Prof Anders Drachen

Professor, Co-Investigator
Department of Computer Science
University of York

Anders is our new Professor of Games. He is a Data Scientist working with various forms of data from computer games in order to improve design and development of Interactive Digital Entertainment – notably computer games – and improve the user experience of these applications.

His research and consulting work centers on the analysis of user behavior in – and around – games. The reason he works with games is simple: They provide unprecedented access to incredibly detailed measures of behavior. Using logging technology, it is possible to capture the second-by-second interaction between user and game. This kind of precision is not possible in the real world, and provides incredible opportunities to study human behavior and how it can be affected – whether for the purposes of improving the user experience, optimizing design, facilitating learning, or monetization.

One of the central challenges in this endeavour is the massive scale these kinds of behavioral data can reach, and the high degree of complexity. Imagine working with data describing thousands of actions across hundreds of variables from millions of players. Now imagine adding contextual data – demographics, video capture, physiological data, personality information, geographic information and much more … deriving actionable insights from such datasets requires not only analytical skills but also a deep understanding of an passion for games.

He forms part of an international community of analysts in the private and academic sectors who try to derive meaning from user behavior in games, in order to inform game development.