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By Tricia Manning-Smith, SAP Contributor
Have you ever experienced that all-encompassing, consuming passion when you discover something you’re good at? Call it your “sweet spot,” “firing on all cylinders,” or being “in the zone” – when you discover your passion, hours pass as minutes.
Victor Goossens first felt it – that passion – playing video games in high school. “I played day and night, I wanted to do nothing else, until I was one of the better players in the world.”
Goossens soon launched his esports career and founded Team Liquid.
Like all team sports, building the right roster is paramount to winning trophies and keeping happy fans. Esport players must possess the traits of elite athletes: the speed of an Olympic sprinter, the endurance of a 100-mile ultrarunner, the team precision of synchronized swimmers. Just like their more traditional counterparts, esports athletes are also coached extensively, hone their refined motor skills constantly, and even eat special diets.
Yet, these days Goossens questions if passion alone is enough. “At what point has the magic ran out? How long can top players stay at the top, both mentally and physically? If our players are performing at 97%, they will not win their match. And that is what top sports and top competition is all about. It’s about the 1% to 2%.”
In attempts to find those 1-2% improvements, and possibly achieve GOAT status, Team Liquid turned to SAP technology and built a parallel team of passionate, tech savvy experts. “Together with our coaches,” explains Goossens, “we built infrastructure that includes data analysts and managers who are using SAP software built especially for multi-player games.”
Assistant Coach and Data Analyst Mathis “Jabbz” Friesel was among those new hires. When he joined Team Liquid a couple of years ago, he first learned how esports athletes think, how they react, how they incorporate their passion into their game play. “Players usually like to play based on how they feel – what feels best.”
Next, Friesel investigated like a detective to pinpoint that extra 1-2% player improvement. He identified the specific type of data gamers need and especially how to make it relevant in the moment. Instead of studying replays for hours, Friesel says analytics technology quickly sifts through enormous amounts of game-generated data. This time savings is especially valuable during fast-paced tournaments.
“Our analytics tool is based on SAP HANA Cloud,” says Friesel. “It’s very customized for our roster. With just one button, suddenly everything’s there for me. We personalize the statistics and info from the game in a way where the players can actually digest it very easily. They get a lot of information in a really short amount of time, and you’re immediately ready for the next match.”
The technology also helps Team Liquid players improve, by getting inside their opponents’ heads. “Thanks to the analytics tool, I do not have to choose which games are going to be important because every single official tournament match will be put into the database. I can then just filter out whichever games I need, or whichever teams I need, or even players.” Friesel credits technology for helping him see ways to exploit opponents’ weaknesses, by identifying things like enemies’ patterns and mapping during gameplay.
Analytics technology is a gamechanger, says Friesel, because it makes sifting through enormous amounts of gaming data simpler. “Our ambition is always going to be winning,” he says. “I can definitely say, thanks to SAP, it will be a lot easier.”
Team Liquid is a 2022 SAP Innovation Awards winner. You can read their awards pitch deck here.