‘DOTA analytics’: Big data meets e-sports in software giant deal with Team Liquid

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2018 05:54 AM

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MANILA—SAP, one of the world's leading software companies, wants to make a dent in the professional e-sports scene when it announced last month a groundbreaking sponsorship deal expected to deliver data-analytics services to one of the most successful teams in the industry. 

Lars Lamadé, SAP head of sponsorship in Europe and Asia, said the deal would give Team Liquid cutting-edge tools to gather and analyze in-game and post-game data to improve the players' performance, and even scout opponents for the next matches. 

"For example, statistics on which (DOTA 2) hero [to use against a team], some kind of heat maps where you see the movement of the players of your own team and the players of the other team so you have an understanding of the strategy," Lamadé told ABS-CBN News in a Skype interview. 

SAP has been providing data-analytics services for the German national football team since 2013, even helping the team win the 2014 World Cup. The same technology will be used in the company's deal with Team Liquid, which is coming off a productive year, winning The International 2017. 

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As partners, SAP and Team Liquid will collaborate on machine-learning software that will allow players and coaches to predict the team's success rate in each match, said Lamadé. The software will also improve the team's gold collection. 

Victor "Nazgul" Goossens, founder and co-CEO of Team Liquid, said SAP's software would help his group maintain its success over the long run, but these first years of the partnership will still be experimental. 

"When I visited their offices, there's an entire SAP team in the presentation room and they said, 'We have something to show you that we worked on for 3 days.' And I looked at it and the software they were able to make in a short period that was really experimental was already incredible," Goosens told ABS-CBN News over Skype.

As far as DOTA 2 is concerned, Team Liquid is in contention in every tournament, said Goosens, as it ranks among the 3 best teams in the league. They are gearing up for the biggest tournament this year, The International, which will be held in Canada in August.

The Netherlands-based professional e-sports team is also competing in other e-sports games such as "StarCraft II," "League of Legends," "Heartstone," "PUBG," "FIFA," "Quake," "Rainbow Six," "Street Fighter," "Smash" and "Heroes of the Storm," among others. 

In the Philippines, top e-sports organizations have also been exploring the potential of data analytics. Filipino team TNC Pro, which currently ranks No. 14 in DOTA 2 worldwide, said it has hired a coach who can back them up in analytics. 

"All the statistics of a team in their professional matches are available online. This information can be accessed by anyone," Paulo Sy, TNC Pro manager, told ABS-CBN News.

He said TNC Pro, from a competitive standpoint, is very excited to see what SAP can bring to the still growing world of e-sports. 

The team is currently running a full Filipino roster in DOTA 2 as Candian Theeban "1437" Siva left the team 4 months ago. TNC is preparing for 2 big tournaments MDL Changsha in May and the China Super Major in June.

"I believe that we are better than before. But of course there's still a big room for improvement for each individual players and as a team," he said. "As for our fans, they can always expect us to do our 150% in all games."