From this they know how many skip dialogue pieces, how many male Shepards there are, who's naughty and nice - all to help their new games.
"The only data that we get are in terms of events -- little things that happen in the game," said producer Casey Hudson. "Let's say if we want to know whether players skip lines of dialogue, we can have that become a little event that gets sent up."
"It's all completely anonymous, so all we get is raw numbers for how many times these kinds of events occur. Then we can start getting ratios and comparing proportions and things like that. It becomes this mass of numbers, and then we have to try to figure out how we would interpret that." It can be instrumental in making new games.
"When we were looking at the Achievements for Mass Effect 1, that's where we realized that there are some really interesting player behaviors there that it would be nice if we could answer more questions for ourselves," continued the BioWare man.
"...we could understand what's going on and how people play our game."
"Sometimes you'll design something and think that it's going to be used in a certain way and people will use it in a completely different way. And if you didn't know that, then you would just keep making that system the same as you did before."
"But once you know what players like and what they don't like, based on the way that they're playing it, then you can make more of the good stuff and less of the stuff they weren't interested in." The Mako wasn't as beloved as the studio had hoped so Mass Effect 2 ditched planet-side exploration for orbital mineral scanning instead.
This data can't really help out for DLC projects though it's more for brand new titles. "There are some things regarding difficulty and weapons and things like that and those are easier to tune, but there won't be a huge opportunity to include this stuff for the PS3 version. It's about how you design a game from the ground up," explained Hudson.
"Ultimately it doesn't always give you the answers, but it sometimes raises questions or gets you to ask the right questions…More people played the soldier class than all of the other classes combined. If you know that, then you can start thinking about future games."
"Is that good? Is that a problem? Should we look at the other classes and start thinking about ways to make them selected as often as soldier? As part of asking these questions, we can design games in the future a lot better."
Today sees the release of Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, adding many new levels, a new open-ended location, a return of Liara (and possible romance) and it helps bridge some of the narrative between ME2 and the next full game.
Here are some of the Mass Effect 2 game statistics, courtesy of IGN.