Consortium including ESL UK and dock10 to create 45 tech focused jobs after winning £4m government funding for eSports innovation


Weavr, a consortium of eSports and production technology specialists, has won £4m of funding from the government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) body.

Weavr’s demonstrator project for UKRI will explore a cross-reality, data driven, personalised viewing experience for eSports.

The consortium consists of ESL UK, York University, dock10, Cybula, Focal Point VR, and Rewind, who will operate a £5.8m project over two years, £4m of which is funded by UKRI.

The ‘demonstrator grant’ comes from UKRI’s Industry Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of its “Audience of the Future challenge that looks to bring UK creative businesses, researchers and technologists together to create next generation immersive experiences.

Weavr will create cross-reality viewing experiences allowing fans to immerse themselves in high fidelity statistics, visualisations and data-driven stories that give them deep insights into a live match. It will enable them to seamlessly move between virtual and physical viewing, as well as use second screens to watch immersive eSports content on the go.

The use of AI and data learning to create highly personalised viewing experiences will also allow for interactive and individualised insights for the audience.

UKRI hopes this project will provide insight into how audiences of the future engage in immersive experiences and the pathways to future commercialisation.

ESports is reckoned to have a current global audience of around 380 million people.

“The UK eSports industry is growing rapidly, and ESL UK are right at the heart of its expansion. I’m excited to see how the Weavr project will create innovative and immersive experiences for eSports fans across the globe, helping to get them even closer to the live action,” said Margot James MP, minister for digital and the creative industries.

As part of the two year demonstrator the consortium will be creating 45 tech focused jobs.

ESL will be focusing on the overall project management, utilisation of their eSports events for proof of concept and the user experience feedback for those tests.

University of York will be bringing its expertise in machine learning, UX design, Human Computer Interaction and research into the convergent space between games, interactive media and TV to help sculpt the overall framework.

Dock10 will be providing its production facilities to help test the framework during ESL’s live esports events.

Focal Point VR will contribute its live 8k 360° video capture hardware & software, while Rewind is helping to create the VR and XR apps and environments for the viewer experience. Cybula’s performance computing clusters will be utilised for big data analysis & delivery.