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Mobalytics is on a quest to create the ultimate gaming companion app for League of Legends. And today it is launching a new version so that players can figure out how they’re playing and what they can do better to master the game.
The Santa Monica, California-based Mobalytics rebuilt all its core features with an “extreme” focus on quality, speed, and performance, said cofounder Amine Issa in an interview with GamesBeat. That’s pretty gutsy, as millions of players use the tool.
Issa was obsessed with high-performing athletes, and he studied them as only a statistician would. He extended that study to esports players. In 2016, Issa cofounded Mobalytics with Bogdan Suchyk and Nikolay Lobanov to build the “Moneyball of esports.” They participated in that year’s TechCrunch Disrupt event and won the Startup Battlefield contest.
Creating the GPI
The company created its Gamer Performance Index (GPI) platform to measure a player’s performance in League matches. It analyzes the data and gives the player insights and recommendations for how to improve. And it provides that info in an easy-to-understand dashboard. The system uses in-game data for players that is available through publisher Riot Games’ applications programming interface for League. Operating with Riot Games’ application programming interface for data, Mobalytics was able to raise $11.25 million last year.
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Now the company has refined its user interface so that the information is all in one place: champions, profiles, live companion, and more, without switching between tools. With the newly updated product, Mobalytics focused on convenience. It delivers info to you automatically before, during, and after the game.
It has an upgraded Live Companion feature with support for the popular All Random All Mid (ARAM) player-vs.-player mode in League of Legends. The Live Companion has improved speed and stability, an OP in-game overlay with helpful insights and notifications.
“There was always a standard for measuring performance, right? You have all the numbers like K/DA (kills, deaths, assists),” Issa said. “There are a bunch of different stats that people look at but they don’t necessarily provide tremendous amounts of meaning and precision.”
He added, “There are a lot of different ways to track the performance of players. So our goal was to create the Gamer Performance Index (GPI) and make it a standard for understanding player performance. We built out the platform four years ago, and we had a bunch of players playing League of Legends and we used that data. And over time, we kept iterating and improving it. And we started to work with Riot Games. And in the last year was we became the visual data partner.”
As it was creating its GPI, the company had to pull back and think more about everyday players, rather than the highest-performing esports athletes, to design a product that helps everyone.
“Not all the people are willing to focus and spend too much time on improving,” said Suchyk. “They just want to win their next game. For the last two years, we have been developing our product to transform it into an ultimate gaming companion that uses a lot of data in the background. But instead of giving you the data to digest, we’re trying to use this data to recommend specific small things that you can use during your next game.”
New and Improved GPI
Players can also see a cleaner way to assess their skills and see their progress. In general, it’ll be much easier to find out strengths and weaknesses, and track the ups and downs of individual skills. Progress Tracking is now within the GPI.
Mobalytics said it wants to assure players that challenges will only help them win more and improve skills one game at a time. It will also get rid of some features like dashboard, progress analysis, and player comparison. In the coming months, they will either transform or be replaced by something bigger and better in the future.
Players get additional information available while they’re playing and then afterward assess their overall performance. It also helps players understand their performance during the long term. It will suggest which characters or roles you need to play better, or practice more.
Finding the best amateurs
Mobalytics also helped Riot Games’ League Championship Series to develop a new amateur ecosystem with the hope of closing the gap between amateurs and professional players. The hope is to use the data tools to help uncover new talent for esports.
As for finding new talent, no single stat stands out as the best. But the games are complex and one player who is good at one role may not be good at another.
“We try to look at the data more holistically,” Issa said. “Like how you do at a particular role and what the data says about your level of aggression.”
The company will focus on the player who has the best stats for a particular role and highlight that. The GPI makes use of eye-tracking metrics, as the best League of Legends look at parts of the screen very efficiently to absorb information and figure out what to do next.
“We use eye-tracking to tell their map awareness and how well they’re making decisions around the information they’re receiving on the map,” Issa said. “And we index that. And that’s been especially useful to pro players. The problem with something like that is that for us to heavily index on it, as it doesn’t offer that much benefit to our mainstream players because not many people own eye trackers yet.”
Issa said, “League is a very complicated game. Stats are highly contextual, depending on the role and the team’s actual performance during a season.”
Expanding to new games
During the past year, Mobalytics branched out and added overlays to help players with Valorant, Legends of Runeterra, and Team Fight Tactics. Issa wants to expand to more games, but the latest update for the League of Legends companion was important to do to satisfy the current users.
The company has about a dozen people in Santa Monica, but many of its staff are distributed around the world in places such as Australia, Ukraine, and Russia. All told, it has less than 50 people.
With data on four games now, the company plans to expand to other games in the future. The pattern among most of the great games is that they’re very easy to get into but the mastery curve is long and deep, said Suchyk.
“Providing a tool that acts as a companion and helps them is a win-win for everyone who wants to enjoy a game but doesn’t necessarily have the time to master that game,” said Suchyk.
Riot Games understands the importance of the data because it is sharing it with companies like Mobalytics. It can predict who might win a match, but it isn’t focused on predictive technology for gambling purposes.
Mobalytics has its own challenges finding what it calls game experts. These are people who are really good at the game and can thoughtfully articulate their expertise in a game and feed that information to Mobalytics so that it can sift the data and provide insights. It also uses machine learning and data scientists to figure out how to access the relevant data and provide that to players as quickly as possible.
“It’s very hard for machine learning to understand a new champion and rate its strength,” Issa said.
The bottom line: Good decision-making is what wins all games, Issa said.
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