Narrative Bytes: Data-Driven Content Production in Esports

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Esports - video games played competitively that are broadcast to large audiences - are a rapidly growing new form of mainstream entertainment. Esports borrow from traditional TV, but are a qualitatively different genre, due to the high flexibility of content capture and availability of detailed gameplay data. Indeed, in esports, there is access to both real-time and historical data about any action taken in the virtual world. This aspect motivates the research presented here, the question asked being: can the information buried deep in such data, unavailable to the human eye, be unlocked and used to improve the live broadcast compilations of the events? In this paper, we present a large-scale case study of a production tool called Echo, which we developed in close collaboration with leading industry stakeholders. Echo uses live and historic match data to detect extraordinary player performances in the popular esport Dota 2, and dynamically translates interesting data points into audience-facing graphics. Echo was deployed at one of the largest yearly Dota 2 tournaments, which was watched by 25 million people. An analysis of 40 hours of video, over 46,000 live chat messages, and feedback of 98 audience members showed that Echo measurably affected the range and quality of storytelling, increased audience engagement, and invoked rich emotional response among viewers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTVX 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781450351157
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

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  • Content Production
  • Data-Driven Storytelling
  • Esports

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