Mobalytics raises $11M and adds eye tracking metrics to its automated gaming coach – TechCrunch
Back in 2016, Mobalytics enthused the judges of Disrupt SF with his data-based coach for the exploding, competitive game world and won the startup Battlefield. The company builds on the success of recent years with a new round of funding and a compelling new collaboration with Tobii that provides meaningful insight into player skills through eye tracking.
Mobalytics started with the idea that by using the in-game data of a competitive e-sports like League of legends (LoL) they could give players objective feedback on how fast or effective they are in different situations. The quantification of things like survivability or team play offers an analogy to similar measures in physical sports.
“An athlete has all of these measurements, like pulse oximeters, EKGs, and the 40-yard line,” said Amine Issa, co-founder and Warchief of Science. Not so much with PC games. Their challenge at the time was to convert the LoL API provided by Riot into actionable feedback, which the company’s success over the past few years suggests they did.
But Issa has always wanted to use a different, more direct, and more objective way of measuring a player’s mental processes: eye tracking. And last year they started an internal project to evaluate exactly that. in partnership with the eye tracking hardware manufacturer Tobii.
“When you know where someone is looking, it is closest to knowing what they are thinking,” said Issa. “If you combine that with the bigger picture, you can put together something that will help them. We spent six months researching, engaging players of different levels and roles and examining their eye tracking data to find some metrics around which we could organize the platform. “
Not surprisingly, there are traits of the highly skilled (and skilled) that distinguish them, and the team was able to summarize them in a number of traits that each player can identify with.
“We had to think about how we can build a product that people want to use. One thing we learned after TechCrunch is that even a simple score from 0 to 100 doesn’t work for everyone. You have to provide the context for this. With something like eye tracking, you get 30 data points per second – how can you break it down so that players understand it? “
Talking to professional players and coaches during the study helped them form the main categories that Mobalytics is now pursuing using a Tobii Device such as information processing, map awareness and tunnel vision.
“It is important to be able to tell a story to people. Suppose you are ganked a lot, ”said Issa, referring to the unfortunate event of being picked up by enemy players alone. “Why are you ganked? If your eyesight is high, but card awareness is low, this is one thing. Did you know all the information and walked in arrogantly, or weren’t you aware of it? The league is a very complicated game, so players in this particular battle want to know what I did wrong and what I should have done instead. “
This second question is more difficult (although AI MOBA players may have something to say about it), but the metrics are powerful in and of themselves. “Professionals are fascinated by this technology,” said Issa. “There are many moments when I had no idea. Coaches said these are my fastest players, but it’s cool to see that as a quantifiable variable. “
Tobii’s game manager Martin Lindgren repeated this feeling: “Pro teams are not interested in knowing what to do. They want the data so they can make their own conclusions. “
Tobii now has one Gaming-focused eye tracker and can be integrated into a number of AAA games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, where it can be used instead of fiddly aiming with the analog sticks. As someone who is particularly bad in this part of games, this is attractive to me, and Lindgren said that such opportunities only increase if game companies try to both be accessible and try to stand out in a crowded market.
The companies worked together to improve eye tracking coaching. For example, the number of games a user has to play before the system can accurately track their actions in the game has been reduced. Lindgren said the collaboration with Mobalytics was not yet complete – “definitely a long-term partnership” – in fact, Tobii’s relationship with the founders was older than their founding.
The ultimate goal of Mobalytics is to have a game assistant that adapts to your game and preferences and makes intelligent suggestions to improve your skills. It’s a way out, but the company has got the hang of it. It took a year to build the first product, the LoL Assistant, Issa said. A newer for Legends of Runeterra took three months. Teamfight Tactics lasted three weeks.
Granted, designing one for Valorant was a lot different than the other games as a first person shooter – but now that it’s done, much of that work could be done on a Counter-Strike or Overwatch wizard.
The expansion to other games and genres is the reason for the acquisition of a $ 11 million Series A led by Almaz Capital and Cabra VC and at HP Tech Ventures, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, RRE Ventures, Axiomatic and T1 Esports participate.
“It was a very different experience than after the TechCrunch, where you are in the spotlight and everyone throws money your way,” said Issa. “But we built a successful product on LoL that expanded to four games. Today we have over seven million active users per month. Our plan is to double the work for us and create the ultimate game companion.”