Esports matches are easier to follow with Major League Gaming's Eve tech

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LOS ANGELES — Watching an esports match is hard enough if you know the game well — and for newcomers, it can be impossible to follow along. New Major League Gaming viewing platform EVE, or "Enhanced Viewing Experience," aims to make spectating easier for both.

Though so far it's only been used on Call of Duty tournaments — owned by MLG parent company Activision-Blizzard — the league says viewers who watch on EVE end up staying for 40-50% longer than when watching on linear broadcasts like YouTube or Twitch.

Like with traditional sports broadcasts, EVE functions like an informational graphic that wraps around the gaming frame, rich with stats about the match, the the teams and the league. But unlike traditional sports, EVE is plugged into the game itself, allowing for real-time algorithmic analysis.

EVE debuted with Call of Duty Black Ops III and is headed to Gears of War 4, World of Warcraft, and all Blizzard epsorts in the future, including Overwatch

MLG is throwing its first ever esports festival in Las Vegas next month, which will include two $100,000 tournaments for Call of Duty and Overwatch. EVE will be available for the December 16 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare competition in Las Vegas.

Mashable spoke with MLG Co-founder Mike Sepso on what the future of EVE holds and how it may affect the way esports are consumed.   

Mashable: What gave MLG the idea for EVE?

Mike Sepso: The initial spark to innovate the viewing experience came from that idea that a lot of what was being done by people could be done with software. Users wanted more of an engaging experience, something more than a passive linear video. All of those things together kind of gave us the original idea for EVE. We've been working on it for a little over a year now and our initial tests are very good. One thing we found but didn't aim for was that even the core esports fan base really appreciated the richer viewing experiences. They tend to engage and watch longer when EVE is available. 

EVE on World of Warcraft

EVE on World of Warcraft

What are EVE's main goals?

The main goal for EVE is to provide a richer esports-specific viewing experience for fans. Our primary objective is to help new fans get acclimated more quickly. If you're not familiar with the game you're watching it's hard to understand what's going on, you're really only ever seeing a small aspect of the playing field so to speak. So what we've tried to do with EVE is take advantage of the historic and real-time data; so we can then use algorithms to come up with interesting insights faster than a human being could. We can also use EVE as a very rich scoreboard, displaying information that you're not getting visually or through the broadcast announcers. 

It's not realistic to watch eight or 10 different viewpoints at one time and it's not feasible for any single camera to encapsulate all of what's happening in one shot. We found that the broadcasters were actually more like sports radio than sports television, in other words they were really having to describe what was happening to keep the viewer in game. With broadcasters having to recall what you missed there isn't enough whitespace to paint backstories, create drama, and drive the players personal storylines forward. We wanted to alleviate that issue for broadcasters so they can focus more on the players and do more than just literally recount play-by-plays.

EVE used in Call of Duty Black Ops III

EVE used in Call of Duty Black Ops III

 Can you tell us a little bit about how EVE's situational insight algorithm works? 

We start by getting a big download of data from each games server. Then we take data specific to the teams playing in competition or their historical performances. The algorithms then get fed a live stream of gameplay as it's happening and pre-determines trigger events. 

Depending on the trigger event our algorithms will compare what happened against the database and provide some contextual information. 

Are we only going to see EVE on Activision-Blizzard games ... or is MLG trying to take it further than that?  

It's our intention to create an EVE for every esport title out there, we're willing to work with any developers who are open to it.

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