• Sean Keenan

Making a data-driven narrative

A rough storyboard of how the narrative may play out

For my data-driven narrative, I’m choosing to focus on the video game industry, more specifically how it’s been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most industries, the video game industry has seen a major boost during the time of the pandemic. Many companies, such as Nintendo, have recently reported extremely large profit increases, as well as record breaking sales numbers for different software. Video game popularity has been growing continuously for a while now, though the pandemic has caused an acceleration of these trends.

Beyond the pure business side, I also want to analyze other factors affected by this pandemic. This includes things such as how the demographics of video game players has shifted, what are some standout games from this pandemic, and how this has altered the digital market of video games as a whole. With both of these areas accounted for, it takes the data from showing simple increase, and rather connects them to create a narrative into how the video game industry as a whole has changed from the pandemic.

In just under 5 months, Animal Crossing has skyrocketed up the charts to become the second best selling switch game (source)

The core audiences for this narrative would be both industry analysts curious of the trends that the pandemic has caused, as well video game players themselves who want to see how their hobby has evolved through the general public. To make it more digestible, my goal is to not overload with an abundant of different minute profit increase examples, but rather find a balance between how the pandemic itself has affected video game players and how this effect has altered the financial landscape of the industry.

Despite a seemingly clear picture on how these profits increase and the pandemic is linked, I still need to avoid common mistakes often made in these sorts of data analysis. In his book Beautiful Evidence, author Edward Tufte runs through a whole bunch of different common pitfalls in these analyses, such as cherry-picking and effects without cause.

In an analysis such as this, I have to remain neutral and not select certain data points simply to prove my point. For example, despite there being many believing that this upward trend won’t reverse after the pandemic, such as the axiom article linked above, there’s another subset concerned that the industry may be in line for a downturn later on due to other factors caused by the pandemic, such as the economic concerns consumers are facing and the production of many games being disrupted.

Overall, my main goal with this analysis is to provide a data-driven and accurate view of the video game landscape during these unprecedented times. Gaming in general is an important hobby for many, with a large interest in what’s going on behind the scenes and how the hobby may change and evolve. This pandemic is also a major event that has affected the entire world, so giving a glance into how one specific industry is handling it and evolving from it is important I feel.

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© 2020 by Sean Keenan.