The ESL-led Weavr Consortium has landed a two-year, UK£4 million grant from UK Research and Innovation, a public body run by the UK government, to support an upcoming broadcast initiative.
The UK£5.8 million project, which will create 45 tech-focused jobs, is geared towards developing cross-reality viewing technology that will display high fidelity statistics, visualisations and data-driven stories to provide added insights during coverage of live competitive gaming.
The new technology, which will enable fans to move between virtual and physical viewing, will be equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and data learning to create a more personalised, engaging experience for viewers. The insights gained from the project will then allow Weavr to demonstrate insight into how esports audiences will engage in immersive experiences in the future.
The grant was awarded as part of the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund, with Weavr being selected as the winner of the sports and entertainment category. As well as ESL UK, the consortium consists of York University, Dock10, Cybula, Focal Point VR and Rewind.
“At the forefront of an emerging and rapidly growing esports industry, we’re in a very fortunate and unique position to have insight in the live viewing habits and interactivity of young, tech savvy and early adopting audiences,” said James Dean, managing director of ESL UK.
“We’re ecstatic to be working alongside industry leaders across the Weavr consortium to pave the way for the next generation of immersive technology and, with UKRI’s support, to realise a framework for the future of live entertainment and sports”
Margot James MP, minister for digital and the creative industries, added: “Through a consortium led by ESL, the largest esports company in the world, and including leading academics and innovators across VR/AR, AI, data-driven content production and broadcast, Weavr will transform the experiences of millions of fans not only in esports, but in traditional sports broadcast and live entertainment more broadly.”