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Halo 4 and Hadoop

By Steve Jones,

Halo 4 was one of the more successful games that Microsoft has launched on the XBOX console. The latest version of a franchise that is as old as the XBOX platform, Microsoft could have just delivered a game and assumed the popularity of the previous games would translate into popularity for this title. However they decided to do more, and to use data to help them ensure they were engaging with their customers.

One of the ideas was a contest that coincided with the launch. However this wasn't a static contest that was developered prior to the contest with fingers crossed it would engage gamers. Instead the team used data as the contest was ongoing to understand how players were using the game. Using Hadoop and Azure, the team decided to analyze information from the online games. They build a system that can consume the data generated, analyze and process this data with HDInsight and then respond to queries from the business people.

It's a great use of the tools that were available to the groups at Microsoft. This is much easier for them than most of us, since they are generating lots of data in the Azure cloud anyway, and it resulted in a better application all around. Developers had insight into which features they should work on, marketers better understood their clients, and gamers had a fairer game because cheaters were detected.

This isn't the system many of us would use, but parts of it do showcase how you can build a useful feedback loop into your application, and there are plenty of options in the Microsoft stack that can help you process large amounts of data.

Steve Jones

No Podcasts today due to technical difficulties. We hope to have them back tomorrow.

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