Micro- and macro-level churn analysis of large-scale mobile games

Xi Liu, Muhe Xie, Xidao Wen, Rui Chen, Yong Ge, Nick Duffield, Na Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


As mobile devices become more and more popular, mobile gaming has emerged as a promising market with billion-dollar revenue. A variety of mobile game platforms and services have been developed around the world. A critical challenge for these platforms and services is to understand the churn behavior in mobile games, which usually involves churn at micro-level (between an app and a specific user) and macro-level (between an app and all its users). Accurate micro-level churn prediction and macro-level churn ranking will benefit many stakeholders such as game developers, advertisers, and platform operators. In this paper, we present the first large-scale churn analysis for mobile games that supports both micro-level churn prediction and macro-level churn ranking. For micro-level churn prediction, in view of the common limitations of the state-of-the-art methods built upon traditional machine learning models, we devise a novel semi-supervised and inductive embedding model that jointly learns the prediction function and the embedding function for user–app relationships. We model these two functions by deep neural networks with a unique edge embedding technique that is able to capture both contextual information and relationship dynamics. We also design a novel attributed random walk technique that takes into consideration both topological adjacency and attribute similarities. To address macro-level churn ranking, we propose to construct a relationship graph with estimated micro-level churn probabilities as edge weights and adapt link analysis algorithms on the graph. We devise a simple algorithm SimSum and adapt two more advanced algorithms PageRank and HITS. The performance of our solutions to the two-level churn analysis problem is evaluated on real-world data collected from the Samsung Game Launcher platform. The data includes tens of thousands of mobile games and hundreds of millions of user–app interactions. The experimental results with this data demonstrate the superiority of our proposed models against existing state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1465-1496
Number of pages32
JournalKnowledge and Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Churn prediction
  • Graph embedding
  • Inductive learning
  • Mobile games
  • Representation learning
  • Semi-supervised learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Artificial Intelligence


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