SteelSeries might be changing the landscape of eSports coaching with the Sentry Eye Tracker
League of Legends. Starcraft 2. Dota 2. Those are the big eSports titles that are bringing competitive video games to a whole new level. To take their games to the next level and keep on improving, pro teams and players hire coaches and scouts to work with them. While this is a common practice overseas, just recently has that started happening consistently in North America.
SteelSeries is taking self-improvement and coaching, wrapping it up in a sensor, and giving players the tools and statistics to improve their game. Enter the SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker. At first you'll think that it looks like a hybrid of the Wii U sensor bar and the Xbox Kinect, but it's more. Like the name states, it tracks your eye movement. This is the lovechild of a partnership between Tobii Technology and SteelSeries, and it's acting as a visual coach that lets players track their eye movement, where on the screen they are looking, and comparing their eye movements with benchmarks from pro players.
Most of the emphasis is put on eye fixation, or how long a user is fixated on a certain area of the screen (which I believe is longer than .5 seconds). Fixations per Minute (FPM0 will track how often a player is moving his/her attention around the screen; the less fixations, the better, because that means you're seeing more and processing more. It will also track your statistics overtime so you can see if you're improving. Is comparing your statistics to yourself not enough? Compare your sessions to those of professional gamers, like Fnatic, who is working with SteelSeries.
Using the SteelSeries engine, matches will be recorded and played back with a bevy of information. In addition to showing benchmarks, you'll be able to see a curse of where your eyes are looking, as well as heat maps. There's a lot of different graphs and overlays that you'll be able to view to help you improve your game. Also, if every player can't afford their own Sentry Eye Tracker, a team can purchase one and then have multiple profiles in the SteelSeries engine. Each profile can save the setting and camera calibration.
eSports is the primary use for the Sentry Eye Tracker now, but in the future it could be used as an in-game controller. SteelSeries and Tobii are currently working on the ability to control games with eye movement. One example given to me was by looking at a corner of a screen, the map might open up, or you can access your inventory.
Some of the games that the Sentry Eye Tracker will work with at launch are Civilization 5, League of Legends, Dota 2, and Starcraft 2. Currently, there's no pricepoint in mind, but the SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker will be available later this year. It's a cool piece of tech that I think will change how we approach coaching and improving play in eSports, as it's providing statistical feedback and hard evidence of how you view a game.