- Microsoft to leverage biometric data in esports
- Cloud9 will seek to boost their competitive edge through the new partnership
- Microsoft to think on how big data can help gamers during competitions
Microsoft Heads into Esports with Big Data
After previously expanding in Australia with esports initiatives, Microsoft has found a new established partner from the world of competitive video gaming in Cloud9.
One of the world’s most valuable esports organization, Cloud9, and Microsoft will work on a thicket of analytical solutions that the Los Angeles-based team can use to improve their competitive edge.
Microsoft will create biometric data solutions similar to what sports teams use to improve their own game and bring it to esports. Speaking to the Washington Post, Head of Sports Technology at Microsoft, Mike Downey, had the following to say:
We are looking at a fast growing industry that is fairly immature on the competition side from a technology standpoint and, to us, that’s a field day
Biometric data will help companies better gauge reaction time, track eye movement and have a better understanding between hand-to-eye coordination, all of which can be worked on to improve the team’s performance.
Microsoft also denied allegations that by providing esports outfits with behind-the-scenes peaks the fairness of future esports contests would be stilted in favor of partners. Cloud9 is not currently competing in any Microsoft developed product for PC or Xbox.
From Sports to Esports
Microsoft has been investing in a number of real sports leagues and outfits, including The PGA Tour, NASCAR, NFL, and Real Madrid. Interestingly, each of these leagues, bar the Spanish soccer team, have branched into esports as well.
The PGA Tour and NASCAR are running esports events and competitions whereas the NFL recently teamed up with Fortnite creator Epic Games to introduce NFL-themed avatar skins listed in the game’s shop. Microsoft sponsored New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick in 2016.
Similarly, Cloud9 will have access to cutting-edge tools able to crunch a lot of data in real time and help coaches, management and trainers make the best decisions for their team. Cloud9 is currently competing in two of the most cut-throat esports, to name the League of Legends Championship Series and the Overwatch League.
Cloud9 Head of Commercial Partnerships Jordan Udko has commented on the benefits of the partnership saying that the team has “taken care of their bodies, given them access to great mental support and now it’s ‘how can we make them in-game beyond what they can see with the naked eye.”
Microsoft feels confident that it can help the team improve their performance by using the data scooped up during regular gameplay sessions. The company refused to flesh out the specifics as to how the connection between data and improvement will be made.
Both Cloud9 and Microsoft believe that the key challenge is to take advantage of big data, which players do not take into account to make decision. This will be the goal of the collaborating moving forward.