Sasa Joveljic, Sugar’s Head of Data, has been a gamer all his life, and now spends his days pouring over game data and exploring new methods to analyse and provide insights. We caught up with him to share his experiences and find out why he loves this industry so much.
Hi Sasa, tell the Sugar readers a bit about your background?
I’ve been in analytics for a while across various industries. In the games industry, I’ve spent most of my time working at a game publisher, and most recently at Sugar. I’ve been lucky enough to see data on hundreds of games and have a deep understanding of how it all ties together.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
I wanted to be a professional athlete, but sadly I wasn’t athletic enough. I’ve tried pretty much all of the track and field events!
What do you love so much about the world of data and technology?
It’s a bit of a cliche but I love that data can help you get to the truth. The whole data field is still only in its infancy and just has so much more potential in the future.
Are you a gamer at heart and what games do you love most?
I’m a huge gamer! All platforms and genres. On mobile I’m playing Epic 7 and I’m day 615 retained!! I recently got back into Hearts of Iron 4 which is a WW2 grand strategy game. That reminds me – I can’t wait to try Gates of Hell (WW2 RTS) when it comes out. If anyone is into roguelikes then take a look at Hades, it’s really well done.
What has surprised you about working in the games world so far?
Generally, the community spirit within the industry has amazed me. I’ve seen a lot of knowledge sharing on various platforms and I love that people are so willing to help out and point you in the right direction.
Do you feel like the concept of data analysis is well understood in the games world and why?
Only partially but I think more could be done to help out new studios. It’s not always clear a) which are the most important metrics early on and b) the subsequent actions that need to be taken. If done correctly, this could have a big impact on the direction of the game and studio.
Studios should utilise A/B testing more frequently. Not only would it help you understand the impact of changes in your game but the learnings can be used for future games. E.g. If you added a multiplayer element to a certain game, what would be the changes in engagement and monetisation?
Where do you hope Sugar will be in 5 years’ time?
I hope 5 years from now we will have helped tonnes of developers grow their games. From my previous experiences, I know how hard it is to get growth funding.
What’s your work ethos and routine like?
Quality over quantity. I guess it’s no surprise coming from the data person. Also make sure to keep an open mind because there is plenty more to learn from everyone.
You have worked in a few different industries, what are the best learnings from your experience that could be applied to the games world?
A really important lesson for me has been recognising confirmation bias. If you have a prior belief when looking at data you can easily spin data in a way to justify beliefs that are perhaps not there. The other one is trying to narrow success or failure down to a single variable. It never works that way.
If you could change one thing about the way the games world operates, what would that be?
Its the same reason why Sugar exists, I want to see more brilliant devs have access to resources they need to get their games out there.
What do you do when you’re not working or playing games?
I do a lot of throwing (Shot put) supported by weightlifting. It’s been really good fun after work, it’s very sociable, and gives me a chance to blow off steam. I plan to get back to Brazilian Jui-Jitsu sometime soon – I’d highly recommend BJJ if you’ve never tried a martial art before!
If you could go on holiday now (dare to dream!) – where would you go?
Japan in a heartbeat. I went to Tokyo for the first time in my life pre-lockdown. I thought it was amazing. Next time I’d go to a different area, perhaps Kyoto.
We hope you enjoyed hearing a little a bit more about Sasa, Sugar’s ethos and why he is so excited about the future. Keep an eye out for more blog posts following Sasa’s journey with Sugar!