×

How IBM Is Using AI to Build the Future of Esports Casting

From The Masters to the U.S. Open, IBM has been consistent in its involvement in real-world sports. Now IBM is hoping to evolve alongside it, “as sports play time migrates from the physical playing field to massive organized, multiplayer video game competitions.”

This week at GDC 2019, IBM is presenting its artificial intelligence-driven vision for the future of esports shoutcasting. It’s showing how its artificial intelligence system Watson can be used to improve player performance in esports, and to create a better fan experience overall — what IBM describes as “sticky” experiences.

“IBM developers and open source experts are also developing ways to help gaming event promoters lure fans using enhanced video, and feeding important information to live commentators and the IBM Cloud is increasing global scale for developers and publishers,” says IBM.

“Esports is approaching a billion-dollar industry. It’s growing fast and claims some of the most passionate fans of any competitive activity — some events have attracted more than 100 million viewers. With growth that is impossible to ignore, traditional sports leagues are starting to make big investments in the space.”

IBM is doing this by leveraging the same technology as that used during the U.S. Open, it says. Watson scans through hundreds of hours of game footage and builds a dynamic highlight reel with A.I. in real time. Esports shoutcasters are fed this A.I.-curated data to tablets during the broadcast “to help keep on-air conversation lively and relevant.”

“The cloud is the backbone for scalability and better data portability,” says IBM. “To stay competitive, online gaming requires an ability to process complex graphic workloads while scaling without interruption. Game developers are increasingly turning to cloud technologies to enable them to build and deploy high-performance gaming platforms across the globe with the low latency players require.

“EA’s Firemonkeys, Exit Games, and LiquidSky are just a few examples of companies that have turned to the IBM Cloud to drive innovative experiences no matter where players are or what device they’re using.”

Developed in IBM’s DeepQA, Watson can answer questions posed in natural language. In 2018, it powered the U.S. Open for 10 million users with real-time in-game analytics, critical players stats, video highlights, and other competitive analysis. But, IBM’s Watson has been used for a variety of other, more game-related purposes. Its Unity SDK was previously used in the PlayStation 4 game “Star Trek: Bridge Crew,” which allows users to control their ships using voice commands.

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare

    Call of Duty League Commissioner on Why It's Time for a Franchise Model

    “Call of Duty” esports is officially headed for a city-based model. Publisher Activision Blizzard announced over the summer that the newly coined Call of Duty League will have a franchised, home-and-away structure immediately when it launches its inaugural season in early 2020. It’s set 12 teams in 11 cities, and the roster mania has already [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Switch Unit Sales Top 15 Million in North America Since Launch

    Nintendo is tooting its own horn, boasting that the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems have together sold over 15 million units in North America to date. That’s according to the company’s own internal data. As of July, the Nintendo Switch had sold over 36 million consoles worldwide, the company said. Nintendo Switch carries [...]

  • Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

    'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order': Respawn CEO on Telling the Story Behind 'Becoming a Jedi'

    When it comes to media properties, it doesn’t get much bigger than “Star Wars.” That sentiment certainly isn’t lost on Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The title, which follows Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis (voiced by Cameron Monaghan) after the events of “Episode III — Revenge of [...]

  • Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

    'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order': What to Expect From EA and Respawn's Latest

    There’s a lot riding on “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The upcoming title from EA and Respawn is the first major single-player “Star Wars” video game since 2008’s “The Force Unleashed,” and is one of the most anticipated games of 2019. After years of multiplayer adventures, could “Fallen Order” be the title that brings the [...]

  • Google Stadia Game Streaming Service Launching

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service Will Launch Nov. 19

    Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh gave us an update on the company’s game streaming service Stadia during the company’s fall hardware event in New York Tuesday: Stadia will be available to the public on Nov. 19. Stadia promises to stream games directly from the cloud, with no need to buy a full-blown game console. Consumers [...]

  • Fortnite Chapter 2

    'Fortnite' Emerges From Black Hole With All-New Island in Chapter 2

    After its previous world was sucked into a black hole, “Fortnite” is back — with an all-new island featuring a map with 13 different locations. The latest installment of the free-to-play battle royale game, which publisher Epic Games calls the first season of “Fortnite” Chapter 2, went live early Tuesday at around 6 a.m. ET. [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content