City and Regional Planning

Posted March 5, 2020
  • Weitzman students Jing Zhang and Jingzhi Chang with Ben Medler, Principal Data Scientist at Electronic Arts

    Photo courtesy Wharton Customer Analytics

Weitzman Team Wins Wharton Datathon for Game Powerhouse Electronic Arts

A team of Weitzman students won the latest datathon organized by the Wharton Customer Analytics (WCA) for Electronic Arts (EA), the entertainment company behind such hit games as FIFA 17 and The Journey. The winning students were Master of City Planning candidates Jingzhi Chang and Jing Zhang, and Master of Urban Spatial Analytics candidates Xiaoran Wang, Yujing Wu, and Hanyong Xu.

As game companies move towards providing subscription services, EA asked WCA for guidance in improving its recommendations to subscribers. 24 teams of students worked over four days to analyze datasets provided by EA and presented their findings to the jury at a symposium on February 28.

The Weitzman students looked at the geographic distribution of subscribers as well as trends in the popularity of games and subscription preferences to predict how subscribers would respond to different kinds of recommendations. The team proposed a recommendation strategy for both new and registered users, and suggested that EA focus new promotions on the 1-month subscription.

In the WCA datathons, a company shares its data and presents a real-world business challenge relating to data strategy, data collection, or data analysis. Self-organized student teams have from one day to two weeks to analyze the dataset using programming languages and tools of their choice and create a statistical model that addresses the challenge. In the process, students gain hands-on experience with the latest tools and programming languages in data analytics and meet executives from companies looking for new talent.