Having played competitively at a high level in both esports and traditional sports, my experience as a college athlete was far different than as a top Counter Strike player. When trying to play esports competitively, you are plagued with constantly changing teams, late teammates, and inter team disputes, which makes competing frustrating until you found the right group of people. We aimed to solve root of this issue, anonymity. Players are hidden behind their in-game usernames, with no tie to their actual identity. This allows players to change their name and “become” a new player if they want to reset their reputation. This possibility combined with a majority of players not participating in traditional sports that require commitment and respect among teammates has breeded a toxic culture across all esports. We aimed to solve this problem by reducing the time it takes to find reliable teammates and improve the tools that players use to communicate to avoid inter team struggles.
Evize solves these problems through a scheduling application and a team finding system based off of a proprietary accountability rating system, which gives background information on a potential teammate. We also aimed to implement a coaching overlay interface, which would make it extremely easy to integrate new players into an existing team, and would reduce wasted time teaching new players the playbook. Our interface would provide real time instruction to each player to remind them of their individual role within a play or strategy.
Due to our team’s technical limitations in developing the software for the coaching overlay interface, we decided to pivot to mainly focus on the team building side of our concept. We envisioned that our infrastructure could enable simplify the talent discovery process, and easily allow esports organizations to create developmental academy systems, similar to the structure of European soccer clubs.
Our first goal for the software was to reduce waiting times for practice sessions. From our research, teams waited between 30 minutes to 1 hour each training session before they got started. We aimed to cut this time to 15 minutes by implementing a flexible scheduling software that optimized practice times and allowed for players to quickly notify their teammates if a real life commitment interfered with a team meeting.
After conducting interviews with players, we found that our initial design of the scheduling interface wasn’t optimized for competitive gamers. Clicking each box to indicate availability was too tedious a task, and most gamers didn’t actively use a calendar service that they could sync to make it autonomous. We found that the optimal process was for users to initially set their default availability for times that they are almost always unavailable. If there was a change to their schedule that interfered with a practice time, the user would update their weekly calendar, and the team manager would be notified of the conflict. The team manager would be given the option to keep the time or be prompted to select a suggested time that would be as close to the original time as possible. The time change requests as well as tardiness would be factored into accountability rating algorithm.
Over two months of development, our team launched a functioning beta website for the initial scheduling software. On this beta, users could create accounts and teams, link account to steam, customize user profiles, set their default availability, add and delete events, and generate a calendar share link that could be sent to opposing teams for scheduling purposes.
We gathered great feedback from professional players and coaches, which would help us perfect the scheduling aspect of the site for a full launch.
While we gained exposure through venture competitions in Pittsburgh and attracted the attention of some VC firms, the core of the team could not continue working on the project at the same rate while still attending Carnegie Mellon. With a few competitors popping up in the space, the team decided to close the doors in January of 2018.