Retailers like EB Games routinely perform data mining, an impressive-sounding concept which basically means running analyses on all your sales figures to try and identify patterns that can help you flog more titles. Those patterns are usually kept secret (hey, it's a competitive business!) but EB Games Australia did reveal one fascinating titbit this week: the weird buying patterns found with Battlefield 3.
Speaking at Microsoft's TechEd Australia 2012 conference, which I have been covering like a boss over at Lifehacker all week, EB Games software development manager Kevin Clarke and Russ Blake from analysis specialist Runge outlined how EB Games sorts through all that purchasing data to work out what's going on. I won't tell you about how the complicated mathematics and analysis works, because despite sitting through an hour-long presentation I would almost certainly get all the details wrong. There's a bit more to it than just "show me everything that matches these categories".
What I will tell you is one minor but intriguing fact that was revealed: an analysis of sales for Battlefield 3 identified two clear main groups of purchasers. One, unsurprisingly, was males aged between 11 and 33. The other was females aged over 33, a result which took more or less everyone by surprise.
Blake asked the crowd to suggest a possible reason, and someone immediately responded with the obvious "Mums buying it for their kids!" That could make sense, given that Battlefield 3 is rated MA15+. But Blake said it wasn't clear that was the whole story, as many younger kids do have their own EB World membership and might want the points. (In practice, no-one checks if you're the card holder so Dad could buy on his son's card just as easily too.)
"My theory was these ladies were divorced and liked shooting up guys," said Blake. "We don't know." Any other ideas, Kotaku readers?
EB Games Explains Big Data Strategies [Lifehacker]
Disclosure: Angus Kidman is attending TechEd 2012 as a guest of Microsoft.