skip to main content

Title: A Semi-Supervised and Inductive Embedding Model for Churn Prediction of Large-Scale Mobile Games
Mobile gaming has emerged as a promising market with billion-dollar revenues. A variety of mobile game platforms and services have been developed around the world. One critical challenge for these platforms and services is to understand user churn behavior in mobile games. Accurate churn prediction will bene t many stakeholders such as game developers, advertisers, and platform operators. In this paper, we present the rst large- scale churn prediction solution for mobile games. In view of the common limitations of the state-of-the-art methods built upon traditional machine learning models, we devise a novel semi- supervised and inductive embedding model that jointly learns the prediction function and the embedding function for user- app relationships. We model these two functions by deep neural networks with a unique edge embedding technique that is able to capture both contextual information and relationship dynamics. We also design a novel attributed random walk technique that takes into consideration both topological adjacency and attribute similarities. To evaluate the performance of our solution, we collect real-world data from the Samsung Game Launcher platform that includes tens of thousands of games and hundreds of millions of user-app interactions. The experimental results with this data demonstrate the superiority of our proposed model against existing state-of-the-art methods.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2018 IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM 2018)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
277 to 286
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We consider user retention analytics for online freemium role-playing games (RPGs). RPGs constitute a very popular genre of computer-based games that, along with a player’s gaming actions, focus on the development of the player’s in-game virtual character through a persistent exploration of the gaming environment. Most RPGs follow the freemium business model in which the gamers can play for free but they are charged for premium add-on amenities. As with other freemium products, RPGs suffer from the curse of high dropout rates. This makes retention analysis extremely important for successful operation and survival of their gaming portals. Here, we develop a disciplined statistical framework for retention analysis by modelling multiple in-game player characteristics along with the dropout probabilities. We capture players’ motivations through engagement times, collaboration and achievement score at each level of the game, and jointly model them using a generalized linear mixed model (glmm) framework that further includes a time-to-event variable corresponding to churn. We capture the interdependencies in a player’s level-wise engagement, collaboration, achievement with dropout through a shared parameter model. We illustrate interesting changes in player behaviours as the gaming level progresses. The parameters in our joint model were estimated by a Hamiltonian Monte Carlo algorithm which incorporated a divide-and-recombine approach for increased scalability in glmm estimation that was needed to accommodate our large longitudinal gaming data-set. By incorporating the level-wise changes in a player’s motivations and using them for dropout rate prediction, our method greatly improves on state-of-the-art retention models. Based on data from a popular action based RPG, we demonstrate the competitive optimality of our proposed joint modelling approach by exhibiting its improved predictive performance over competitors. In particular, we outperform aggregate statistics based methods that ignore level-wise progressions as well as progression tracking non-joint model such as the Cox proportional hazards model. We also display improved predictions of popular marketing retention statistics and discuss how they can be used in managerial decision making.

    more » « less
  2. Context has been recognized as an important factor to consider in personalized recommender systems. Particularly in location-based services (LBSs), a fundamental task is to recommend to a mobile user where he/she could be interested to visit next at the right time. Additionally, location-based social networks (LBSNs) allow users to share location-embedded information with friends who often co-occur in the same or nearby points-of-interest (POIs) or share similar POI visiting histories, due to the social homophily theory and Tobler’s first law of geography. So, both the time information and LBSN friendship relations should be utilized for POI recommendation. Tensor completion has recently gained some attention in time-aware recommender systems. The problem decomposes a user-item-time tensor into low-rank embedding matrices of users, items and times using its observed entries, so that the underlying low-rank subspace structure can be tracked to fill the missing entries for time-aware recommendation. However, these tensor completion methods ignore the social-spatial context information available in LBSNs, which is important for POI recommendation since people tend to share their preferences with their friends, and near things are more related than distant things. In this paper, we utilize the side information of social networks and POI locations to enhance the tensor completion model paradigm for more effective time-aware POI recommendation. Specifically, we propose a regularization loss head based on a novel social Hausdorff distance function to optimize the reconstructed tensor. We also quantify the popularity of different POIs with location entropy to prevent very popular POIs from being over-represented hence suppressing the appearance of other more diverse POIs. To address the sensitivity of negative sampling, we train the model on the whole data by treating all unlabeled entries in the observed tensor as negative, and rewriting the loss function in a smart way to reduce the computational cost. Through extensive experiments on real datasets, we demonstrate the superiority of our model over state-of-the-art tensor completion methods. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    Network embedding has demonstrated effective empirical performance for various network mining tasks such as node classification, link prediction, clustering, and anomaly detection. However, most of these algorithms focus on the single-view network scenario. From a real-world perspective, one individual node can have different connectivity patterns in different networks. For example, one user can have different relationships on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn due to varying user behaviors on different platforms. In this case, jointly considering the structural information from multiple platforms (i.e., multiple views) can potentially lead to more comprehensive node representations, and eliminate noises and bias from a single view. In this paper, we propose a view-adversarial framework to generate comprehensive and robust multi-view network representations named VANE, which is based on two adversarial games. The first adversarial game enhances the comprehensiveness of the node representation by discriminating the view information which is obtained from the subgraph induced by neighbors of that node. The second adversarial game improves the robustness of the node representation with the challenging of fake node representations from the generative adversarial net. We conduct extensive experiments on downstream tasks with real-world multi-view networks, which shows that our proposed VANE framework significantly outperforms other baseline methods. 
    more » « less
  4. With the advent of 5G, supporting high-quality game streaming applications on edge devices has become a reality. This is evidenced by a recent surge in cloud gaming applications on mobile devices. In contrast to video streaming applications, interactive games require much more compute power for supporting improved rendering (such as 4K streaming) with the stipulated frames-per second (FPS) constraints. This in turn consumes more battery power in a power-constrained mobile device. Thus, the state-of-the-art gaming applications suffer from lower video quality (QoS) and/or energy efficiency. While there has been a plethora of recent works on optimizing game streaming applications, to our knowledge, there is no study that systematically investigates the design pairs on the end-to-end game streaming pipeline across the cloud, network, and edge devices to understand the individual contributions of the different stages of the pipeline for improving the overall QoS and energy efficiency. In this context, this paper presents a comprehensive performance and power analysis of the entire game streaming pipeline consisting of the server/cloud side, network, and edge. Through extensive measurements with a high-end workstation mimicking the cloud end, an open-source platform (Moonlight-GameStreaming) emulating the edge device/mobile platform, and two network settings (WiFi and 5G) we conduct a detailed measurement-based study with seven representative games with different characteristics. We characterize the performance in terms of frame latency, QoS, bitrate, and energy consumption for different stages of the gaming pipeline. Our study shows that the rendering stage and the encoding stage at the cloud end are the bottlenecks to support 4K streaming. While 5G is certainly more suitable for supporting enhanced video quality with 4K streaming, it is more expensive in terms of power consumption compared to WiFi. Further, fluctuations in 5G network quality can lead to huge frame drops thus affecting QoS, which needs to be addressed by a coordinated design between the edge device and the server. Finally, the network interface and the decoder units in a mobile platform need more energy-efficient design to support high quality games at a lower cost. These observations should help in designing more cost-effective future cloud gaming platforms. 
    more » « less
  5. Searching for parking has been a problem faced by many drivers, especially in urban areas. With an increasing public demand for parking information and services, as well as the proliferation of advanced smartphones, a range of smartphone-based parking management services began to emerge. Funded by the National Science Foundation, our research aims to explore the potential of smartphone-based parking management services as a solution to parking problems, to deepen our understandings of travelers’ parking behaviors, and to further advance the analytical foundations and methodologies for modeling and assessing parking solutions. This paper summarizes progress and results from our research projects on smartphone-based parking management, including parking availability information prediction, parking searching strategy, the development of a mobile parking application, and our next steps to learn and discover new knowledge from its deployment. To predict future parking occupancy, we proposed a practical framework that integrates machine-learning techniques with a model-based core approach that explicitly models the stochastic parking process. The framework is able to predict future parking occupancy from historical occupancy data alone, and can handle complex arrival and departure patterns in real-world case studies, including special event. With the predicted probabilistic availability information, a cost-minimizing parking searching strategy is developed. The parking searching problem for an individual user is a stochastic Markov decision process and is formalized as a dynamic programming problem. The cost-minimizing parking searching strategy is solved by value iteration. Our simulated experiments showed that cost-minimizing strategy has the lowest expected cost but tends to direct a user to visit more parking facilities compared with two greedy strategies. Currently, we are working on implementing the predictive framework and the searching algorithm in a mobile phone application. We are working closely with Arizona State University (ASU) Parking and Transit Services to implement a three-stage pilot deployment of the prototype application around the ASU main campus. In the first stage, our application will provide real-time information and we will incorporate availability prediction and searching guidance in the second and third stages. Once the mobile application is deployed, it will provide unique opportunities to collect data on parking search behaviors, discover emerging scenarios of smartphone-based parking management services, and assess the impacts of such systems. 
    more » « less