Where was that “Street Fighter” pro looking when they went in for the knockout?
Turner-IMG’s ELeague, for the upcoming Street Fighter V Invitational 2018, will bring player eye-tracking technology for the first time to a major fighting game esports tourney in broadcasts on Twitch and TBS.
ELeague has used eye-tracking before: It used a similar setup with multiplayer shooter “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” for the CS:GO Premier 2017 tournament last September.
Turner Sports, which produces the ELeague broadcasts, has hyped the eye-tracking feature as enhancing the experience for esports fans in a way that’s comparable to the virtual first-down marker in American football or the “K-Zone” strike-zone box in baseball.
Of course, not everyone loves such sports-broadcasting “enhancements.” although for esports the player eye-tracking overlays are still a novelty. In any event, Turner is hoping it will help bring in more casual esports viewers along with hardcore fans.
In the example image above, the two colored bubbles (a.k.a. “gaze circles”) each correspond to the location where one of the “Street Fighter” players is looking during the gameplay. The bubbles move as the gamers’ focus shifts.
What’s worth noting: The player eye movements will be featured selectively in the ELeague coverage. The eye-tracking overlays will not appear during live match gameplay – rather, the system will be used to enhance highlights during ELeague studio-analysis segments, which are being sponsored by Dell Gaming.
The ELeague eye-tracking feature uses micro-projectors and sensors supplied by Tobii Group, which has been pitching its tech to the video-game industry for several years. (ELeague also use Tobii’s tech for the CS:GO tournament last fall.) The system tracks each player’s eye movements and uses the data to create a visual of where the gamers were looking at specific points in a given match.
The five-week Street Fighter V Invitational 2018, produced in partnership with “Street Fighter V” publisher Capcom, commences Friday, June 1, at 3 p.m. ET on Twitch (at twitch.tv/eleaguetv). Subsequently, Turner Sports will air select matches on TBS on Fridays at 11 p.m. ET/PT each week. The tournament will feature 22 top “Street Fighter V” players from around the world, along with two amateurs who qualified from ELeague’s The Challenger: Street Fighter V, competing for a prize pool of $250,000.
“As esports continue to grow, technology presents unique opportunities for fans to have a window into the decision-making of these highly skilled pro players,” said Robert Occhialini, VP of esports products and technology at Turner Sports.
Formed in 2015, ELeague launched its first esports tournament two years ago with “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” and since then has featured other titles including “Overwatch,” “Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition,” “Dota 2,” “Injustice 2,” “Rocket League,” “Formula E” and “Tekken 7.”