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Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts' Linked Data Journey

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Millions of players consume or create content related to EA’s video games every day. For EA, managing this content using traditional content management systems and databases had become increasingly difficult. The environments in which this content was created, stored and consumed kept growing in number and complexity. EA’s ability to reliably connect individual players with the content that mattered most to them remained elusive.

In response EA has set about changing its approach to the creation, classification and distribution of digital content. This has entailed structurally modelling and semantically describing EA's digital content. This approach has allowed EA to forge an entity-based understanding of available content to provide the right information to the right player at the right time.

This SEMANTiCS 2017 keynote presentation, delivered by Eamonn Glass and Aaron Bradley, describes how this journey was initiated at EA, the challenges encountered and how they were overcome, and how linked data will play a key role in EA's digital future.

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Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts' Linked Data Journey

  1. 1. SEMANTICS AT PLAY E L E C T R O N I C AR T S ’ L I N K E D D ATA J O U R N E Y EAMONN GLASS @eggman51 AARON BRADLEY @aaranged SEMANTiCS 2017 12 September 2017, Amsterdam
  2. 2. We strive to be THE WORLD’S GREATEST GAMING COMPANY We exist to INSPIRE THE WORLD TO PLAY Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson
  3. 3. About EA • Video games: 1,100+
  4. 4. About EA • Video games: 1,100+ • FY17 net sales: $4.94B • Indexed web pages: 7.7M • Players: lots
  5. 5. About EA • Video games: 1,100+ • FY17 net sales: $4.94B • Indexed web pages: 7.7M • Players: lots
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. THE INHERITANCE LEVEL 0
  8. 8. “ ” OH WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE, WHEN FIRST WE PRACTICE TO DECEIVE SIR WALTER SCOTT, FROM THE ROMANTIC POEM “MARMION” (1808) 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 8
  9. 9. P L AY E R V I E W O F B AT T L E F I E L D C O N T E N T E C O S Y S T E M C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 9 COMMUNICATIONS MARKETING STUDIO ???
  10. 10. B E H I N D T H E S C E N E S B AT T L E F I E L D C O N T E N T E C O S Y S T E M C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 10 WORD PRESS DRUPAL ADOBE ANOTHER WORD PRESS
  11. 11. AN D T H I S E X I S T E D AC R O S S F R AN C H I S E S AN D L AN G U A G E S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 11
  12. 12. “ ” ANY ORGANIZATION THAT DESIGNS A SYSTEM WILL PRODUCE A DESIGN WHOSE STRUCTURE IS A COPY OF THE COMMUNICATIONS STRUCTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION MELVIN CONWAY, CITED IN “THE MYTHICAL MAN MONTH” (1967) 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 12
  13. 13. TO P I C AL C O N T E N T AT E A, C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 13 1. Published document metadata incomplete, inconsistent or missing
  14. 14. 1 4
  15. 15. TO P I C AL C O N T E N T AT E A, C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 15 1. Published document metadata incomplete, inconsistent or missing 2. Primitive and non-interoperable classification of documents
  16. 16. 1 6
  17. 17. TO P I C AL C O N T E N T AT E A, C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 17 1. Published document metadata incomplete, inconsistent or missing 2. Primitive and non-interoperable classification of documents 3. Localization reliant on content duplication 4. Limited publishing endpoints supported 5. Multiple content management systems and associated processes
  18. 18. L I B R AR I A N > W E B D E S I G N E R > S E AR C H M AR K E T E R 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 18
  19. 19. A P O S T- S T R U C T U R AL I S T E D U C AT I O N 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 19
  20. 20. P I O N E E R S O F AP P L I E D S T R U C T U R E D D ATA 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 20
  21. 21. E A W E B D E V S U M M I T, AP R I L 2 0 1 4
  22. 22. E A W E B D E V S U M M I T, AP R I L 2 0 1 4
  23. 23. E A W E B D E V S U M M I T, AP R I L 2 0 1 4
  24. 24. E A W E B D E V S U M M I T, AP R I L 2 0 1 4
  25. 25. “ ” LINKED DATA IS ESSENTIAL TO ACTUALLY CONNECT THE SEMANTIC WEB. IT IS QUITE EASY TO DO WITH A LITTLE THOUGHT, AND BECOMES SECOND NATURE. TIM BERNERS-LEE, LINKED DATA (27 JULY 2006) 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 25
  26. 26. B AT T L E F I E L D H AR D L I N E N E W S
  27. 27. W H O I S E AM O N N G L AS S ? • Canadian born – Vancouver • Irishman – citizenship from parents • Masters degree in Holland – Utrecht • Made complete by a Croatian – married 20 years • Have two daughters – equality is important • Worked in motorsports, logging, fishing, healthcare, utilities, ecommerce, start-ups, Fortune 500 – diverse background
  28. 28. W H O I S E AM O N N G L AS S ? • Been a gamer since the very first consoles • In 2012 on my ideal path to early retirement • I realized this would bore me to an early death
  29. 29. W H O I S E AM O N N G L AS S ? • Joined EA as a consultant in 2012 • Joined full time in 2014 • Director, Online Platform Strategy • Still dumb enough to tackle the big problems • Still a passionate gamer
  30. 30. THE CONTENT SERVICE LEVEL 1
  31. 31. S TAR T W I T H W H Y 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 31 Our v1 Why? To enable “in game” as a channel for our marketers to reach our players.
  32. 32. T H E C O N T E N T S E RV I C E : G E N E S I S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 32
  33. 33. O U R V 1 V I S I O N – C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 33
  34. 34. O U R F I R S T I T E R AT I O N – D E L I V E R E D I N 2 0 1 5 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 34
  35. 35. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 35 1. Support a broader range of content endpoints • Particularly in game integration
  36. 36. E X T E N D I N G T H E R E AC H O F C O N T E N T
  37. 37. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 37 1. Support a broader range of content endpoints • Particularly in game integration 2. Allow us to flexibly query our content
  38. 38. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E Q U E RY I N G C APA B I L I T I E S
  39. 39. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 39 1. Support a broader range of content endpoints • Particularly in game integration 2. Allow us to flexibly query our content 3. Future-proof CMS
  40. 40. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T S E RV I C E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 40 1. Make our CMS(s) more agnostic by separating the data and presentation layers in our content management processes
  41. 41. S E M AN T I C P U B L I S H I N G : I N S P I R AT I O N 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 41
  42. 42. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T S E RV I C E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 42 1. Make our CMS(s) more agnostic by separating the data and presentation layers in our content management processes 2. Create a content model that allows us to structure and semantically describe our content
  43. 43. C O N T E N T M O D E L AR C H I T E C T U R E 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 43 Base (Meta) Article News Blog Event Gallery Image gallery Videos
  44. 44. C O N T E N T M O D E L D ATA M AP P I N G 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 44
  45. 45. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T S E RV I C E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 45 1. Make our CMS(s) more agnostic by separating the data and presentation layers in our content management processes 2. Create a content model that allows us to structure and semantically describe our content 3. Build APIs for querying and rendering content
  46. 46. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E L E S S O N S L E AR N E D 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 46 1. Consistent metadata meant consistent presentation across digital channels
  47. 47. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E L E S S O N S L E AR N E D 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 47 2. Richness of meta data greatly improved search results
  48. 48. C O N T E N T S E RV I C E L E S S O N S L E AR N E D 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 48 3. We could see the beginnings of a “network ecosystem” powered by semantics: content model and taxonomy
  49. 49. THE CONTENT ENGINE LEVEL 2
  50. 50. S TAR T W I T H W H Y 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 50 Our v2 Why? To connect our players with the best next experience, anywhere, anytime.
  51. 51. O U R V 2 V I S I O N 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 66
  52. 52. C O N T E N T E N G I N E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 67 1. Unify our approach to content publishing, extending the Content Service to cover more environments and more endpoints 2. Develop a single, standards-based source of truth for our games 3. Facilitate rich personalized experiences that help our players connect to the information they want and need
  53. 53. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T E N G I N E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 68 1. Improve and expand content model
  54. 54. C O N T E N T M O D E L 2 . 0
  55. 55. C O N T E N T M O D E L 2 . 0
  56. 56. C O N T E N T M O D E L 2 . 0
  57. 57. “ ” INTELLIGENT CONTENT IS CONTENT THAT’S STRUCTURALLY RICH AND SEMANTICALLY CATEGORIZED AND THEREFORE AUTOMATICALLY DISCOVERABLE, REUSABLE, RECONFIGURABLE, AND ADAPTABLE. ANNE ROCKLEY, MANAGING ENTERPRISE CONTENT, 2ND ED. (2012) 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 72
  58. 58. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T E N G I N E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 73 1. Improve and expand content model 2. Create an ontology of our domain
  59. 59. O N TO L O G Y D E V E L O P M E N T: S C H E M A. O R G K I C K - S TAR T
  60. 60. E X T E N D I N G S C H E M A. O R G F O R C O M P E T I T I V E G AM I N G ( E S P O R T S ) bit.ly/cgvocab
  61. 61. O N TO L O G Y D E V E L O P M E N T: P O O L PAR T Y
  62. 62. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T E N G I N E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 77 1. Improve and expand content model 2. Create an ontology of our domain 3. Improve and extend taxonomies
  63. 63. TAX O N O M Y D E V E L O P M E N T: P O O L PAR T Y
  64. 64. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F C O N T E N T E N G I N E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 79 1. Improve and expand content model 2. Create an ontology of our domain 3. Improve and extend taxonomies 4. Employ an enterprise semantic data store to aggregate and store content and data 5. Marry player-generated game play data with structured and semantically-described content
  65. 65. C O N T E N T E N G I N E AR C H I T E C T U R E Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Other Content Model AEM 1 UGC AEM 2 Content Service Other Today Render Content Query Content Other Tomorrow Render Content Web Sites EA Content Game Clients Mobile Apps Other Today Other Tomorrow Player Content Apple News JSON & JSON-LD HTML Facebook Other Content Creation Content Management Content Classification & Querying Content Output Formats Content Rendering Endpoints Taxonomy & Ontology Partner Content Machine Content
  66. 66. O U R V 1 V I S I O N – C I R C A 2 0 1 4 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 81
  67. 67. O U R F I R S T I T E R AT I O N – D E L I V E R E D I N 2 0 1 5 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 82
  68. 68. T H E C O N T E N T S E RV I C E : G E N E S I S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 83
  69. 69. C O N T E N T E N G I N E AR C H I T E C T U R E Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Today Other Other Content Model AEM 1 UGC AEM 2 Content Service Other Today Render Content Query Content Other Tomorrow Render Content Web Sites EA Content Game Clients Mobile Apps Other Today Other Tomorrow Player Content Apple News JSON & JSON-LD HTML Facebook Other Content Creation Content Management Content Classification & Querying Content Output Formats Content Rendering Endpoints Taxonomy & Ontology Partner Content Machine Content
  70. 70. C O N S O R T I U M O F PAR T N E R S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 85 We’ve been working with partners to accomplish this. Content Management Taxonomy & Ontology Management Semantic Data Store
  71. 71. R E L I AB L E , C O N S I S T E N T, E X T E N S I B L E M E TAD ATA
  72. 72. G AM E D E TAI L PAG E : B E F O R E
  73. 73. G AM E D E TAI L PAG E : B E F O R E
  74. 74. G AM E D E TAI L PAG E D ATA : B E F O R E
  75. 75. G AM E D E TAI L PAG E D ATA : B E F O R E
  76. 76. G AM E D E TAI L PAG E : B E F O R E • Data inaccessible by other domains and applications • Loosely-organized, poorly-governed, inadequately maintained • Data resides at universally-available, dereferenceable URIs • Well-modelled, standards-based taxonomy independent of CMS
  77. 77. F R O M I L L - TO W E L L - D E F I N E D R E L AT I O N S H I P S B E T W E E N G AM E S
  78. 78. L O C AL I Z E D G AM E G E N R E PAG E : B E F O R E
  79. 79. L O C AL I Z E D G AM E G E N R E PAG E : AF T E R
  80. 80. • Sparta is an internal EA codename for the user interface that combines the Battlefield titles into a single integrated player experience.
  81. 81. • UGC from “Game Changers” • Mostly Tips and Tricks, also “Battlefield Moments” • Can be EA made videos, also on YouTube
  82. 82. • Intended to reduce churn, increase player success • Catalogued in Content Engine via Taxonomy • Game Telemetry + Reco Engine = what to serve
  83. 83. C R E AT I N G A N E T W O R K E C O S Y S T E M 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 101 In game On the web On the go Companion Apps Mobile
  84. 84. I N T E L L I G E N T C O N T E N T I N G AM E : I M PAC T O N M E T R I C S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 104 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 Default Personalized Personalized Content Study Group vs Default Content Control Group Impact: A 40% increase on session days from personalized content
  85. 85. T H E C O N T E N T E N G I N E : L E S S O N S L E AR N E D 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 107 1. The learning curve is steep 2. Linked data tools and the business infrastructure supporting them are not yet mature 3. Measurement challenges existing systems 4. Once you demonstrate the utility of using linked data technologies people start coming on board
  86. 86. THE FUTURE LEVEL 2
  87. 87. F U T U R E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 110 1. Extend our existing publishing and linked data capabilities to facilitate better player experiences across a broader range of content endpoints, products and processes
  88. 88. B U I L D I N G T H E N E T W O R K 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 111
  89. 89. F U T U R E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 112 1. Extend our existing publishing and linked data capabilities to facilitate better player experiences across a broader range of content endpoints, products and processes 2. Normalize and extend the taxonomies that are used across the enterprise
  90. 90. E X T E N D I N G T H E G R AP H
  91. 91. E X T E N D I N G T H E G R AP H AARON
  92. 92. E X T E N D I N G T H E G R AP H
  93. 93. F U T U R E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 116 1. Extend our existing publishing and linked data capabilities to facilitate better player experiences across a broader range of content endpoints, products and processes 2. Normalize and extend the taxonomies that are used across the enterprise 3. Execute measurement and analysis best practices
  94. 94. E X T E N D I N G AN A LY T I C S ( T H E M I K E AR N E S E N M E T H O D ) bit.ly/semanticga
  95. 95. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F F U T U R E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 118 1. Develop a standards-based method of representing content models
  96. 96. C O N T E N T M O D E L R E P R E S E N TAT I O N : F R O M T H I S TO … ? 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 119
  97. 97. AC T I V I T I E S I N S U P P O R T O F F U T U R E G O AL S 12 September 2017Semantics at Play: Electronic Arts’ Linked Data Journey 120 1. Develop a standards-based method of representing content models 2. Formalize and centralize taxonomy development and governance processes 3. Drive adoption, measure impact, refine
  98. 98. Simplify
  99. 99. 1. Simplify
  100. 100. 1. Simplify Standardize
  101. 101. 1. Simplify 2. Standardize
  102. 102. 1. Simplify 2. Standardize Scale
  103. 103. 1. Simplify 2. Standardize 3. Scale
  104. 104. THANK YOU! EAMONN GLASS eglass@ea.com @eggman51 AARON BRADLEY abradley@ea.com @aaranged

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