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Win Prediction in Multi-Player Esports: Live Professional Match Prediction

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Journal IEEE Transactions on Games
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Oct 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 19 Nov 2019
Early online date19/11/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Esports are competitive videogames watched by audiences. Most esports generate detailed data for each match that are publicly available. Esports analytics research is focused on predicting match outcomes. Previous research has emphasised pre-match prediction and used data from amateur games, which are more easily available than professional level. However, the commercial value of win prediction exists at the professional level. Furthermore, predicting real-time data is unexplored, as is its potential for informing audiences. Here we present the first comprehensive case study on live win prediction in a professional esport. We provide a literature review for win prediction in a multi-player online battle arena (MOBA) esport. The paper evaluates the first professional-level prediction models for live DotA 2 matches, one of the most popular MOBA games and trials it at a major international esports tournament. Using standard machine learning models, feature engineering and optimization, our model is up to 85\% accurate after 5 minutes of gameplay. Our analyses highlight the need for algorithm evaluation and optimization. Finally, we present implications for the esports/game analytics domains, describe commercial opportunities, practical challenges, and propose a set of evaluation criteria for research on esports win prediction.

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