• Weavr showcases first working prototype with esports
  • “Weavr is for the audience of the future”
  • Mixed reality merges with data for personalised viewing

Helena Kristiansson ESL One Birmingham

ESL: One Birmingham

Source: Helena Kristiansson / ESL

The UK government-backed esports innovation project Weavr has unveiled the success of its first working prototype which is set to enhance esports and sports viewing experiences.

Weavr is a technology platform that uses live and historic data to create meaningful and personalised mixed reality (MR) experiences for esports and sports fans alike.

The platform was showcased at an exclusive event in London last Friday with phase two ready to be rolled out at the ESL One esports tournament in Hamburg, Germany in October.

The Weavr consortium is led by ESL UK and includes technology specialists such as Rewind, Focal Point VR, Dock10, Cybula and York University in a focussed two-year project as part of the Industry Strategic Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Weavr claims to be unique in its high-fidelity predictive data analytics that enables esports fans accurate forecasts in real time.

The user interface is detailed yet easy to navigate offering customised and insightful details into player performances which is seamlessly integrated into the live viewing experience.

The consortium was founded in January this year after the UK government granted £4 million in funding to support the growth of esports broadcasting.

The grant was developed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a public body for innovation and research within the government and predicted esports to lead the technology revolution for viewer experiences with esports having the fastest growing global audience for live events.

After only eight months Weavr has been developed and successfully demonstrated as a highly functional prototype using third-party analytics and a bespoke viewing platform for esports.

Some 27,000 esports fans trialled and tested the MR platform at the ESL One Birmingham esports tournament in June.

ESL UK chief executive and Weavr chief executive James Dean said: “We’re so pleased with the fans’ reactions to Weavr so early in development. We set out to revolutionise the sport and esports viewing experience and we’re well on the way to that.

James Deam CEO ESL and Weavr

Far left: ESL and Weavr CEO James Dean

“We’re looking forward to working with everyone - fans, players, publishers and more - to keep the momentum up and keep changing viewing for the better”.

The team behind Weavr have developed the next-generation viewing platform based on audience habits that despite rapid advances to technology and performance data, viewing experiences have barely shifted in more than a decade.

While esports is the initial case study, Dean told IBC365 he expects Weavr to be adopted across the broadcasting industry and would become a popular accompaniment to traditional sports viewing.

He said: “Weavr is for the audience of the future, to provide that value, personalised, enjoyable and engaging content that is personalised with one-two-one narrative.”

Joining Dean at the press event was UK Research and Innovation challenge director for Audience of the Future Andrew Chitty.

He said the Weavr innovation project is the “first of its kind” and a platform that will “set the standard on research and development for the future commercial value to the UK creative sector.”

Executives agreed that esports is leading the way in creating new and richer audience experiences with significant commercial potential.

Chitty added: “The UK is home to some of the world’s leading digital and creative talent and new immersive technologies are fundamentally changing the way that creative companies can interact with their audiences.