The next big video game Easter Egg is … O.R.?

Historically, baseball has been described as America’s national past time. However, there might be another activity better suited to this title … and that is playing video games. That’s right, video games.

Over 227 million people in the U.S. play video games for at least one to a few hours per week, which equals out to about 70% of all Americans are video game fans. But what I’d bet most gamers don’t know, is the role that operations research (O.R.) plays in nearly every aspect of video game development, from design to production to selling.

Joining me today to dive into the world of O.R. and video games is Xiao Lei, assistant professor with the University of Hong Kong, a self-confessed lover of video games who is also lucky enough to get to help advance the role of O.R. in gaming.

O.R. has so much to offer the gaming industry and there are many untapped areas for research and collaboration. It’s an exciting frontier for operations researchers, especially young researchers who have grown up with extensive game play experience. I’m sure that as more O.R. professionals and game developers work together, we will continue to see ground-breaking advancement in video games.

Interviewed this episode:

Xiao Lei

University of Hong Kong

Xiao Lei is an assistant professor at HKU Business School, holding a doctoral degree in Operations Research from Columbia University. His research primarily focuses on two areas: applying operations research to innovative digital markets such as video games, and advocating for social responsibility within profit-driven businesses. His work has been published in flagship journals such as Management Science, and has been recognized by academic awards, such as the INFORMS Service Science Best Student Paper Award (first prize in 2019 and third prize in 2022), as well as being a finalist for the Jeff McGill Best Student Paper Award in Revenue Management and Pricing. In 2020, Xiao Lei worked as a data science intern at Activision Blizzard.

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