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Student Research Highlight: Predicting Video Game Success

Natasha Lancaster | Wed May 18, 2022

This is part of a short series highlighting student research that was presented at the University of Findlay’s 2022 Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity (SSC).

When you think of video games, math and statistics are probably not what comes to mind. Javian Martin, a 2022 graduate of the University of Findlay’s ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Master of Science in Applied ​​Security and Analytics Program, presented his capstone project at the Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity. The project, completed under  the direction of his faculty sponsor, Aaron Blodgett, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, revolved around the ability to predict the success of video games in relation to their sales. Javian was able to combine his love of video games with his prospective career in software development and data analytics, giving an exciting twist to a rather complex topic.

“I’ve always loved playing video games ever since I was a child, and they have impacted my life in a multitude of ways,” Javian said. “My interests, friends, hobbies, and career were all influenced by different aspects of the gaming industry.” As part of the Applied ​​Security and Analytics Program, students must complete a capstone project. It only seemed fitting that Javian make video games the topic of his research. “The overall goal of my research was to help game developers of any size understand what to focus on when developing their next big title.”

When you think of video games, math and statistics are probably not what comes to mind. Javian Martin presented his project on video games at the 2022 SSC.In determining if video game success could be forecasted, Javian looked at regional and global sales of approximately 2,000 games, released between 2000 and 2014, from which he could pull data from. He then identified several factors to characterize the games including the platform or machine used, year the game was released, genre, publisher, developer, and ESRB rating. After the data points were identified, Javian compared them to their total sales to determine which factors had the greatest impact on the overall sales of the games.

“My findings showed that the platform the game was available on along with the combination of genre and rating had the most significant impact on the sales of a video game,” Javian explained. “The results showed me which trends were most prominent in the gaming industry and what combinations of these factors will give you the most success when creating a video game.”

Aside from learning which specific characteristics will lead to greater video game sales, Javian noted that this project showed him that there is so much more to video games than just being a recreational activity. “With the rise of Esports competitions and gaming as a profession, this medium is starting to be taken more seriously. I want this topic to spark an interest in future students to consider video games for projects,” he said. “This process has sparked a huge interest in answering questions about my interests with supporting data. Being able to take a raw dataset, clean it, format it, and analyze it is an amazing skill to have.”

Looking forward to his future career, Javian said what he learned in class coupled with his experience with his SSC research project will “open so many doors for not only me personally, but for any organization I want to be a part of. If I ever want to answer any burning questions about the gaming industry, or any other industry I’m interested in, I know have the skills to accomplish that goal with the right dataset.”

Learn more about the University of Findlay’s ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Master of Science in Applied ​​Security and Analytics Program online or contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@findlay.edu or 419-434-4732.

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