[…] To sum up, and provide a tentative and sufficiently broad definition, a game metric is a quantitative measure of one or more attributes of one or more objects that operate in the context of games. Translated into plain language, this definition clari-fies that a game metric is a quantitative measure of something related to games.
An object can in this case be anything operating in the context – a virtual item, code, a player, a process, a person, forum post, etc. etc. With context is meant that the metric has to be tied directly to the design of one or more games, the process of de-veloping, supporting and maintaining it, technical performance of the infrastructure, quality assurance, the business aspects that tie directly into the game (e.g. number of virtual items sold), the behavior of the users, etc. All of these form the game context. To clarify with a few examples: a measure of how many daily active users a social online game has; a measure of how many units a game has sold last week; how many times players completed level seven; task completion rates in a production team for a specific title, etc. – are all game metrics, because they relate directly to the process, performance or users in relation to one or more games.
Conversely, metrics that are unrelated to the games context, for example the revenue of a game development company last year, the number of employee complaints last month, etc., are business metrics. The distinction can be blurry in practice, but is essential to separate what is purely business metrics with those metrics that relate to the games themselves, of which a number are unique to game development compared to the remainder of the IT industry (in how many other IT sectors can “number of orcs killed per player” be a business-relevant metric?).
Chapter 2: Game Analytics – The Basics (Anders Drachen, Magy Seif El-Nasr1, Alessandro Canossa)