Esports and Metadata: Unlimited Storytelling Possibilities

With the explosion of live streaming, increased audiences flocked to the world of esports. And with more demand for live and VOD content comes the need for better metadata-rich asset management and distribution capabilities.

By Phil Rossi | 01/19/22

The rise of esports has been incredible to watch. From its humble beginnings, esports has evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry, generating incredible assets that are multiplying exponentially. With all the metadata generated from various events, what will the industry need to organize it all? With a platform like Dalet Flex, the viral highlights, the stories behind these games and the champions who play them can emerge in plain sight.

In the last several years, esports has evolved from a niche interest, popular largely among teenagers, into a market spanning the entire globe with big audiences and even bigger productions. 26.6 million monthly viewers tuned into esports events in 2021, up 11.4% from 2020, according Insider Intelligence. And as esports continues to grow, global investors, brands, and media outlets are all paying attention. Feeding this interest in esports are the numerous stories generated not only by the games themselves and the quests and rich mythos that come with them, but also in the individual players themselves. Metadata plays more than just a supporting role in esports and broadcasting at large. Today, modern broadcasting and content streaming illustrate that metadata is both powerful and invaluable. Metadata is like gold! Nowhere is this power better exemplified than in esports where live broadcasts utilize metadata-driven workflows along with hardware and software integrations to create unforgettable productions. And with the right tools, terabytes’ worth of quality content can be automatically tagged, distributed, archived, and indexed for use by global teams editing and creating content in platforms like Adobe Premiere Pro®.

Better Production Tools Equals More Content

Digital production tools have been evolving in spectacular ways and, because esports already exists in the digital realm, there are no obstacles to entry. For example, no additional algorithms are required to convert on-screen/on-camera player actions into data. AI-powered scene capture and instant analysis of every action an athlete performs in esports is collected as metadata. This allows for dynamic visualizations of player stats, instantly generated and tagged highlight clips, and efficient remote production workflows. As production tools become more adept at utilizing metadata and workflows increase in sophistication, more assets will be generated. Cloud-based platforms like Dalet Flex use AI technology (such as Dalet Media Cortex) to truly harness metadata to create fully-indexed content libraries. These asset libraries can then be utilized by editing and production teams working remotely, from anywhere in the world.

Esports is All About Big Moments

The production value in a big esports event rivals that of American Football’s Superbowl, the FIFA World Cup, or even the ceremonies of the Olympics. These events often span multiple days and are a goldmine of assets and metadata.

The 2017 DOTA 2 tournament attracted a staggering 25 million viewers and 20,000 fans on site across four days. Electronic Sports League deployed their proprietary Echo platform—developed to leverage metadata in an effort to increase audience interaction and engagement—for this event. Evidence shows that metadata generated in real time when broadcasting the 2017 DOTA2 tournament had a profound impact on audience engagement and interaction. Graphics detailing player-performance stats effectively created a narrative around the competition experience and individual players, eliciting audience responses of surprise and anticipation through the four-day competition.

Two years later, the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, produced by Riot Games, showed just how far and hard the production envelope can be pushed and how innovation can pulverize the status quo. Riot pulled off a two-location remote production with the world feed being produced in LA, the English Language show produced at Riot’s European HQ in Berlin. Commentators across the globe had instant access to live stats and memorable gameplay moments thanks again to that humble metadata. Using the at the time new JPEG XS compression format, Riot games executed the first trans-Atlantic remote production in esports history. Astoundingly, the finals were produced and sent to 40 distribution partners around the world with just one OB truck onsite in Paris. It’s staggering to consider the volume of content and metadata that was generated just from this single event.

Literally thousands of hours of compelling video come out of these events with a mountain of metadata to match. And like with professional sports, the stories in esports don’t end when the confetti settles and viewers logoff. In fact, to be able to retell these stories in inventive ways is critical in maintaining interest in a digital world where attention spans can be fleeting and memories just as short.

Assets Worth Managing

With the array of software and user roles required to pull off a successful esports event, content may end up being stored on different servers and in different locations. Assets may have multiple permissions and there could be any number of file formats floating around as well. According to an article on FeedMagazine.TV, ad hoc in-house solutions can become fragmented. If editors, for example, are to execute tasks efficiently and across teams, assets need to be unified and available from a single source. This is where Dalet Flex can reduce these fragmentations, centralizing all this fresh esports content into a single, unified view. Integration with AI indexing tools, including Dalet’s own Media Cortex, help in the categorizing, indexing, and archiving of media. This not only creates meaningful interpretations of the pre-existing metadata, but also builds a layer of metadata that makes indexing and subsequent searches more intuitive and efficient.

Metadata excels in the way it enables us to consolidate assets, categorize information, and create robust content libraries. The Council on Library and Information Resources states “without metadata, a thousand-hour digital video archive is reduced to a terabyte or greater jumble of bits; with metadata, those thousand hours can become a valuable information resource.” Imagine that now, not only can a live clip of a player slaying a dragon for the big esports tournament win be displayed as an instant highlight, but video from multiple angles provided by in-game observer cameras can be tagged, saved, and indexed in an asset library to be later edited and sent out on social media or other distribution channels. What’s so important here is that the manpower requirements are greatly reduced, and more time can be using these memorable moments for post-event fan-engagement, branding, and promotion.

The scope of work required by esports can on be accomplished in the cloud. Cloud-based infrastructures and services are becoming not just more practical, but necessary for content access, storage and asset management as more and more employees across the globe are working remotely. The flexibility of multi-cloud platforms allows for optimal levels of security, performance and reliability, as well as business continuity and system redundancy. Given volume of content and metadata generated from an esports event, a platform with these characteristics is needed to not only sustain but to also scale operations as esports popularity continues to surge and productions get bigger and more complex.

Esports Will Only Continue to Grow

The growing global popularity of esports has brought about some remarkable innovation, in particular, the use of metadata to create highlights, stats, and enhance storytelling as well as pump out a mountain of content. AI-powered, cloud-based content management and supply chain platforms like Dalet Flex will undoubtedly see broader adoption in esports as this already large volume of esports assets increase. Associated access requirements, along with a need for seamless project hand-offs across time zones, require metadata-driven solutions in the cloud. Esports is forecast to gain more traction in years to come, and with that the demand for tools that can manage this content in a scalable and flexible fashion will increase as a result.

Curious as to how Dalet can help you in your esports video asset management and storytelling goals for 2022. No better time to level up than now.

Featured in: AI | Content Production | Content Supply Chain | Dalet Flex | Dalet Media Cortex | eSports | Media Asset Management | Metadata | Sports Content | Video Asset Management | VOD |

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By Phil Rossi

Guest blogger Phil Rossi is a professional business analyst, author, musician, digital content creator, and virtual reality evangelist. Over the last two decades, he has written several novels including two Amazon best-sellers and has produced multiple successful podcasts. Phil is passionate about the intersection between art and technology and the opportunities that it creates for story-telling.

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