to add in future?
As I’ve already said, everyday we’re making great strides with the underlying technology and very soon we’ll be introducing a whole suite of new features ranging from sentiment analysis through to automatic bug-tracking tools. We’ve also recently introduced more translation as well which now means we’re able to target more than just the English speaking app stores which is potentially huge for the tool.

We’re very happy to have finally been able to show Player XP off and believe that if you would like to gain a new insight into your players then head on over to PlayerXP.io.