Research Opportunities

Purchase, Play, and Upgrade Data for Video Game Players

Purchase, Play, and Upgrade Data for Video Game Players

Analytics at Wharton is pleased to announce a dataset describing purchase, play, and upgrade data for individual players of a major sports video game. The data covers a three-year period, including annual releases of new versions, and purchases of additional game features during that time.  More specific details include:

  • Records on approximately 60,000 players covering up to 3 years of player behavior
  • Over 1.6 million unique game session records, including player ID, session duration, and game console used
  • Over 46,000 purchases of additional game features, including player ID, game console used, and timestamp of purchase
  • Customer satisfaction survey data for a subset of the players, linked back to game-play session data and in-game purchases. Includes long (and sometimes enthusiastic) free-text responses and net promoter score (NPS) ratings.

The data sponsor is open to a variety of research questions, but is particularly interested in predicting future purchase behavior and estimating customer lifetime value. The data provides unique opportunities to explore the relationship between usage and renewal behavior as well as the use of text-mining methods to characterize the survey data and relate it to future behavior. Since the game depicts the teams and players in a major sports league, there are also opportunities to relate video game play to real-world performance of teams/players.

Note: This Research Opportunity remains open for proposal submissions. Interested researchers can submit proposals online through the Archived Proposal Submission Portal. Researchers are encouraged to review proposal submission guidelines before submitting their proposal. Additional questions can be directed to

Research Teams

Learned to be loyal: Exploring the relationship between game playing histories and upgrading behavior
Katja Seim, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Takeaki Sunada, University of Pennsylvania

Scalable Bayesian Inference of Dynamic Segmentation Model with Variable Selection: Analyzing Large-Scale Longitudinal Consumer Behavior Data
Yifan Zhang,  Penn State University
Duncan Fong,  Penn State University
Pulak Ghosh,  Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

The Measurement Effect of Satisfaction Survey on Video Game Players’ Purchase, Play and Upgrade
Qingliang Wang, Xi’an Jiaotong University
Pradeep K. Chintagunta,  University of Chicago
David Kim, University of Chicago
Charles Zou, University of Chicago

Using Multigeneration Diffusion Models to Understand Players’ Purchase and Game Play Behaviors across Game Versions
Zhengrui Jiang,  Iowa State University
Xinxue (Shawn) Qu,  Iowa State University

Social in-game mechanics: effect on player journey, purchases and likelihood to become a promotor
Jacob Mickelsson,  Hanken School of Economics
Minna Pura,  Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki
Mauri Kaipainen,  Södertörn University

Are Words the Window to the Soul? Characterizing Play and Purchase Behavior using Textual Survey Data
Kim Schouten,  Erasmus University Rotterdam
Franciska de Jong,  Erasmus University Rotterdam
Flavius Frasincar,  Erasmus University Rotterdam/University of Twente

Do In-game Purchases Backfire on Players’ Willingness to Purchase Game Version Upgrades?
Olga Ungureanu, BI Norwegian Business School
Rutger van Oest, BI Norwegian Business School

Learn, Master and Customize: Identifying gamers’ skill accumulation and lifetime values
Xuezhen Tao,  University of Maryland
Andrew Sweeting,  University of Maryland

Upgrading customers to new product generations in markets with network effects
Florian Deutzmann, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Stefan Stremersch,  Erasmus University Rotterdam

Predicting Purchase Behavior with Interpretable Non-Parametric Models
Karen Zheng, Massachusetts Institute of  Technology
Rahul Mazumder, Massachusetts Institute of  Technology
Tauhid Zaman, Massachusetts Institute of  Technology

Capturing Virtual Business Opportunities from Real-World Events: Findings and Insights from Sports Video Games
Yong Liu, University of Arizona
Junming Yin, University of Arizona
Tianyu Gu, University of Arizona


The Research Opportunity webinars are posted here for a research-focused audience and should not be quoted, paraphrased or otherwise utilized without written permission of Analytics at Wharton. Any media inquiries or requests for quotes about the projects should be directed to