What is Esports data?
Esports data covers all areas around professional gaming. As such it can consist of market reports but also live streams about Esports tournaments and matches. Esports data is nowadays used by companies targeting gaming enthusiasts with new products in order to make informed business decisions. Moreover, a growing betting industry for Esports and bigger media coverage requires live Esports data to feed real-time updates for their audience. Typically, live Esports data is collected directly from game servers or tournament organizers hosting the matches. Advanced market reports and forecasts are gathered using tracking mechanisms running on millions of devices around the world or by applying traditional market research surveys.
In recent years the gaming industry has seen an enormous increase of customers as well as a sharp incline in terms of viewership both online and offline. Esports events nowadays fill whole stadiums with people watching tournaments of popular games like Counterstrike, League of Legends, DOTA 2, Overwatch, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Starcraft 2 and more. At the same time, many data providers have formed around the world, creating sophisticated products around market analytics and live Esports data. They serve the growing demand to entertain and market products to gaming enthusiasts.
Who uses Esports Data and for what use cases?
Similar to physical sports, Esports have already attracted a sophisticated betting industry around it. Various platforms offer viewers to bet real money on who is going to win the next match but also more granular events like the next player to reach an important milestone within a match. This requires live data including the current odds. Before a match starts betting providers also have to offer pre-match odds based on historic performance.
Live streams of matches and historic results are a central resource for media outlets covering Esports or the gaming industry in general. Most Esports Match API’s offer a quick way to receive various match statistics and thus reduce the research time for gaming and Esports related media companies.
Every company that is in the market to create a new video game, gaming equipment or wants to target a gaming demographic for a specific product is dependent on accurate market reports and forecasts. Using those resources the marketing, sales and product department can make informed decisions on what steps to take next.
A new trend, which follows physical sports again, is the rise of fantasy Esports. Fantasy Esports platforms offer players to create their own virtual roster comprising real-life gamers. These rosters then get ranked on their real-performance, based on the matches they play in real life. Such platforms require match results, preferably in real-time to enable an advanced user experience. Esports data can provide exactly this.
What are typical Esports Data attributes?
The actual data points provided by the various Esports APIs can vary greatly as their providers focus on different parts of the industry.
Many providers offer general information about teams and their players as well as upcoming or historical tournaments. In most cases this information is also enriched with historical performance data on a per-player level, listing the scores and outcomes of each match a player participated in.
More advanced providers can also offer in-detail play-by-play data, including granular events that occurred during a match. On some plans, this data is offered in a live stream. In certain cases, providers are able to offer whole game replays that allow the revisit certain scenes of a match from different perspectives.
Based on the historical performance of teams and players as well as the events of a running match, some specialized vendors offer real-time APIs that supply pre-match or live odds.
In terms of market reports and forecasts, buyers can acquire information about game rankings, player engagement statistics and market forecasts based on locations, demographics, and genres.
How is Esports Data typically collected?
Most historical and live match data is collected directly from the game servers that offer reporting capabilities. As most local tournament game servers are not accessible through the internet, data providers require agreements with the tournament organizers, which can also provide tournament schedules in advance.
Market analytics, reports, and forecasts require an advanced infrastructure that aggregates usage statistics of devices and apps around the world. The raw data points are usually collected through software development kits (SDKs) that are included within software products that run on a device. These allow various tracking mechanisms to measure customer engagement that is sent to a central database.
Some market research companies rely on the classical approach of performing customer interviews with a targeted demographic for establishing reports and forecasts.
How to assess the quality of Esports Data?
In terms of data quality, the most important factor that buyers have to take into account is completeness/coverage. The available Esports data APIs cover a varying range of games and individual matches. Some only report on the matches by the most prestigious global Esports organizations while others try to deliver updates on as many matches as possible.
Additionally, Esports data providers that offer historical data should be evaluated in terms of data retention. Some offer data points that reach years back compared to some vendors that only allow access to data for the past year.
As Esports data is mostly based on hard facts like match reports, buyers have to evaluate closely whether the data provider of their choice has the necessary integrations or mechanisms to obtain this information.
How is Esports Data typically priced?
Esports data APIs are usually priced in three models:
- Monthly subscriptions either flat or per based on the number of subscribed games
- Tiered pricing categories based on feature sets and the historical data retention period
- Custom pricing based on individual requirements
Some Esports API providers offer a public pricing table where potential buyers can immediately see a transparent list of feature sets including the costs. Unfortunately, many providers only provide pricing information based on individual requests that can be sent to the respective sales department.
What is the #1 issue when buying Esports Data?
The main challenge of buying Esports data is finding a provider that fits in terms of requirements and pricing model. The various offers differ significantly both in regard to the offered data points and games coverage as well as the connected pricing model.
The already substantial and growing range of providers makes it hard to determine the unique capabilities of each as they are usually not immediately apparent from the respective websites. For many providers, the actual raw sources of the data are either hard to find or opaque. Buyers are only able to narrow down the number of relevant providers to a relevant shortlist by being aware of their required feature set.
What to ask Esports Data providers?
- Are my required games supported?
- What integrations do you have with Esports organizations and associations?
- What is the delay for live Esports match data?
- What is the retention period for historical data?
… and many more depending on your use case.