Discovering Playing Patterns: Time Series Clustering of Free-To-Play Game Data

by   Alain Saas, et al.

The classification of time series data is a challenge common to all data-driven fields. However, there is no agreement about which are the most efficient techniques to group unlabeled time-ordered data. This is because a successful classification of time series patterns depends on the goal and the domain of interest, i.e. it is application-dependent. In this article, we study free-to-play game data. In this domain, clustering similar time series information is increasingly important due to the large amount of data collected by current mobile and web applications. We evaluate which methods cluster accurately time series of mobile games, focusing on player behavior data. We identify and validate several aspects of the clustering: the similarity measures and the representation techniques to reduce the high dimensionality of time series. As a robustness test, we compare various temporal datasets of player activity from two free-to-play video-games. With these techniques we extract temporal patterns of player behavior relevant for the evaluation of game events and game-business diagnosis. Our experiments provide intuitive visualizations to validate the results of the clustering and to determine the optimal number of clusters. Additionally, we assess the common characteristics of the players belonging to the same group. This study allows us to improve the understanding of player dynamics and churn behavior.


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