mData – 1st Party Game Submissions tool

Challenge

1st party game submissions processes ensure quality and consistency to brands being hosted on their platforms and 1st parties have developed strict guidelines for adherence. As more and more platforms have emerged and the pressure increased on games to support most platforms, the burden of 1st party submissions processes has increased for game developers and publishers. Three main factors are behind this challenge:

Increasing complexity in process

In the past, submissions processes were less complex but quality issues often arose and brand reputations were damaged, so 1st party publishers have expanded and refined the submission process considerably with additional steps as they continue to branch into the online space. 1st parties have tried to address these complexities, for example, Microsoft reduced their TRC requirements by up to 50% between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One game development requirements; but have added numerous other areas that require standards like online storefronts, online dashboards, online promotions, etc. These newer considerations also involve other departments beyond game development, again increasing the complexity.

More stakeholders in the process

Submissions processes used to be primarily driven by the game teams and were required to be passed before going into manufacturing of physical products. In today’s gaming space there is an ever-increasing need to go digital and as such newer requirements, like online storefronts and other digital distribution channels, have extended submission process responsibility to departments such as Marketing, PR, and Creative Services. This is where “Metadata” has become very critical to both 1st party and game publishers in representing their products consistently across all mediums.

Time to market pressures

Most game publishers have an average of 1.4% fail rate which can be very costly especially considering the ever important need to pass submissions the first time these days. Currently the process of verifying the Metadata of artwork is done manually. This process is tedious and is prone to errors. The impact of rejection of a game due to non-conformance of Metadata is significant. The loss of revenue for delaying the launch, the cost of marketing, the rework and re-submission of artwork adds up to sizable costs and potential losses. In some cases, the delay in launching a game might cost millions is misaligned marketing campaigns and delays of the product all together. Missing a deadline by just a few days can have a very costly impact and knockdown effect on all the facets of a game launch to market.

Athena has created the specialized mDATA™ tool that facilitates the most common procedures still handled manually at game publishers while streamlining the process and reducing the risks associated with submissions. This is accomplished by simplifying and unifying the process through providing a means for all stakeholders to quickly and easily verify assets prior to submissions, starting with Metadata.

Solution

Athena’s mDATA is a Windows based tool. It can be installed on the Windows desktop. It is a single end user application that can read shared directories so each user can reference the same assets. Athena has a team of specialists that can help you setup mData for your organisation and ensure swift implementation within your current processes.

Who uses mData typically?

The verification of Meta Data assets is usually done at two levels:

Game Publisher Submission and Operations groups

dotts These groups have to verify prior to submitting the game for approval to the 1st party’s such as Sony, Microsoft, etc.
Platform_Based_Games

Game Development or Creative Services Teams

dotts To enable the team to easily verify the artwork assets they are creating and then submitting them to their internal submission/pre-submission groups prior to being submitted to 1st party.
Console_Based_Gaming

How does mData work?

mDATA has the capability to verify the artwork for any Game Platform. It has the capability to capture the Validation Rules of each of the Game Platforms. It can store the Validation rules of each type of artwork assets and naming conventions within a Game Platform. The Tool reads the properties of the artwork assets provided and validates them against the Rules specified for that particular Game Platform and for that particular artwork asset type. It then records the actual values as well as the expected values. It compares the values and evaluates whether a particular Validation rule is Passed or Failed.

The Tool displays the “summary report” of the validation process. It lists out how many validations are passed and how many are failed within an asset type. The “Details Report” gives the details of all validations done for each of the artwork assets and the outcome of each validation. The mDATA Tool provides the facility to view the assets while viewing the “Details Report”. This allows the user to verify visually the color, logo placement etc and respond to validations questions accordingly. It helps your Developers to quickly make the corrections needed such as updating the image. The user can revalidate the assets whenever they made the corrections and get the latest report.

All the reports generated by Athena’s mDATA Tool can then be saved in the desired format such as Excel sheets, PDF files and/or Word documents. They can also be emailed to concerned parties through the Tool’s email facility.

Platforms supported

Microsoft Xbox One
Microsoft Xbox 360
Sony Playstation 4
Sony Playstation 3
Nintendo WiiU
Nintendo 3DS (3DSxl, XL, 2Dxl)
Valve Steam
Electronic Arts Origin
NVidia Shield
Ouya
Ubisoft uPlay
Apple App Store (iTunes)
Google Googleplay
Amazon AppStore for Android

Benefits

  • The accuracy and predictability of game data verification improves substantially
  • The time required to do the validation is reduced by up to 80%
  • Allows Developers to identify and fix the issues prior to delivery
  • Allows the Approvers to quickly validate and provide the feedback to Game developers
  • It adapts easily to new and evolving game platform standards
  • Incorporating changes to the rules and/or introducing new rules becomes very easy ensuring value well into the future
  • Substantial reduction in operational expense in both time to administer a submission and to avoid costly failures
  • Reduction in fail rates across all platform submissions

Our Experience

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