Australian Video Gamers Pitch their eSport Strategy App to Microsoft

Australian Video Gamers Pitch their eSport Strategy App to Microsoft
5k Decoy members Aaron Hunter (left) and David Donellan

Three students from the University of Adelaide in South Australia are developing a website app that compiles statistics and analyses gameplay for the online multiplayer game Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

The team, known as 5k Decoy, comprises of software engineering students Aaron Hunter, David Donnellan and Gavin Meredith.

CS:GO is among the most popular first-person shooting games in the world with more than 500,000 online players every day. Professional teams compete in multiple CS:GO tournaments with star players earning salaries and prize pots of up to $12m.

Hunter said the app would give CS:GO teams an edge over their opponents and help them improve their performance.

“We want to go a lot more in depth with statistics than just your ordinary kill to death ratios,” Hunter said.

“It will have fundamental statistics that you would expect but the app will offer teams more strategic depth – the mechanical and tactical elements of the game.

“While we will be targeting professional teams, we also want to create a version for casual players to be able to use. It will be more affordable and to a standard that is more beneficial to them.”

Electronic sports (eSports) have rapidly grown in popularity over the past few years and are projected to produce about $463m in revenue for 2016 at an annual growth of 45 per cent.

Tournaments attract ever-growing online and live audiences – last year’s ESL One Cologne event was watched by more than 27 million people on the streaming website Twitch.

The 5k Decoy strategy app will work on a subscription basis and give users contextual information such as location of the first kill of a round and the META (Most Effective Tactic Available).

“If we can allow players and coaches to understand where the first kill takes place and how that relates to the success of the round that is extremely useful,” Hunter said.

“When you get into a high level of competition you start to think about the META – the game inside the game. There are patterns that people tend to exploit.

“After developing this, certain things become more optimal and if everyone realises that same thing, they’re predictable. So it becomes a mind game.”

The app has earned 5k Decoy first place in the University of Adelaide’s Tech eChallenge award for 2016, winning them prizes valued at more than $20,000 – including a trip to Microsoft’s headquarters in the United States.

The Tech eChallenge is run by the University of Adelaide’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) in conjunction with Microsoft.

It is similar to the popular television shows Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank and gives entrepreneurs the chance to pitch business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists in the hope of attracting an investor.

Hunter said that while the app was targeted at CS:GO, he would like to eventually develop versions for other popular eSports like League of Legends, Dota and Overwatch.

ECIC Director Noel Lindsay said he was impressed with the ideas on show at the Tech eChallenge and was pleased to be partnering with Microsoft for the event.

“5k Decoy’s concept is yet another outstanding example of local innovation that has the potential to make a global impact, this time in the world of professional online gaming,” he said.

“This is a highly competitive market that is currently at its peak, so anything that helps to give teams the edge – and to do so legally within the terms of their competition – is bound to be welcome.”

South Australia’s capital Adelaide has three long-standing public universities, Flinders UniversityUniversity of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide, each of which are consistently rated highly in the international higher education rankings.