Saturday, October 2, 2010

KZero Virtual World dataporn

Raph points us to Kzero (a market research company looking at virtual worlds) and their awesome data visualization of the growth of virtual worlds. I'm a sucker for data porn, and this shows up the worlds split by age demographic, size, and launch date.

Would love to have this as a poster, but for now, here it is in pieces (note that some of these are from last year - guess you have to pay them to get the whole, er, pie.


Darius Kazemi said...

Not a fan of these charts. They don't tell us much of anything.

- The labeling on the games is inconsistent. Because of the circular form they chose, some game names are angled, some are horizontal, some are labeled at the endpoints and some are labeled at the beginning of their individual timeline.
- The use of angle to mean age implies that there's a gradient of some kind in intended ages for the games. Or is it broken up by actual/estimated age of players? Hard to tell.
- You can't look at the chart and easily determine who is "ahead" or "behind" in any given metric. Bubbles, which they use to determine # of users, are notoriously difficult for humans to intuitively understand -- humans are poor at assessing relative size of circular areas. While I applaud their addition of actual numbers to the red bubbles, it's not enough.
- The chart includes, yet occludes, accounts-over-time data for each individual game. It's very hard to tell timeline data by reading the numbers embedded in the green radials.

The chart should probably be broken up into 2 charts. One focusing on comparing performance of VWs over time (line chart with multiple data sets overlaid), and one to compare current subscription numbers (simple bar chart). Each of THOSE charts should be broken up into relative age ranges, 10-12, 13-15, whatever, creating 2 charts for each age range. Then you'd have visualizations that would actually answer questions you might have.

However, I can't blame an analytics consulting company for releasing cryptic but beautiful graphs as a pure marketing campaign. I've been guilty of that too!

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