Evolution able to use analytics to alter priority game elements on the fly

Developers can control how PS4 games download

PS4 developers will be able to control how their games are downloaded and prioritise the most popular parts, says Evolution Studios group technical director Scott Kirkland.

Speaking to The Guardian, Kirkland said developers are able to modify how the digital version of the title is downloaded, based on analytics. This can help ensure the most-played features are readily playable while the rest of the game downloads in the background.

He explained this was useful for its upcoming social racing title DriveClub, as it could see if a large number of users were playing a game in an unexpected way, or if a particular track had proved particularly popular amongst players.

"If we recognise that a majority of people take a particular path through the game that we didn’t anticipate, we could dynamically modify the default order that the digital version of the game gets pulled down in – and actually, that same technique could apply to how the data is pulled off the Blu-ray as well,” said Kirkland.

“We can continue to make the experience better for the player."

The PS4 will allow users to download their games in the background, or even access them as they download or are being installed from a disc.

Game director Matt Southern also said that Evolution had worked closely with the online technology team at Sony’s London studio on how it could use analytics, as many firms have done on mobile, to improve DriveClub based on player habits and make changes on the fly.

“One of the things we learned was how important analytics were going to be,” he said.

“It was possible for us to acquire data from business intelligence in Soho, but it could take a while. However, what we saw from social games was that you needed that data immediately – even if it’s a day late, it’s growing stale.”

Game director Paul Rustchynsky added: “We can even update the handling. If there are any balancing issues – if anyone says ‘this car is 0.1 second slower than it should be at 0-60mph’ – we can make adjustments like that.”

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