A digital, data-driven sport
Esports is truly the future of competition, pitting individuals or groups of players against each other to battle it out from within vibrant and vastly varied virtual environments.
There have been forms of esports dating back decades (think Space Invaders or Tetris), but in recent years esports has exploded into what it is today — an industry filled with thousands of professional players and millions of fans across the globe, filling stadiums and following the action avidly using streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube.
Performance data plays a key role in the development of traditional sports (the esports term for the likes of football, cricket, tennis or anything else of this nature) across multiple areas:
- It enables competitors to objectively analyse their performance, allowing for improvements and strategic innovations.
- It serves as interesting and engaging content that can be used across all media platforms. It’s great for fans, and sponsors like it too!
- It aids understanding of what is happening in the match. Sometimes not everything can be easily understood, especially by a new fan — data tells the true story, helping to show the spectators what is exciting and why.
- It can be used by sportsbooks to inform their predicted outcomes. This is a critical part of the process used for the calculation of odds and to instruct their systems on which way to result bets.
- It is a fantastic foundation on which to build a plethora of engaging data-driven products, for use both by fans and by other businesses working within the sport.
The more granular the data feeding into the points above, the better the outcome. For traditional sports, however, there is a physical barrier that must be overcome in order to achieve a richer data set. How do I get this data quickly and reliably from the court/pitch/track?
Esports, on the other hand, is digital in its very nature. From the moment a player clicks their mouse or presses a specific key in a multiplayer title, a piece of data is generated and the action acknowledged by the hosting gameserver. This, given the technologies employed can support it, results in the ability to capture a complete set of data points covering the action. The use cases above become even more central to a world in which this is the case. In the world of esports, data is king.
The GRID is built for esports
GRID works in an official capacity with its data rights holding partners (game publishers and esports tournament organisers) to provide them with the tools to extract and make sense of the generated raw performance data, and a platform through which to distribute their data assets, so that interested parties can rely on fast and accurate data to build their digital products on top of.
Our vision is to enable an ecosystem in esports where data can be relied on and a maximised value can be generated for those creating the content it relates to, while at the same time enabling the organic growth of the esports industry as a whole.
Game Publishers are busy, and often don’t have allocated resources for a live API. The GameServer SDK consists of a set of libraries that can be included directly in game server projects and utilised to transmit data during ongoing esports matches reliably to the GRID platform. This tooling is built with performance, security and ease of use in mind, fulfilling the core features games developers require in order to embed GRID’s technology inside a critical component in their infrastructure.
A difficult yet rewarding set of product-engineering challenges come from wanting live data APIs:
- Offering accurate, reliable and scalable data services for the wide array of existing and future esports titles, embracing their ever-evolving nature as they are continually extended.
- Processing and transforming raw live data points with as close to real-time latency as possible.
- Keeping APIs and the format of the data published as simple as possible for consumers to use, while supporting a high level of detail reflective of esports title complexity.
- Ensuring the overall system is fault tolerant such that failures can be handled without jeopardising the overall performance data integrity.
- Scaling to meet the demands of increasing esports content (more titles and tournaments) and consumers (more people using the power of live performance data as a foundation for awesome products / services).
Once these difficulties are overcome some amazing results can be realized.
Direct Data Feeds
GRID’s Direct Data Feeds are a set of APIs delivering various types of data, including:
- Up to date team, tournament and match schedule information.
- A complete set of in-game events, published in real-time as they occur throughout the match (e.g. a player completes an objective, or damages another player).
- Match state aggregate, an overall picture of the current match consisting of data points that are updated in real-time as each game progresses (e.g. how much total damage has a player done to other players).
- Predictions of how likely certain outcomes are (e.g. who will win the current game, who will win the next round?)
- Statistics and rankings for teams and players.
A set of Visual Products are available, built on top of the platform’s own Direct Data Feeds. These products are centered around the visual representation of detailed performance data in a way that allows for easy understanding and an engaging experience.
- Embeddable Widgets. Vibrant, live-updating, graphics that can be embedded on esports destinations, offering interesting insights into the unfolding action to interest and engage fans.
- Team / Tournament Watch Pages. A data-centric and customisable destination that can be used to enhance the web-presence of tournaments and teams.
- Broadcast Overlays. Enabling esports broadcast production teams to easily include more data content on their streams.
What esports has achieved in a short time frame in comparison to traditional sports is quite astounding. Imagine the exact second in real time a top footballer intercepts a pass; the precise location and all parties involved are sent directly to millions of fans’ second screen experience. It would be revolutionary. In esports, this is the baseline with the ceiling of such technology still unrealized. Esports data is on the GRID, and we want to welcome everyone to join us.