GRID has seen the value of data in esports since 2018 thanks to Founder and CEO Moritz Maurer's direct experience in the scene. Working directly with game developers, GRID is able to surface unmatched competitive game data from some of the biggest games like League of Legends, DotA 2, Valorant, PUBG, and Rainbow 6: Siege. GRID is leveling up the understanding of competitive player and match data for players, teams, esports organizations, and even the game developers themselves. With its Open Access initiative, GRID is democratizing data access to help improve the esports landscape for everyone. Join your host Devin Becker as he explores the present and future of esports infrastructure with Moritz Maurer.


We’d also like to thank Windwalk for making this episode possible! Windwalk builds digital communities and the technologies necessary to accelerate them through their flagship software, Harbor. To learn more, simply head to

This transcript is machine-generated, and we apologize for any errors.

Devin: Hello everyone. I'm your host, Devin Becker, and today I'm delighted to be joined by Moritz Maurer,the CEO and founder of GRID, a platform specializing in game data. Ritz has been around in these sports since 2012. And today we're going to dig deeper into e sports infrastructure and business as a whole, as well as in game data.

So could you just go over your background, the origin of GRID and what GRID does today?

Moritz: Sure. Hi, pleasure to be on your show, on this podcast. Yeah, I'm in esports for over a decade. Always been a player and a viewer. And really around the emergence of Twitch and it becoming big, I got very excited with a few friends at the time I set up a business that was called GGWins.

We turned out a few years later to be the first regulated esports bookmaker for esports. I ran it for a few years and learned a lot during that time. Mainly that my main field of interest was around the data and the analytics and predictive modeling for video games using the data and ended up exiting this business to Genius Sports, we might know as a large player in the sports data business.

And I spent roughly three years there and established them as a leader for the provision of odds and risk management for e sports, spend a lot of time tackling integrity threats and esports during my tenure there. including a lot of challenges that arose around skin gambling and Counter Strike and in Dota 2 that the first data rights deals and in esports really emulating the model around data being an asset and a rights holder being present in a sporting environment.

And while I had a great time there, I knew that my heart was beating for esports. And I learned a lot about the challenges that the data can overcome in our sport, both from a. Commercial and ecosystem perspective, but also technologically and ended up leaving and in 2018 co-founded GRID as a data platform specialized for e sports designed to create a type of infrastructure.

You need to handle everything from extraction, processing, and distribution of data. And in the last five years and coming up six, actually, we extensively worked first with a lot of tournament organizers, and then later with game developers, the game publishers. In unlocking the potential of their data for e sports and for competitive gaming as a whole.

So that means we are the business that works with these rights holders and is handling the monetization of official data rights to different verticals, and we also deploy our technology to source the data from the game server, do it at a super scalable fashion and have built a platform around it that is serving hundreds of integrations.

Commercial users and community or professional stakeholders in the ecosystem. And having been in e sports that long, it's very fulfilling. It's very exciting what we're doing. Data is a huge trend in e sports and in gaming as a whole. And we work with the likes of Riot Games and Ubisoft and Krafton and 80 other tournament organizers that exclusively trust us and work with our infrastructure.

And we have a large team and they're all quite passionate about esports and gaming. And it's always incredibly cool to be able to work with the games you love and watch and play, and to be able to contribute to that ecosystem, interact with different stakeholders and develop technology that aids the ecosystem, provides a benefit to players, to fans and to the guys running it.

So that's roughly what we're doing. And I'm excited for this interview.

Devin: Great. Awesome. Definitely. Let's dig a little more into the details though. Just real quick, because you talked a little bit broadly, could you give some actual examples? Like you mentioned some of the companies of what you specifically were doing for them and especially what is publicly viewable, right?

Because it matters if we can see the actual results of it as a viewer or as a player or as in the business itself. What kinds of things have you done that we could actually see, especially as a benefit to everyone?

Moritz: Yeah, sure. Data has, data and statistics are great to drive the accessibility of games and to drive engagement from a very educated audience.

So, if you see statistics on a broadcast if you see cool insights or predictions the chances this is powered by the data coming from a platform or different products integrated there. So we work with our partners to unlock experiences, make them more data driven. To make it easier for people to get into the game, follow the actions, and also cater to people who might've played a game or interested in it, but aren't actively playing anymore and not super up to date with the metagame.

If you do a good job around data and stats, you can make the game accessible to this type of the audience too. So they understand why something matters. Why was this a big play? How much did this move the needle? And then a lot more, not so much end user facing for professional stakeholders, What we launched with Riot Games two years ago for Valorant and recently expanded to League of Legends is running a competitor portal for data.

So one destination on a platform where all the teams and across all the top leagues can log in, get access to their data from professional games, but also for scrims they're playing in a super ring fenced environment. And this is ultimately helping them to work in a more data driven way. Work in a more professionalized manner.

And then lastly, there's a myriad of services on fan facing sites, on regulated betting operators, on other like audience engagement solutions that are requiring data to work. And we are fulfilling this needs of clients and 20 plus different use cases. For life and post match data.

Devin: You talked a lot about doing it for like professional teams, esports, things like that outside of professional esports and events Is this the kind of data the average player would be able to get to see like hey Here's how i'm doing not necessarily just in game stuff But out of game or if they're looking to get coached things like that.

Is this Accessible that kind of data for average players or just this is oh this is for the events?

Moritz: For now the majority of the use cases is still very much esports centric But the infrastructure we've built was built with a vision to have a game data infrastructure layer for the entire game. So we're scaling towards that and a few games, which I can't disclose yet.

Unfortunately, we're very much close to getting this done. And the vision is that ultimately this data can be available to anybody in the community, also for their own games. We believe, or more than believe, we know that there's so many super passionate and talented people in e sports and in gaming. And we've seen firsthand, if you make more tools available for them, and if you give them access to data, they will build cool stuff.

And it doesn't mean that all of this turns into a massive commercial product on the line, but it's, it could be the special project. It could be someone running a league with their buddies and they want some stats on it, making all this available and empowering the players. Ultimately, this is part of a vision.

And we, in our team, there's a lot of careers I can point at that started exactly doing something like that, not having access to data though. So we're trying to create a reality where this is possible now. So the next wave of innovation has access to data in a well supported environment and in alignment with the rights holders, because game developers care about their players and their community massively.

And we're also doing this in a time where the creator economy and UGC are huge trends. So solving the data challenges for all of the participants in that as well. Is what's great vision tries to solve.

Devin: And so, you're talking about solving all these problems for these game developers, but with game developers, having access to a lot of data analysts and use tons of data to work with, as well as like even data scientists and analytics tools, why do they need or want to use like an outside service as opposed to just rolling this stuff up themselves?

What benefit does that provide?

Moritz: Take, this is a great question. If I take you back five years when we were. way tinier, and we work mainly with e sports there and with tournament organizers. I looked at game developers as these billion dollar software houses. I thought they must have, as you say, all the staff, they must have data and APIs completely figured out.

It's perfect. And we just get to tap into that. So I think in 2019, we first started to work with Krafton for PUBG. And other game developers, smaller ones at a time. And we figured out the infrastructure layer to source the data from the game. And also more importantly, which is what we do in a platform to map it to a game title, agnostic format, which has a lot of benefits for the downstream users.

This didn't exist yet. So building out the infrastructure for the game, we use our SDK, but ultimately. There's a lot of ways you can get to the data. It's important that you do it in a way it doesn't induce any latency. You want to capture the full granularity. It has to be very easy to manage. This is the challenge that became larger.

And there's not so many games who have completely serviced build APIs, because at the end of the day, game developers focus on creating the best games in the world. They have a massive opportunity cost on putting their staff behind. Solving the challenge. And even if they wouldn't build it in a way that has, I think, the largest benefits for downstream users across multiple different game titles, because e sports and gaming is a very fragmented, diverse space, many different genres, games playing across different platforms, heavy regional, cultural differences to it.

So navigating this and coming up with a solution to make sense out of all of it is complex. And the reality we're trying to create is that there's some kind of a uniformity around data formats and how it can be accessed, which makes it way easier for people to build with it, to develop cool stuff and to use the data in a scalable way.

Devin: And I think the benefits to end users are pretty obvious, right? Like it's getting access to all that data that they would have otherwise, because it's private in the game or in database, things like that. What though, does it do to benefit the game developer themselves? Like, why would they be excited to actually expose this data?

Obviously like when it comes to e sports broadcast, that makes sense to be like, Oh, it's a benefit to them to broadcast that. But in just in general, opening up. Data like is, it sounds like a scary thing. Like what's the main benefit to game developers?

Moritz: It does sound like a scary thing. And 10 years ago, it is something that was like hermetically sealed and still the reality of some developers, but in the light of the trends I mentioned earlier, we live a bit in a time where in gaming, empowering the community is what many people try to do.

Games as a platform is a new concept. You look at things like UEFN and how the future of games is being built and is a lot more community driven again. If you think along these lines making more available to a community isn't scary, actually. It results in a larger benefit. Game developers, I'm thinking about timeshare as well.

How many hours a day can someone actually play the game? Are there other ways how they can interact with my IP? How they can, yeah, how they can engage with the worlds that they've created. And if you have more people who want to center their career in it, it's not only interesting for, Talent acquisition is, it's also in general, just driving more engagements.

So giving them more tools to do that is, is beneficial for the game. It drives more long term engagements and the relationship to the game you're working with, and it's a level of exposure that you can't achieve otherwise through other marketing means or try to get people to just play and watch more.

Devin: And obviously like esports organizations, for example, are going to benefit a lot from this because then that's a lot of data that they get also, things that they can share both internally and externally with partners, things like that. But do you think there's a huge variety of esports organizations out there?

Do you think this? Sort of having all this data benefits more. So organizations that are better say better funded, things like that, that can afford to leverage this data better, like even data mining it, just doing a lot more having that data

Moritz: On the side of, let's say like e sports organizations, like on the tournament organization side, we've proven that, data and distribution of official data is another commercial channel to tap into, especially in the times like, I don't like the word, but people call it e sports winter.

It is great to have a reliable, scalable revenue channel to rely on. And this is something we've proven already with this large network of partners and tens of millions in revenue generated for esports ultimately. When, with your question pointing, I think a bit more to teams, the division to making this data accessible to a larger audience and creating a bit of a base level of access to data and stats and analytics is designed to create a level playing field, the teams that are better funded and already invested in analytics and maybe even have their own staff for it, or working with third parties to do it, they inherently benefit from it too.

But the starting point for anybody wanting to engage with it is now granted. This was the vision of Riot Games behind launching the portals for both their games, and it's great. Teams are using it a lot. They're working with the data and the idea is that there's not a huge difference when it comes to the analytics angle that a team can play between one that is super well funded, has been working on this for years and teams that are getting started.

So like in order to achieve that also, we're heavily investing into making it more accessible, even if they don't have an engineer who can create an integrator API, working for products that visualize the data better. And then having a natural language input to query data are all ways to break down barriers for people to start to engage with it and use it for their benefit.

So creating a level of playing field ultimately is the vision.

Devin: As a company that has essentially trend built around something that seemed to be lacking in terms of e sports in general, what are some other like unfilled gaps in e sports infrastructure or technology that still need to really be taken care of or just would help popularize or better monetize even e sports?

Moritz: Yeah. In general, if I take comparison to sport, it took years off. Technological advances on computer vision, tracking technology to get super granular data from the pitch in e sports, if you think about it, a sport digital by nature we shouldn't have to do that. It is all there. There is a perfect data source somewhere.

This is something that excited us. That's part of the vision. So looking at that, the use cases for data, like when we started, we thought it was still massively underutilized and I think we're on a good trend. To catching up. But ultimately I see e sports should be able to overtake sport and in what you can and the ways in which you can leverage data to improve experiences and also make a monetization more robust and also more exciting or engaging at the end of the day.

So I think there's certainly still gaps to fill. Our mission as a platform is just trying to get more gains into this official data ecosystem where there's hundreds of businesses working with the data. There's other cool people just building with that. And once you enter that, you can see that an ecosystem can grow for your game with people innovating in areas like broadcast innovation, coaching, talent, scouting, and anything else that matters for your community.

And that is inherent value. And from there. Over time, exciting new projects will arise. And we're the platform. We often excited with what people come up with ultimately, which is very cool. It's not that I can point to something where, yeah, this is a gap that has to be closed. I think the most exciting things will come from just people coming up with good ideas.

And there are many good ideas and there's a lot of talented and passionate people in e sports, as I said before.

Devin: Hopefully you can continue to share some of those good ideas so that people can build them if you guys can't, right. Just that technology. But I do appreciate that. Like it's a. The business model in a way is helping potentially enable other businesses build up around this data.

Obviously like Partnerships and things like that matter. But you mentioned traditional sports and that's something that's like a typical point of comparison and obviously the basis around what the idea of e sports generally is, but there's obviously a lot of differences between the two. And I think some of those maybe contribute a little bit to some struggles with how to figure out how to both run and make money around e sports.

What do you think are some of the important differences between those two things and what maybe could be improved from the two?

Moritz: I think that a core difference is. No one owns basketball in the way that League of Legends is owned by Riot Games. So there's a super rights holder present in all of this. So aligning with their vision for the competitive scene, I think is vital if you want to succeed in esports.

And then also there's only a few companies who have transitioned from seeing esports as a little marketing gig or let's say prolonged marketing arm for their game. To actually running it like a business and setting it up with a proper professional ecosystem behind it. And these are the ones that are succeeding also now where it's not a, it might just still like, and the net balance still be an expense, but it has a robust structure.

There's integrity behind it and there's reliability. And then you create something that makes it possible for people to get into it and have a future there. So these investments by large game developers are obviously vital. And over the past few years, we have seen the emergence of franchising different models for how to run that.

And some of it you could argue was experimental and not everything succeeded, of course. So I think we're undergoing a bit of a correction at the moment, but the models that will survive after that, and there's probably a lot of consolidation coming as well, they will be. A lot more future proofed than the ones that emerged a few years ago.

So I'm generally very optimistic about where we are and think that there was a bit of a hype time and now it's a bit of a focus on sustainability and sustainable growth for e sports and this forces people to be more innovative, reiterate their business models and come up with ways to make it work for the long run.

And that's all in all, that's good. And it's healthy.

Devin: And then talking about business models, taking something like you, you mentioned trying different ideas that were franchising some of these other organizations, stuff they're trying to borrow from sports. I think a big example of that was say the Overwatch League, right?

Which tried to very directly borrow a lot of elements from traditional sports. And that doesn't seem to have worked out. Do you think that's something that had to do with the format or the expense or whatever? Or was maybe just the game itself and not necessarily related to a lot of the structural issues around it?

Moritz: The structure, let's say the structure, how it was set up, maybe it could have worked. I think the amount of investment into it very early on created a certain expectation and a bar that the game had to meet. And maybe that was set unrealistically or way too high. And that then creates a very tough context for the game and the ecosystem to perform against.

There's other examples. If you look at Rainbow Six, where you could argue that without such a massive investment push. Through simply the community liking it, it grew slower, but it grew with a way more solid foundation. So I don't think you can force e sports and the model there was definitely very bullish and then the game itself also having issues and all of that coinciding this probably would lead to a bit of its demise, but at the same time, they bring it back, let's see what they do with it and I don't think it's over for the game at all.

The model I had was, I don't think, working for the game at the time. And there's always a lot of factors that contribute to it. In general, if you think about esports, all the largest titles were often even created at first by the community or community mod. So if you build something that people like or you follow where the hype is, I think these are the competitive titles that have been doing well since then.

There is a recipe for success there, I think. And I'm, as I said before, I'm very excited about the new creator economy and games coming outside of other games. Some people will have cool ideas for a gameplay that is just so much fun that people can't get enough of it. And then you have the next Fortnite moment happening out of that, and maybe even a new genre being spawned.

This is something that excites me about esports, that the potential for this to happen is always there. And fast as a business, it's actually, it's creating a huge challenge, but we're trying to be at a point where we're ready for that yet. For that moment to happen and that our infrastructure scales with it in a way that we can support these games a lot earlier in the development cycle, or even while they become a big thing and develop a competitive scene.

Devin: Yeah. You have a couple of examples that I think are perfect for this question, which is around whether or not you can just make something in e sports game. It seemed like clearly spending lots of money was one way that. The Activision Blizzard was trying to push Overwatch, not that they didn't design it to have some esports in mind, but it seemed like originally it was designed with a casual audience in mind and then switched over to being, let's make this an esports title, right?

Whereas you mentioned Rainbow Six, which was intended to be an esport from the get go, right? They had tournaments during the beta. They tried to really push it that and they also spent it spent maybe a little more reasonably at the beginning and it definitely struggled at first and they just kept going with it, but they were very insistent that it could be e sport and it wasn't like a community thing that drove that.

It was definitely Ubisoft driving that from the top down. Do you think that's a viable thing where it's just that's a long shot at best for most companies unless they really feel like they've got something special or it's. built off of a concept or a community mod that already has shown some success in the market.

Moritz: And Rainbow Six is a great example. I've just returned from Sao Paulo from SI and being there like shout out to Brazilian fans and e sports is pretty, it's amazing actually, the energy that was there and it was a pretty historic as either they broke a bunch of. Records on the viewership side, there were amazing storylines at the tournament.

I think even someone proposed on stage, you had twin brothers playing against each other and the grand final was perfect. And during the event, also they released updates for the new e sports plans and the game. And it's so cool to see that e sports is a place where the community directly interacts with the game developer.

And how they're going to change the ecosystem and change the game. And I think they're capitalizing really well on that. Yes, they had to push it. And there's a massive investment of Ubisoft behind making that work and getting it off the ground. But I think they didn't force it in a way like that happened with these, the franchise needs for Overwatch.

I think that was a bit different. Ultimately, I, yeah, I think they've just done a good job and listen to the community. Over years. And then they built a very strong core that really wanted it. And then it really picked up growth wise.

Devin: Having worked specifically with Rainbow Six, for example, and it sounds like you were probably involved in the event down there.

I know they've been a company that tends to try and push some data out for the game. More so maybe at the events, but also still in the updates and things like that. Have you guys been a part of helping bring some of the data of the game out? And what has the impact that you've seen from that, or at least the reception?

Moritz: Yeah, we work as official data partner for Rainbow Six Esports with Ubisoft and started last year at the Atlanta Major, I think was the first tournament we covered. So we've set up data infrastructure to handle the distribution and power a lot of other services for that game. So for Esports it now has a fully serviceable API and we're making this available to our network and the community and we're working with them to, Target a lot more use cases down the line.

Also supporting the competitive scene in similar ways, like we're doing it in other game titles already. And yeah, you're right. They have invested in a data stack and they have great teams behind it, managing it for their own purpose. I think they've just announced that the event that they want to use data to also detect cheating automatically better.

So this is to, to your example earlier, this is a company that understands the value of it. Has invested behind making it work and the working of us to expand the use cases and. Make everything more scalable and servicing larger areas of the ecosystem with a data product. And this is where our value proposition helps them and they're awesome to work with.

And again, the event was so amazing. It was a really good experience.

Devin: You mentioned that the data around cheating and things like that being used for detecting this sort of thing. Obviously, Probably not so much at a big LAN event like that, which other ways of looking at that, but when it comes to looking at data, that's more broad, like in terms of just average players playing or average cheaters cheating in those situations.

Now, the, they originally did have. Data driven statistical driven stuff for banning players at the beginning and that ran into its own set of problems Especially with pro players being banned for just being too darn good at the game good stuff like that, right? And now they've come back again saying they're going that direction again after having switched to battle life For example as their main focus and focusing on the client side as they switch back to data and as a data company shelf Do you think some of this is to do with things like machine learning AI?

Sorts of things making it so that data now can be maybe a bit more meaningful or just use for a couple different purposes. And do you think there are some other purposes for using the data besides just eSports or cheating or typical coaching? What are some broader ideas for data usage, especially with machine learning or AI developing and possibly enhancing that?

Moritz: Yeah, so the emergence or emergence is the wrong word. I think the increased accessibility of tools and the whole AI trend we're seeing. Is making it a lot easier to do something with data and also to, to validate an idea around doing something quicker. So I think getting to an MVP around something you want to build with data has never been as easier and has never been less costly than it is now.

Which is awesome because it empowers more people and gives them more reasons to look at data. So cheating detection is obviously one. Another thing, if you think about. Like large scale data projects is around game balancing. It's vital to understand how your metagame is shifting after you introduce a patch or significant changes in your game or release a new map or a new operator in Rainbow Six's case or that type of agent or hero in other games.

This is where having another, having the data available first of all, and then also having the ability to look at it and understand how it changes things. Is great. One to verify what you try to achieve with your changes. And then two, to assess the impact to your gameplay and how it's evolving over time.

I think this is super important because if you then work with the feedback you get from your player base and you can see if what they're complaining about is maybe, I don't know, not based on a large sample size, actually not true in the data, or you can find that pattern very much in looking at the numbers, then you can work in a way more informed way.

And that's exactly what we're aiming to make available for the game developers working with us.

Devin: We've seen a lot of controversy lately too, around feeding data to AI. And for example, scraping places on the internet for things without permission. So like that. Obviously, if you guys are working on exposing potentially data that's internal to a game, is there a chance, or if you've already even had experience doing this, of taking this data and then feeding it to machine learning or AI models?

Is that something you guys have done? Or is that a concern for game developers that, hey, like this data now being available, now all of a sudden that could be used to train things or to data mine a little more automatically in a way that they may or may not permit.

Moritz: Yeah. So, a few examples, we have this big AI trend around LLMs, but AI and machine learning has been around before.

It just wasn't as hot. Yeah. We've been using machine learning on the predictive modeling side since day one, basically, that was pretty normal. But there we speak about delivering predictions and turning data into information that can be used for broadcast innovation that has relevance in the batting space and so forth.

This is naturally something you do with the data. Yeah. Feeding data to AI models is, there's a lot of challenges around it. One, you want to use official data for it, especially in light of the scraping and where the data is sourced, the ownership aspect around a data asset is very much top of mind for everybody involved in this.

And also if you would take player data anywhere, there's GDPR concerns of top of that, GDPR is a huge topic for game developers, of course. So this is not happening now. And this is not what we're aiming to do. But there are obviously use cases there. I think this is still like emerging in, in what the right model is going to be and how the value chain should be set up properly to facilitate this.

I think game developers are naturally cautious around that and going too fast, but I do think it's a challenge that is very manageable. In a very similar way, the work we're doing on distributing data to like regulated betting. It's been speaking with regulators, informing parties involved, establishing a standard and aligning with the goals of the rights holders and the game developers to do it in the right way.

These things take time, but you can get them right. And if you do, yeah, you find alignment along the value chain and something that's done in a way that they maintain control over their IP, which is vital. There's a commercial consideration for them in the value chain. And ultimately still the unlocking a lot of benefits for everybody.

Devin: Cool. I guess we'll wait and see what ends up happening with that. Because as you said, you're trying to enable other business models potentially to exist, but at the same time, maybe not if they're going the wrong direction or dealing with things like GDPR and breaking potential in any kind of regulations or anything out there, especially on the gambling side of things.

But switching gears quite a bit here, I want to look at platforms in general, right? So, like a majority of eSports, at least what we're seeing with a lot of games, tends to take place on PC. Despite console and mobile actually being pretty big audiences and huge player bases depending on the demographic or geographic area, why do you think having console and mobile really become the staples that you think there'd be, especially with mobile being a much broader audience.

And also looking at that from even a data perspective, is there anything that data may have to say about that in terms of exposing that data? Because a lot of people go, is, does anyone play mobile e sports? And so is there a lack of data there or infrastructure, things like that, just from both angles in terms of why those platforms maybe haven't reached that level.

Moritz: First of all, for us, it doesn't make a difference of a Game is played on your phone, on a console, on a PC. We're pretty agnostic there. So I'll say a question on the ecosystem side. Mobile esports is huge. It's massive. And I think there's obviously a large regional bias towards mobile. The, in, in Southeast Asia, there's massive games are very successful.

And it just has to do with the demographic generally playing more on their mobile devices. One thing that I'd like to share an anecdote. I think about pub G. PUBG Mobile is absolutely massive, but it turns out from an esports perspective, yeah, they're watching PUBG Mobile championships, but the mobile player watches PC esports too.

Because it's, I don't want to offend any mobile players, but you could argue it's a bit of a more refined version of the game that you get there. And maybe the gunplay feels a lot different too. So, you always have that going for these games, especially the ones that are like the mobile spinoffs, that it still brings a lot of engagement back to the main title.

Devin: Yeah, I was going to ask about that. Do you think the continued push for mobile ports, especially on first and third person shooters, like, Call of Duty, obviously there's the Call of Duty that exists now, but Warzone's coming out, I think, by the end of the month. You've got Valorant Mobile coming out at some point, Rainbow Six Mobile, which I guess just got pushed a bit into later in the year, but this year in general looks like a lot of that stuff happening.

Do you think that will make a difference in this? Like you said, obviously, probably the PUBG PC players aren't watching Mobile, but Mobile's watching PC.

Moritz: Yeah.

Devin: Does this help shift that a little bit? It was a niche thing when it was Call of Duty and there was a bit of Call of Duty leagues, but if it's every single game getting these ports and then getting a lot of support, especially if they monetize well, I imagine the company's supported them quite a bit.

Is that going to shift the landscape or is it just pretty much it's a, it's an arm of it.

Moritz: I can result in a bit of a shift and I think it can elevate mobile esports. Like I, I remember I was in a, an inshore like five years ago. It was around like visiting worlds back then we were in a studio, an OGN studio watching a mobile, I think it was Kings of Glory.

And at the time I found that there were three guys like sitting on their gaming chairs in front of an empty desk. But the stadium was packed. People loved it, but I always thought it looks a bit funny. Since then, mobile esports and how it's produced, it has come quite a long way. And. I personally, I don't play it, but if you just see the gameplay, it can still be like, this can still capture massive audiences, of course.

And it is exciting. So maybe back to the concept of timeshare, will these mobile versions of the games you just mentioned, will they change what the player base is doing? Will you also be able to play the game? I don't know, while you're on the way to work or sitting by the pool and will this change how you watch e sports down the line?

I don't know yet, but we, there's certainly a lot of large move to it and the mobile offers different ways of monetization. So I think it makes sense. And overall, if it helps the ecosystem to grow for specific game IP and through this kind of cross pollination, it unlocks a larger user base. I think it's a really good thing for eSports ultimately, and it doesn't mean that the mobile version of that game as a segment has to be a success on its own.

But overall, I think it might bring a larger audience and more accessibility to the game titles because many of them have quite a regional focus by now. And so I think it's really good, but I don't have a clear answer or prediction on what is going to result in.

Devin: It does make me wonder at the, you talk about the, when the mobile would watch the PC, a lot of these games, both on mobile and PC will often try and integrate eSports more into the game client.

So it's like promoting what's going on with eSports, sometimes even integrating a bit more with Brawl Stars, for example, tries to add a lot of elements to make it so that you can feel like you're participating in eSports in some way by like voting on teams or whatever. If they were then promoting, Hey, I'm on the PC game, but then into the game client, it's promoting, Hey, there's a mobile tournament going on that you can watch and vice versa.

It does make me wonder if that could actually make a difference with it, just because ease of acknowledging that the other one exists, but it's something you mentioned earlier around sort of ownership of these different e sports and whether we're calling them e sports or like individual games within a broader e sports category.

Looking at traditional sports, they've lasted many generations, many decades. Some are newer than others, but in general, once a sport establishes itself, it doesn't usually go away. It may wax away in popularity, but doesn't really leave. And some of that student, these being essentially folk games, right? No one really owns the sort of basic rules of the game, but there are still companies that own sort of their specific implementation of the game, whether that be through an organization or just a lot of trademark and brand awareness stuff.

Obviously in the game side of the video game side of things. Yes, this is a specific video game run by a specific company, but then like you have the idea of genres maybe even being something that's a category, but looking at like the longevity Of these games. The idea of these lasting multiple generations and things like that are even becoming essentially like folk games you could be playing with your friends.

We see stuff like, CSGO and Dota have lasted a while but Starcraft 2, for example, has died off to an extent. Do you think These games naturally have a limited lifespan of some sort that's maybe within a single generation and that really depend on constantly changing the game and keeping it refreshed and really micromanaging it from a company standpoint.

As opposed to, CSGO and Dota which maybe are a little bit more hands off and maybe even treated more like they're community oriented. Or do you think it's maybe even sometimes a genre thing like Starcraft 2 as an example of An RTS genre game that RTS isn't really that big anymore. Whereas like Dota is seem like the evolution of that where MOBA has become much more popular as a spectator sport.

Do you think that could be a factor or is just these games come and go?

Moritz: Okay. There's a few things I think at first, like StarCraft, it started with StarCraft for me. And Korea, arguably the birthplace of e sports. It's the culture that they created around StarCraft specifically wasn't just fascinating.

This is what really excited me at the time and the emergence of StarCraft as an eSports was just awesome. I'm a big fan of RTS games in general. I'm a big believer in Stormgate, you might have seen it as a successful Kickstarter. And I think there is some fresh wind in the genre and there's also other games coming up.

We are, we're hoping That these new games will make what is an amazing genre for esports and for competitive play It's like RTS games are so fascinating from a balancing perspective too and strategically once you get into it It's awesome to watch. The thing is to get into it. These are also pretty hard and You play 1v1.

It's all on you in a mobile if you lose it could just be your team But in, in RTS games, you really test it. So there's a, these are all like little bit of the barriers to entry. So what I hope is that these emergence of games that have the potential to revolutionize the genre, they make a lot more accessible, and this will also revive RTS as an e sport genre, which I'm not saying it's dead.

I'm just saying it's very stagnant. There is a hardcore user base that followed the last 20 years, and they will for the next 10 years, and then their kids will too. It's just how this works. Dota is arguably a bit similar in the diehard audience there. I'm thinking a genre can innovate to become more and more watchable.

When Battle Royale kind of started out, it took a lot of great companies to do a lot of work to make the viewing experience good enough to watch because it's so hard. There's always something going on. There's the potential to miss a lot of actions. Players and teams take on such a large map with so many actors and so many files at the same time.

When a round based FPS, this is just generally lot easier to get right and to convey the excitement. And also that the game itself is just simpler, new genres, like if you think about an in turn based strategy or auto battlers is something that also emerged. Battery also just emerged out of nowhere, and it's huge now.

So I'm looking forward to seeing new genres being spawned. I think the cycles in gaming and in eSports are just shorter than in sports. And I think that's okay. And also this was one of the challenges I faced when I was a genius sports data infrastructure in sports is built in a very static way.

There's like roughly 15 sports that matter. Maybe they'll add pickle ball to the list or paddle for the in Europe for the sports that matter if it becomes unpopular, but at the end of the day, they also don't change the rules every month in a massive way. It's not going to be like in football or soccer for you they're not going to introduce a third goal and another team playing and 15th player out of nowhere, the stuff doesn't happen.

So you can build stuff in a lot more static and a lot more vertical way. You would never create a visualization or predictive model for baseball with the hopes to reuse it for basketball later. But when we started, especially, this is how we were thinking about the games. Build stuff in a super game title agnostic way to make sense of it.

And what, where I'm going with this is I think we want to lay a foundation that when the new genre comes, it will be super easy to jump on it, to create fan facing applications so that all the sites that cover e sports can cover the game properly, have access to statistics, to visualizations, and that the stakeholders in the competitive ecosystem are empowered and can work with data.

It's a big part of setting up a professional ecosystem ultimately. And this is how we do things on the platform. We have very few game specific data points. We just look at a bunch of mechanisms that happen in games like kills, structures, items hero or class system. And when we look at a new game, we go into this box of Legos and patch together a syntax for that game title from that.

So this was one of the main reasons why I had to ultimately He's genius and set up GRID because there was a vision around doing this right and the sports way just wouldn't work. And this is just so true across so many things and also business models in, in, in e sports that you have to understand how the games work and how this industry functions.

And it's just way more fast paced and it's ever changing by nature. That's also exciting. It keeps things fresh all the time.

Devin: It does sound a bit like you were talking about making everything kind of game specific to each individual game. But in general, it sounds like maybe there's some merit to thinking about a genre the way you would baseball versus football in a broader sense of like most MOBAs are same enough that it's almost like different leagues.

Of that where it's like League of Legends, league in the name there and in different MOBA might just be considered under MOBA almost as if it's different regional bass baseball organizations or things like that. And we did have stuff where people tried to make big variations like the XFL.

Obviously that didn't super work out, but that idea of we don't change too much outside of the genre. So for example, from a data perspective, a MOBA is pretty much a MOBA. Like you're, I don't think you're going to have to change too much about the type of data you're tracking. Same with most first person shooters.

You're tracking kills, deaths, assists, and maybe objectives and rounds. I don't think, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but it doesn't sound like the data really actually changes too much within a genre to where it's like, Oh, if it's another thing in the genre, we're already ready pretty much to support that because it's pretty much the same in that.

And maybe that is part of what makes a genre is the common elements, right? Do you see, for example, any. More like other genres emerging. A lot of these genres came out as sub genres, right? Like MOBAs came out from RTSs and things like that. First person shooters are still pretty much first person shooters.

They haven't changed that much. But do you see anything like that's been emerging in other new genres that might come up? And do you have any data that actually helps assess anything around like popularity or emerging genres? Or is it really more just like competitive data only?

Moritz: It's just the, it's the in-game data.

And you can think about a competitive ecosystem for you. So the game as a whole. It doesn't make a huge difference. What changes is what the data will be used for ultimately, but you're right. If we add a new FPS on mobile game, it's incredibly seamless at this point because all the data points that we need to make sense of it already exist.

And that's great. And the huge benefit is for the downstream user. If someone is using a platform already has built something with Counter Strike or, and they want to do it for Valorant now, that's incredibly seamless. I can literally change the game ID in the API and they're probably good and their stuff will work.

But you mentioned that, like you spoke about Rainbow Six before, and I know it's a game close to your heart. The utility aspect of that game is so vital and it's also super exciting. So. This is one that prompted us to really go a lot further in, in figuring this out. The maps have the free dimensional aspect is a lot heightened compared to other FPS titles.

So thinking about visualizations, how to make sense of the map is different. So there's always new challenges that arise, but this is ultimately what we signed up for, what we want to solve. So I'm not actually complaining about the challenges coming from that. Do we have data to predict what is a new genre?

I don't know. And not really the, I wouldn't say I would say basically we focus on creating frameworks that can adapt to changes and new things emerging in the most efficient and scalable way possible. It's hard for us to go into the data and figure out whether a genre can be successful or not, or a new game type emerging.

We just hope that they're, they remain to a large extent compatible to what we have already. So it's easier for us to get something off the ground when the game becomes popular. Which eSports can happen overnight.

Devin: Many game developers hope that, right? That's definitely the dream. Definitely sounds like though, even for the successful ones, a lot of times it wasn't as overnight as we like to think of it.

It was more, we became aware of it overnight, but it had been worked on for quite some time. But it's something you mentioned earlier as well, I think is a big justification behind data and infrastructure, especially real time. Infrastructure for data in a competitive scene is this sort of relationship between sports and e sports and betting or fantasy, which is kind of fantasy being almost considered sort of the evolution of betting in a way that it's more complex in terms of data usage, because it's not just.

It's like how many points did this individual player make or how many times did he die is starting to really get it more granular and do a lot more with the data. What do you think overall about the sort of relationship between traditional sports and eSports with betting and fantasy outside of just obviously some of the more unsavory aspects of it, especially when it comes to driving data, driving technology.

in these things because it pushes a monetary reason for people outside of the game developer to care about it.

Moritz: Yes. No, you're in the yes. So just a few months after I set up the business, passport repeal happened in the US, which really ushered in a new age and massively changed the view on wagering in the context of sport.

So yeah, fantasy is more complex, but also all these super intricate things you can also do on a live betting perspective. This is The current reality in like more established betting strongholds, like in the DC in Europe already, you can bet on almost anything. Esports lends itself incredibly well to betting because there's a lot going on in these games.

There's a lot of kind of quickfire market types you can derive from it. What I like about the betting use cases once. Yeah, it's super exciting and it's happening on most games anyways. And this is also a whole, the trends there, they, and sometimes actually almost run a bit independent of a game's popularity.

There can be just games that are just great for wagering and exciting to watch and people like that element to change their experience and then how they interact as a viewer. But what I want to say is this is one of the use cases we got right very early. Having done this in the past, we knew what bookmakers need to do it, right?

We knew how to adapt regulatory code that existed for sports to e sports to avoid integrity threats. Again, the role where data is actually paramount for the monitoring and investigation around, around that protect the sport ultimately. But if you get the betting use case with a data solution, you There, there is no nothing else where the scrutiny on the quality, accuracy, speed, and granularity of the data is as high as it is there.

So, if you get that one, you're probably positioned to support any, anything else. Cause if you screw up your customs, literally lose money. So this is good because it sets the bar super high for you have to work. And then the future proves whatever you've built in being very robust and very reliable for anything else you want to do with it.

And then lastly, betting occurring and then occurring in different ways. It's important that it's regulatory betting or betting in regulatory, in regulated environments especially through skin gambling, which was probably at its peak around 2016 there's still a lot going on, but a lot has changed since then because there's even ways to do this properly.

But when we think about betting, we want to position it as a benefactor to the sport and not a risk factor and not something that detracts from the community and the experience of the fans with the game. And that's super important. And this is a large part of what we figure out with the rights holders that are on our platform to do it right for their game and regulated in the right way.

So, they're comfortable with it.

Devin: Awesome. Definitely. I imagine a thorny subject to even deal with from your side in terms of dealing with lots of lawyers, regulators, different laws in different territories, things like that. Not a very easy, trivial thing to deal with, but definitely necessary, right?

Because people are going to be doing it regardless. And like you said earlier, Getting accurate information and stuff is better for everyone. So it's definitely important there. Lastly, just what do you see over the next five years for esports in general? What do you see happening? Where do you see it going?

But maybe with more of a sort of slant on the technology, the infrastructure, and how that sort of drives things as opposed to just popularity, for example.

Moritz: Yeah, so we spoke a bit about it earlier, seeing a bit of a correction in the esports ecosystem. What I foresee also, not just anticipate, but hopeful is that we think about eSports and its growth more from a sustainability angle.

I think there were a lot of massively inflated valuations around the team side and so forth, and it is hard to make sense of these valuations if you compare them to the current reality. Of these organizations at the time and that leads them to a situation where this is found to implode or if they need more money, it's very hard to continue to justify the investment.

So with the little correction we're happening, I think we're going to see more sustainable and more proven models being the focus. Being a tournament organizer is tough business. Engaging your audiences after your event is hard. There's a lot of examples there. You can see one, for example, with blast trading blast TV, thinking more about how can we build a destination for audience?

How can we set ourselves apart? How can we have more long ranging engagement with our fans and with our community, this is exactly what I think will prevail and it's better for everybody involved and then. From a tech side and infrastructure, data is a huge trend. It's great for us. We have to specialize in it.

We see more games embracing it and thinking about what they can do with it. Thinking about the community. My dream future is really where anybody who wants to build something with it can have the tools that they want at their disposal and then powered to do it. And they don't have to think about how do I source my data?

Do I have to scrape it or whatnot? Not in the first place, they can think about the idea. And then this also coincides with this large AI trend and making developer tools a lot more accessible than ever before. So I think it's exciting and we're going to see an accelerated pace on the innovation side and new models coming out that yeah, faster than before.

We're here to support it and I'm excited for where the ecosystem is going.

Devin: Where can people go to see the results of some of the stuff you've done? Obviously, like when you're, just seeing this stuff at an esports broadcast, something like that, you may not really know, but like right now, if you wanted to go out and see the kinds of data that you're pulling out of games, good examples and good uses of it, where would they go to see that?

Moritz: Generally, it can start on a website, I also want to mention we'll be at GDC in two weeks. We'll have a stand there. So if you want to see all of that working in real time and how we integrate with games and how we can set up an API, all of this will be available there. And lastly, I would say like on a website that you can find the GRID open access initiative besides a large footprint of commercial clients with supporting pre revenue startups or small passion projects or scholastic initiatives for free with access to our data.

And we've seen an incredible innovation from this running hackathons regularly. To empower people building cool things and specific use cases. If you like, if you're a player, if you're a viewer or you want to get involved, we've created a starting point for that. And if you just want to have a look at the data, there's a way to get on it and then sign up and have access to it.

And we try to create an environment as well supported with coding or script examples, a little code playground, even for anybody who might not be that deep into that to, to have a way to play around with it.

Devin: Sounds like maybe you should run some hackathons at GDC. Can we build some stuff on top of this data if you can, right?

Moritz: Yeah

Devin: That kicked off.

Moritz: For next year, for sure.

Devin: Definitely. Cool. I want to say thanks for coming in. It's definitely great talking to you. I think there's a lot happening in this industry. So it's good to get a perspective from the data and infrastructure side of things. As I imagine, just based off what you said, that's going to be pretty critical going forward.

Because obviously we are a very technologically driven company. Like just business in general, when it comes to e sports compared to traditional sports, which is getting there, but definitely great talking to you. And I definitely look forward to seeing. You have a GDC and anyone out there, hopefully can get a chance to check that out in person or at the website, as you said, GRID.

gg good place to check it out. So thanks again for somebody in great conversation and thanks everyone for tuning in.

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