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Discussion Few questions about GMS 2

Mike

nobody important
GMC Elder
Your welcome - and thanks to the community for the feedback :)

I would recommend leaving it ON whenever you can, not only would this help us tune to product and know more about our targets etc, but we might one day be able to let users see these stats for their own games.... not sure about that yet, but it's certainly a goal we'd love to do.
 

csanyk

Member
Your welcome - and thanks to the community for the feedback :)

I would recommend leaving it ON whenever you can, not only would this help us tune to product and know more about our targets etc, but we might one day be able to let users see these stats for their own games.... not sure about that yet, but it's certainly a goal we'd love to do.
It would certainly be a good incentive for games developers if you share the data that we gather for you with us.
 
N

NPT

Guest
Your welcome - and thanks to the community for the feedback :)

I would recommend leaving it ON whenever you can, not only would this help us tune to product and know more about our targets etc, but we might one day be able to let users see these stats for their own games.... not sure about that yet, but it's certainly a goal we'd love to do.
Instead of leaving it solely configurable in preferences, allow it to be programmaticaly turned on and off from the created games.

This way Studio developers can turn it on, and then any of their users can selectively turn it off.

And thanks for this.
 

JeffJ

Member
Your welcome - and thanks to the community for the feedback :)

I would recommend leaving it ON whenever you can, not only would this help us tune to product and know more about our targets etc, but we might one day be able to let users see these stats for their own games.... not sure about that yet, but it's certainly a goal we'd love to do.
First off - thank you for listening to us. I was genuinely concerned about this one. This is a huge relief.

Second, allowing developers to see stats for their own games would be a huge incentive to leave it on. I suggest that YoYoGames figure this out as fast as possible; imagine being able to make an official statement, promising users the ability to see stats for their own games if they leave analytics gathering on. Then you will basically ensure that the vast majority will leave it on, purely out of selfish interests. That right there is the hand you should play to sway all paid users.

Lastly, please consider what NPT said - this way, we can leave it up to our customers:

Instead of leaving it solely configurable in preferences, allow it to be programmaticaly turned on and off from the created games.

This way Studio developers can turn it on, and then any of their users can selectively turn it off.
 

csanyk

Member
Instead of leaving it solely configurable in preferences, allow it to be programmaticaly turned on and off from the created games.

This way Studio developers can turn it on, and then any of their users can selectively turn it off.

And thanks for this.
I agree, this is really the way to do it. Let the player opt in. So, to do that, it must be configurable at runtime.
 

rwkay

YoYo Games Staff
YYG Staff
How would you want to handle it at the GML level - we would not want to add any UI at all, we would leave that to each game so I was thinking about a function that would simple set the local preference for the user... something like analytics_game_enable( true_false ).

So

analytics_game_enable( true ); // would switch it on

and

analytics_game_enable( false ); // would switch it off

The initial setting would come from the project setting....

Something like that, thoughts?

Russell
 

csanyk

Member
How would you want to handle it at the GML level - we would not want to add any UI at all, we would leave that to each game so I was thinking about a function that would simple set the local preference for the user... something like analytics_game_enable( true_false ).

So

analytics_game_enable( true ); // would switch it on

and

analytics_game_enable( false ); // would switch it off

The initial setting would come from the project setting....

Something like that, thoughts?

Russell
Right; the game developer would have to create their own UI to expose the configurable to the player, as we do for everything UI. But at a code level, what you have there would work for me.
 

Juju

Member
Not exposing a setting in GML would mean I'll be releasing games with it turned off. Dealing with the tinfoil crowd isn't my idea of fun... but having an option to turn off telemetry in-game would mean I can ask the user if they want to turn it off, dodging any untoward drama and getting you guys useful data. A simple function, as you suggest, does the job nicely with the default value being set at the project level.
 

Mike

nobody important
GMC Elder
I'd have to argue that all free (mobile) games these days will have stats. This is how they make money, but looking at how games are played and trying to get you to either spend money, or to place ads or something in these places. Even paid content these days will have analytics of some kind in there so they know if users are dropping out after level 6...means level 7 is too hard, so smooth it out, try and keep them in the game longer to help retention and possibly DLC purchases etc.

If a gamer doesn't think this is going on all the time anyway - they're deluded (although...I also accept the tinfoil hat brigade probably are anyway).

I'm personally not a fan of an "off" as it gives us (as a company) incomplete data, and may even mean the devs could enable and disable across different regions etc giving us a totally false picture, and making the data for that game useless. For this to work, it has to be useful to both of us, it's not a free service, its something (I hope) we both get value from.
 

csanyk

Member
I'd have to argue that all free (mobile) games these days will have stats. This is how they make money, but looking at how games are played and trying to get you to either spend money, or to place ads or something in these places. Even paid content these days will have analytics of some kind in there so they know if users are dropping out after level 6...means level 7 is too hard, so smooth it out, try and keep them in the game longer to help retention and possibly DLC purchases etc.

If a gamer doesn't think this is going on all the time anyway - they're deluded (although...I also accept the tinfoil hat brigade probably are anyway).

I'm personally not a fan of an "off" as it gives us (as a company) incomplete data, and may even mean the devs could enable and disable across different regions etc giving us a totally false picture, and making the data for that game useless. For this to work, it has to be useful to both of us, it's not a free service, its something (I hope) we both get value from.
You may have a point, with mobile platforms. If the platform itself has a platform-level policy about data gathering, and the end-user has already agreed to those terms, then doing whatever analytics within those terms ought to be fine.

However, I do think that we've seen a trend of corporations being increasingly snoopish with their users. It's certainly the case that there are a lot of apps that require way more access to user data than they need in order to function. By and large developers been able to get away with it, by doing it on the down-low and relying on consumers to be complacent, not understand or care about their own privacy, and be willing to sacrifice any and all private data in the name of convenience or having something shiny.

There is a counter-movement against this trend, and for the most part people who actually know about what's going on, and care about their privacy, do want to have control over it. The mobile device platform is a sad example of how users' rights and freedoms are not respected, not something to embrace as an example of how it ought to be everywhere. It's aggravating to anyone who knows and cares about Libre software to see technologies like Linux used to create non-Libre software and services that do not respect users or their rights, often because uneducated users don't care about their rights and privacy.

I do believe that it is possible to inform the user and let them make a choice that they are comfortable with. Key to that is being open with them about what data is gathered and how it is used. We developers can only do that if the developers of the tools we use enable us to do so.
 
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Mike

nobody important
GMC Elder
You may have a point, with mobile platforms.

....is a sad example of how users' rights and freedoms are not respected,
I do only mean mobile here... desktop is a different beast altogether.

I also disagree with it the rights part. For the most part they are getting games either free, or incredibly cheaply. This drive towards "free" gaming has been entirely driven by gamers thinking $0.99 was too expensive for a game! This is nuts of course. Consumers happily pay £10 for a movie ticket that gives them 2 hours of entertainment, but ridicule anything that charges them something but that gives them MONTHS of entertainment. I think if they want something like that, they have to accept that something else will have to pay for it.

Games cost a lot to make, and gamers undervaluing the effort and money that goes into making it means it has to be made up somewhere else. So things like analytics and advertising is how their latest favourite game gets paid for. Simple as that.

(sorry...personal rant over...I hate how games/software are so under valued. Anything that gives prolonged use/entertainment is worth the money, especially when compared to the movie industry! Grrr)
 

csanyk

Member
I do only mean mobile here... desktop is a different beast altogether.

I also disagree with it the rights part. For the most part they are getting games either free, or incredibly cheaply. This drive towards "free" gaming has been entirely driven by gamers thinking $0.99 was too expensive for a game! This is nuts of course. Consumers happily pay £10 for a movie ticket that gives them 2 hours of entertainment, but ridicule anything that charges them something but that gives them MONTHS of entertainment. I think if they want something like that, they have to accept that something else will have to pay for it.

Games cost a lot to make, and gamers undervaluing the effort and money that goes into making it means it has to be made up somewhere else. So things like analytics and advertising is how their latest favourite game gets paid for. Simple as that.

(sorry...personal rant over...I hate how games/software are so under valued. Anything that gives prolonged use/entertainment is worth the money, especially when compared to the movie industry! Grrr)
I would agree with you, if the advertised price for gratis software was something like "$0.00 + YOUR ETERNAL SOUL MWAHAHAHAHA." But it's not. I'm kidding about the eternal soul part, but perhaps "Your demographic data will be harvested and sold to advertisers, and we will be monitoring exactly how you use the software in order to see if there might be other ways we can make money from you." would be a proper advertised price for gratis software.

Look, I get that software production has costs, and that many people try to make a business model out of providing software to people. I get that in some cases revenue may be easier to generate by other means than selling a license to use the software, such as selling advertisers, or selling analytics data to advertisers. But the important thing is that this stuff is not disclosed enough. People see "FREE!" and think "ah ha, perfect, let's install that!" and don't consider anything else. Most people don't even know what their rights are, or how giving them up without understanding them puts them at risk. It seems like a pretty hopeless task sometimes to try to educate people and get them to care. That doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

I do agree that the bottom dropped out of the entertainment software market... a long time ago. But part of the reason that no one wants to spend money on entertainment software is because people can offer it "for free" and then pay for it by spying on the unwitting users who don't care. Imagine an alternative reality where spying was opt-in, and users were educated, and you might well have sustainable revenue generated by per-license sales, because for them they understand the value of, say, a dollar vs. allowing Big Brother to sublet their smartphone so you can play video games.

Part of it too is that there are SO MANY people making games, who just want to make a name for themselves, as amateur/hobbyists... the barriers to enter the market are so low now, pretty much everyone who wants to make games is making them now. I wonder who you'd blame for that one o_O:D:p
 

Ubu

Member
Games cost a lot to make, and gamers undervaluing the effort and money that goes into making it means it has to be made up somewhere else. So things like analytics and advertising is how their latest favourite game gets paid for. Simple as that.
Following this argumentation, one could say that analytics should be mandatory if GMS2 was free, but since we're paying for the product (and no small amount) we shouldn't be forced to use analytics.

Which again means that you're still free to include analytics in your own game if you choose to, and you'll get all the data you want.
Only YoYo-Games gain something from analytics being mandatory. We, as developers, will only get analytics from our own product anyway, which means it should be optional.

To summarize, if you participate, you gain. If not, you don't. Simple as that...
 

Mike

nobody important
GMC Elder
Following this argumentation, one could say that analytics should be mandatory if GMS2 was free, but since we're paying for the product (and no small amount) we shouldn't be forced to use analytics..
You could say that.....but a tool like GameMaker is a massive thing (might not seem like it from the outside mind), and - for example, getting "help" to see what users do most helps us target effort into places that it would be most appreciated.

For example, if w suddenly spent all our effort on the audio groups rather than provide any extensions at all, that would be silly. but without these kinds of stats, we'd never know, we'd just be doing what we kind-a wanted to do, not what was best for the majority of our users.

Another example is that in 1.x, the image editor is the number 1 most used feature. This caught us by surprise early on in development, and why we've spent a lot of effort on editor in 2. A few folk have said it was a waste of time, but since we DO actually know how often it's used, it's time well spent.

Stats and analytics aren't just for us, they all feedback into making a better product, and that's good for everyone :)
 
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