IBM introduces AI-driven Overwatch League Power Rankings

Global technology and data services firm IBM has introduced Power Rankings with Watson, an AI-powered method of evaluating player and team performances in the Overwatch League

According to the release, the solution will provide a weekly automated ranking system utilised across the league’s digital, broadcast and social platforms. 

Image Credit: IBM

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Power Rankings with Watson is set to commence on April 16th, which is when Overwatch League’s new season begins.

Noah Syken, Vice President of IBM Sports and Entertainment Partnerships, commented: “Gaming and esports are the future of entertainment and we are proud to be adding the best-in-class analytics to enrich the fan experience.

“It’s a powerful demonstration of what’s possible with data and AI today. We’ve used many of the same technologies to drive digital transformation at banks or airlines, or retailers for years. But now, millions of Overwatch League fans are going to see what IBM Watson can do.” 

The introduction of a new ranking system is a part of the agreement made between IBM and the Overwatch League last year. The partnership announcement revealed that both entities will ‘develop various data-driven solutions for the league using the IBM Watson artificial intelligence and cloud-based infrastructure.’ 

IBM also promised to create tools to help the league process in-game data, produce more accurate ranking information and create predictive analysis elements for broadcasts. The deal is expected to run until the 2022 Overwatch League season.

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Jon Spector, Vice President of Overwatch Esports at Blizzard, added: “We’ve got really talented analysts that follow our players and teams, but there is so much happening in these matches no human being could possibly observe and evaluate it all. We needed a way to capture and analyze every player’s move and feed all that insight into a ranking system that is totally objective and reliable.”

“It is also a great source of conversation for our fans and broadcasters. Overwatch League fans love debating stuff like ‘Who is the best main tank in the world?’ The Power Rankings make that conversation richer and more fun.”

Esports Insider says: Having data giants like IBM helping with the development of tailored analytics solutions in esports contributes to improved accuracy of the retrieved data, as well as to richer fan experience and increased engagement. It will be interesting to see what other innovative solutions will the tech firm bring to the table. 

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