AI-Driven Overwatch Power Rankings Coming From IBM

by in Overwatch | Apr, 14th 2021

Thanks to the power of IBM, it sounds like we’ll have AI-driven Power Rankings for Overwatch! Power Rankings with Watson is an AI-powered way to evaluate who is doing what in Overwatch, instead of relying on fan support or any kind of bias. It is pure numbers, and they will determine who is succeeding and who is lacking. This will all kick off on April 16th, when the season begins. 

IBM and Overwatch Partner Up:

We’re excited to see this new Power Rankings system, completely driven by AI thanks to a partnership between Overwatch and IBM. Last year, the two parties came together to develop data-driven solutions for the Overwatch League, and this came via IBM’s AI “Watson”, as well as a cloud-based infrastructure. IBM’s also going to create tools to help the OWL process in-game data, which promises to be exciting.

IBM brings a new era of machine learning to the Overwatch League

Noah Syken, Vice President of IBM Sports and Entertainment Partnerships, commented: 

“Gaming and esports are the future of entertainment and we are proud to be adding the best-in-class analytics to enrich the fan experience. It’s a powerful demonstration of what’s possible with data and AI today. We’ve used many of the same technologies to drive digital transformation at banks or airlines, or retailers for years. But now, millions of Overwatch League fans are going to see what IBM Watson can do.”

It sounds like we’ll be able to get power rankings and accurate data while the matches are actually going on. Will this help predict who is going to win a match based on data? It’s entirely likely. As far as we know, this partnership should run through 2022, so we have plenty of time to see what the two can do together.

Jon Spector, Vice President of Overwatch Esports at Blizzard, added: 

“We’ve got really talented analysts that follow our players and teams, but there is so much happening in these matches — no human being could possibly observe and evaluate it all. We needed a way to capture and analyze every player’s move and feed all that insight into a ranking system that is totally objective and reliable. It is also a great source of conversation for our fans and broadcasters. Overwatch League fans love debating stuff like ‘Who is the best main tank in the world?’ The Power Rankings make that conversation richer and more fun.”

Jon hit the nail right on the head. There is so much going on in games like this at one time. AI-driven data for MOBAs would also be very interesting – say for League of Legends. Honestly, this is a really big deal for Overwatch. Having access to IBM’s powerful AI to do Power Rankings for Overwatch and other analysis tools, that’s major. 

It should mean we have reliable, accurate data for the Overwatch League, and unique fan engagement opportunities. Are people going to agree with the Power Rankings? Of course not. Nobody wants to hear that their favorite player is just doing poorly. This will help us see what teams are trending up, and who needs to figure something else out – other than just looking at wins and losses, anyway.


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