Microsoft's Bing Predicts engine is expanding its reach once again, as it will enter the eSports industry by trying to predict the outcome of matches in Dota 2's The International 2016.
In case you are unfamiliar with Dota 2, it's the spiritual successor to DOTA, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mod for Warcraft III that became a huge hit on its own. Valve, the creators of Half-Life and Portal, created the standalone game Dota 2 and it has become a massive hit on its Steam service, with over 1 million players online at one time during peak hours.
Valve has been holding The International tournament for Dota 2 pro players for several years now. The 2016 edition is being held this week in Seattle, from now until August 13. The winning team, out of the top 16 Dota 2 teams, will take home (and this is not a typo) over $8.8 million in cash, with a total prize pool of over $20 million up for grabs. The massive amount was funded by Dota 2 players themselves, via special in-app purchases.
In a blog post, Microsoft stated:
What sets Dota 2 apart from your typical sport (or eSports) is that team rosters constantly change. Players shuffle every three months, and because of this, it is hard for any team to stay at the top of their game for a year or longer. Even a few months can make all the difference.
To account for the frequent lineup changes, we built a predictive model that tracks team performance as well as the career performance of individual players, based on in-game features (gold per minute, experience per minute, etc.) and external features (win rate, etc.). Players who are strong individually may not collaborate well, and while it is difficult to predict it before the players are paired together for the first time, our model computes changes in key statistics for each player and each team after a roster shuffle to quickly update predictions.
So who will win The International 2016? Bing Predicts claims that the team that will come out on top is EHOME. We will see if the engine can correctly predict the outcomes of the matches this week.