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PVP Live Wants to Make Following eSports Easier

eSports aren't as predictable as traditional sports -- and that's okay!

PVP Live

The professional gaming world likes to compare itself to the sort of sports you’d see on ESPN. Now a self-proclaimed “ESPN for eSports” is going to make a run at luring fans over from the non-gaming world.

PVP Live, which is launching today out of beta, will start by tracking the highest levels of competitive gameplay in three popular eSports: Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Riot’s League of Legends and Valve’s Dota 2. In an interview with Re/code, CEO Casey Wehr credited Amazon’s game-streaming service Twitch with lifting pro gaming out of its “public access television”-esque origins — but argued that there’s still a way to go.

“No one is building a regular season where everybody plays everybody, with consistent broadcasts leading to a championship,” Wehr said.

Rather than trying to reform the tournament system, though, PVP hopes to make it easier to follow and grok the often irregularly timed pro gaming events that happen throughout the year. In addition to aggregating news articles from websites like the Daily Dot and theScore, PVP has a data science team cataloguing and organizing data on nearly every “pro-level” (having a prize pool of more than $2,500, Wehr said) tournament for the games it tracks.

PVP has 100 percent of the data on Hearthstone, a game released last year, Wehr added; however, for League of Legends and Dota 2 the data is only “92 to 95 percent” complete due to obstacles like language barriers in China. If PVP can find an audience, it will try to work directly with game developers like Riot and Valve, which it does not currently, to better serve their fan bases.

“Developers have different outlooks on how they approach eSports,” Wehr said. “The core competency of a game developer should be developing games, and eSports is a marketing venture.”

While Blizzard has been open to outside partnerships as it builds up its eSports footprint, he added, Riot has historically preferred to control every aspect of the League Championship Series in-house, and Valve has tended to be hands-off except for organizing The International, an annual Dota 2 championship.

Also in the pipeline for PVP is a Sportscenter-like online video show, being developed with Production Resource Group, an idea previously tried by the American eSports league MLG. PVP’s seed investors include two figures from the “traditional sports world,” specifically the NFL and the NBA, though Wehr declined to disclose who they are.

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