Author Topic: Star Citizen Analytics Project  (Read 101693 times)

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #150 on: December 21, 2017, 05:31:25 PM »
Our neighborhood Goon numbers guy, is at it again.



ANALYSIS OF SMALL TRACKER MOVES

In view of the Crytek lawsuit and the possible imminent demise of the funding tracker, I'm presenting an analysis that I put off for quite a while. This post is the third in the (very infrequently updated) Theoretical Cetology series. Previous entries are here and here. I know many people believe the tracker is faked, but irrespective of that issue, one can still try to figure out what the tracker is actually telling us.

My initial motivation in looking at the funding tracker was to try to tie together the three F's (Fleet, Fans, and Funds) to get a better sense of who was buying what. The hourly scraped data maintained by Nehkara on Google Docs is not well suited to this, because so many transactions get lumped together per hour that it's difficult or impossible to tease out the individual contributions. Therefore I used scraped data with a 5 minute update rate, which strikes a balance between high update rate and not being rude.  As it turned out, the three F's are updated on different schedules and possibly with differing time lags, so it remains impractical to do the dreamed-of joint analysis.

However, it turns out that the Funds data (i.e. the money counter) is updated in real time, or close enough to real time from the perspective of a 5-minute scrape. This tells us how much cash is going into the tracker at each 5 minute interval.

An excerpt from a typical day is shown below. The table shows the size of each tracker move in dollars, and the number of times a move of that size was observed.



A few interesting facts immediately jump out:
  • Many moves are even multiples of $5.
  • Some moves are not whole numbers. I am not sure how this happens; more on this later.
  • There are a decent number of very small moves, like $5 or $10.
  • $45 and $60 are by far the most common move size, probably due to their being starter packages. We also see spikes at combinations of $45 and $60, such as $90 and $105.

As the example of $105 illustrates, a tracker move may be composed of multiple smaller transactions. As long as the typical 5-minute interval does not contain "too many" transactions, we may be able to infer the individual transaction sizes, at least in a probabilistic sense.

The frequent $5 moves are particularly interesting because they are not likely to be composed of smaller transactions and because there isn't anything exciting on the store that costs $5. I believe that they are probably mostly CCU activity, possibly related to the grey market, but I welcome better explanations.

My assumption is that the tracker is honest in the sense that applied store credit is not shown as additional revenue. This would allow us to see transactions of all sizes (due to varying amounts of store credit being applied) even if the store has no item at a particular price.

SELECTING THE DATA SET

To keep from having too many transactions thus making the data too hard to analyze, I used a crude proxy for non-sale days by taking all days with daily funding total < $60K. This gives a total of 116,111 data points from "quiet" or "typical" days.

The method I will apply below relies heavily on the assumption that tracker moves are round numbers, i.e., multiples of $5. Thus, data points that do not fit this assumption must be excluded, leaving 108,621 data points remaining (which represents a loss of 6.5% of the data). Interestingly, non-round tracker moves tend to arrive bunched together. The below plot shows the percentage of non-round moves in a rolling temporal window, restricted to data points from quiet days.



Part of the cause may be temporally limited availability of items, such as the Squadron 42 Military Cap, that aren't multiples of $5. As for the fractional dollar amounts, the only hypothesis I can come up with is if an amount of store credit is somehow acquired untaxed but then has VAT taken out of it later. Partially defraying the cost of an item with the resulting store credit could give rise to strange transaction sizes. 

ESTIMATING TRANSACTION RATES

To account for the effect of multiple transactions, I formulated a probability model for the data as a price-weighted sum of independent Poisson random variables. Going to the store and clicking on "Extras" shows CCUs valued at every multiple of $5 up to about $300, so I set the maximum allowable transaction size to $300. I then estimated the parameters of the model using maximum likelihood. The round transactions assumption is required to make the fitting process tractable; we can apply a crude correction for the exclusion of the non-round transactions afterward.

Below we show the raw histogram of tracker moves.



The result of the fitting process is an average transaction rate for each transaction size, i.e., the average number of transactions of each size, per hour.



The dominant effect is the spikes at $45 and $60, reaching 4.2 and 5.0 transactions/hour, respectively. If we assume that every one of these sales is a starter game package, and that every game package is sold to a new customer, this means 9.2 commandos are buying into Star Citizen per hour outside of special events, or about 80,000 commandos per year. By contrast, the "fans" number has increased by 237,325 so far in 2017, with no major recruiting events to speak of.

There is about 1 transaction per hour for every "small" transaction size below $45. Unless this is CCU activity, I'm not sure what it could represent.  Are people buying $5 skins and UEC chits?

The estimated average daily revenue from starter packages is $11,700, versus an average daily revenue (for the quiet days used in this analysis) of roughly $39,500. Similarly, the average daily revenue from small transactions of $40 or less is $4000. The majority of funding, about $20K, comes from transactions that are $65 or larger.

The average daily total implied by our model is about $37K. Using a crude 7% correction for the excluded data points gives an average daily total of $39,800 which is fairly close to the true average of $39,500.

How literally should we interpret the fitted parameters? I think the inferred rate of starter packages, as well as the small transactions, is roughly accurate. As price increases from there, we should expect a general decline in the frequency of transactions, but not as steep a decline as the model implies. You can see an artifact of this where the model has boosted the rates of transactions near $300 to try to match the heavier tails of the actual data.

IS THE TRACKER TOO STABLE?

There are reasons to expect this model to underestimate the frequency of very large transactions, meaning that it will underestimate daily variability. That being said, the daily standard deviation of funding implied by the fitted model is $2,040, which implies that we would expect to see successive daily totals to be within about $5800 of each other 95% of the time.

A quick eyeballing suggests that the real data is indeed more variable than the model estimate. This is unsurprising both because there are dynamic influences on the store activity that we do not model, and because we would expect overdispersion even in the absence of such effects.

A better answer would involve looking at autocorrelation, but :effort:
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #151 on: December 22, 2017, 10:13:38 AM »
All off-topic posts have been deleted. This thread is only for the discussion of these analytics. Thanks for understanding.   :eng99:
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #152 on: December 26, 2017, 05:00:26 PM »


Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

jwh1701

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #153 on: December 28, 2017, 11:50:49 AM »
Hello Derek,

I had few questions concerning the chart you post above and the link for the UK fillings, I had sometime today and was trying to determine:
1. Total Reserves
2. Spending more than they take in?

Hate to make assumptions so wanted verify

1. 2017 Figure $5,323,149 is that reserves?
2. 2017 Figure 34,195,426 wonder if that figure represents books, mugs, or just backers / in game purchases?

3. To be upfront I have not looked over financials like this so some of it is unclear.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08703814/filing-history
Page 9 shows more debt than assets:
Line 7 cash on hand is only 171,845
Line 8 Seems to be they owe a creditor: 1,047,587
Line 9 Assets: 4,192,777 - This must be offices or equipment, not cash?

PDF: 07 Jul 2016    Total exemption small company accounts made up to 31 December 2015
Page 20 Shows 9,815,120 - I can only assume this figure represents UK and not all locations?

I'm really interested in trying to figure whats really going on with financials how much are they taking in, how much is left and what are they spending.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 11:54:52 AM by jwh1701 »

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #154 on: December 29, 2017, 05:38:56 AM »
Hello Derek,

I had few questions concerning the chart you post above and the link for the UK fillings, I had sometime today and was trying to determine:

http://dereksmart.com/forums/reply/5973/
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

jwh1701

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #155 on: December 29, 2017, 09:11:24 AM »
Thank you for the link, I read through that and all the additional links. The accounting reports did not make any sense and I contributed that to what I though was my lack of understanding. The articles you wrote certainly point to what I suspected and its a very dark picture of what's really going on. I've read that some say he really did not begin to secure resources and talent till 2015 and I kept asking myself it that is true how did they show having so little money in 2016? If they had 170mill and they are now taking out loans in 2016 means something has gone completely awry.

http://dereksmart.com/forums/reply/5973/
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 09:14:48 AM by jwh1701 »

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #156 on: December 29, 2017, 11:54:30 AM »
Total in 2013: $28,446,117
Total in 2014: $32,933,205 (14% bump from previous year)
Total in 2015: $35,961,202 (8.5% bump from previous year)
Total in 2016: $36,100,538 (.4% bump from previous year)
Total in 2017 (three days of funding remain): $34,592,496 (4.2% drop from previous year)

this will be the first year star citizen hasn't grown in funding
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

Motto

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #157 on: December 29, 2017, 12:02:45 PM »
Not only that, but they threw everything they had at it this year too. And then some.

Multiple new concept ships, limited editions, the referral contest, the demo at Gamescom, the SQ 42 VS, the land beacon, the tonks, the everything is back on sale - for weeks and weeks - including all the "limited" stuff ever produced, the SSD deal, the FOIP shite. You name it, they have tried it. And even after clearly rigging the funding tracker, they're still not up to par. As if constant funding of 35 million every year without actually producing anything worthwhile was realistic in the first place.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 02:20:31 PM by Motto »

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #158 on: December 30, 2017, 12:55:18 PM »
And that's precisely why I selfishly want the CryTek lawsuit to go forward, as they are the only one who would be able to gain access to the financials.
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

hurrdurr

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #159 on: December 30, 2017, 06:41:54 PM »
And that's precisely why I selfishly want the CryTek lawsuit to go forward, as they are the only one who would be able to gain access to the financials.

I think that if this en-devour is successful, it will spill out into the normal media on nearly a Bernie Madoff level of corruption, greed, and jaw-dropping incompetence.

StanTheMan

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #160 on: December 30, 2017, 08:15:19 PM »
Not only that, but they threw everything they had at it this year too. And then some.

Multiple new concept ships, limited editions, the referral contest, the demo at Gamescom, the SQ 42 VS, the land beacon, the tonks, the everything is back on sale - for weeks and weeks - including all the "limited" stuff ever produced, the SSD deal, the FOIP shite. You name it, they have tried it. And even after clearly rigging the funding tracker, they're still not up to par. As if constant funding of 35 million every year without actually producing anything worthwhile was realistic in the first place.

Yes.. the SQ42 slice is probably as good as it gets.

Then there are these share offerings that might be on the table...probably a bit late..


dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #161 on: January 01, 2018, 09:41:00 AM »



2017 is officially in the books, by UTC time anyway! Here are the yearly funding totals:

2014: $32,933,409.17
2015: $35,966,958.00
2016: $36,099,259.42
2017: $34,913,002.15



As the graph shows, they were really in the hole before the land/anniversary sale, which at least pulled them ahead of 2014.

Speaking of the anniversary sale, it has become a greater and greater percentage of their yearly take over the years. A quick estimate is below. (I don't have precise sale ending times, and sale lengths are getting murkier with pre-sale sales and so forth, so I just assumed all sales lasted 12 days.)

2014: Anniversary sale provided 12.8% of annual revenue.
2015: Anniversary sale provided 14.2% of annual revenue.
2016: Anniversary sale provided 19.2% of annual revenue.
2017: Anniversary sale provided 23.4% of annual revenue.
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #162 on: January 01, 2018, 10:10:57 AM »
via Gorf



Quote from: G0RF" post="479812796
Maybe the Coutts loan got put to the best use possible ó fuel injected demand to keep confidence afloat. The deflation is perceptible externally yet negated via the internally controlled authority of the tracker.

Iím also increasingly convinced that the year-end livestream was constructed with a new 3rd party audience primarily in mind: either the British Tax authority or Coutts (though it could be both.) The entire non-game segments were remedial, introductory, and at times conspicuously false.

Now itís possible that the hope for it was to educate the general gaming public about Squadron 42 and stoke opt-in demand for their mailing list. Yet we can intuitively discern invisible machinery at work here; we donít need to see the gears turning and pistons firing to sense the directed movement. Itís in the miracle correction in the tracker and in that year-end video..

I made note recently of a conspicuous moment of falsehood in the year-end livestream. It may seem a minor thing, Chambers claim that everyone under Hannes is solely dedicated to Squadron 42. Yet we know this hasnít ever been historically true and ďThe Road to CitizenConĒ is but one of many CIG transmissions that invalidates his claim.

Who is the audience that needs to believe the Director of Cinematics is leading a team solely dedicated to Squadron? Itís not the mega-whales; by and large such news would be bad news because theyíre invested in Star Citizen ships. Yet the specificity of the claim would render it extraneous to the prospective Squadron tire-kickers. So who are really talking to, CIG? And a wee bit falsely?

It wouldnít be the first time Chambers hit a false note for the team. He was one of those offering the ďwe canít show any of Squadron because [spoiler]spoilers!Ē[/spoiler] excuse that CIG cooked up in the months after supposedly pulling their hour long Squadron vertical slice at the last minute. It was bogus and the year-end demo makes that plainly clear.

Their year ends in a highly atypical fashion. Prior year-end livestreams traditionally served a real-time comedy of unforced errors aimed at and forgiven by the core faithful. The carelessness and clumsiness was always a selling feature. The stakes were always high, as the year-end fundraising drive was the topping off of the cash tank maneuver that needed to fuel them throughout the slow season, yet youíd never have guessed it from CIGís bumbling. They never even bothered with technical redundancy or rehearsals. Chris and Sandi didnít care if they looked stupid or unprepared. Ill-advised though it always was, it conveyed confidence of self.

This year was different, very different. Nothing left to chance. A message aimed at a different audience about a game that is not now nor ever has been a meaningful revenue contributor. Why? Why when release is so far away and pre-sales a harder sell with a much lower, fixed per unit yield?

What changed, CIG? Whatís really behind all these weird deviations from script. Itís hard to fully make sense of whatís afoot but itís clear somethingís different and it looks a lot like fear.

Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

dsmart

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #163 on: January 03, 2018, 04:33:05 AM »
via bovis our Goon numbers guy





This is the number of "citizens", which CIG likes to imply is the same as the number of paying customers (it is not). There is no recent public information on the number of customers; Turbulent gave a statement a while ago that implied the ratio of UEE Citizens to backers was in the neighborhood of 2:1. I would surmise that the ratio is somewhat more skewed than that now. There is also reason to believe that most of the project's publicly stated funding, if the picture of reality implied by the tracker is anywhere close to accurate, comes from a very small core of mega-whales.
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

Backer42

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Re: Star Citizen Analytics Project
« Reply #164 on: January 03, 2018, 06:16:39 AM »
These numbers don't matter at all, because accounts doesn't mean people, regardless if stated by Turbulent or CIG.

My estimation based on Twitch and YouTube views (compared to other games and their sale numbers) is that Star Citizen still has a five digits total number of players/backers, means substantially less than 100k. These people created dozens if not hundreds of accounts on various occasions. Also the number of really actively funding backers should be far less then 10k.

 

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