Growing up, gaming never felt like it was that important to anybody besides us. But playing games was deeply formative. My co-founder Anhang and I still remember every late night, hosting marathon LAN parties to play uninterrupted Dota just so we could beat our friends the next day. We remember waking up our families with the furious clack of our keyboards, relentlessly practicing combos until 5am. For a long time, Anhang and I felt like gaming was made up of just a few pockets of people like us who were passionate about a game. But today, it’s clear that we’re not alone.
With more than 2.3 billion gamers worldwide, it is an exciting time to be a gamer. One of the biggest things driving that growth is the explosion of player vs. player, online multiplayer games like Overwatch and Fortnite. Over the last two decades, these titles and others like them have fundamentally changed the way games are played. You used to beat the game itself, following a linear storyline with predetermined outcomes. But today, you’re up against the rest of the world, playing in a hyper-competitive arena with dynamic conditions and infinite possibilities. Real-time decision-making is now the most important aspect of every game, and the most important skill for every gamer.
Despite this massive shift, gamers are still sharpening their skills the same way they did back in the GameBoy era. When gamers wanted to improve in 1999, they would buy a Nintendo Strategy Guide or print a hundred-page walkthrough from GameFAQs.com. Today, stats-tracking websites, text tutorials, forums, and gameplay videos have managed to digitize that type of content, but no one has purpose-built a product that matches the complexity and quality of today’s games — games that are dynamic, non-deterministic, and infinitely replayable. For gamers, it’s like using printed maps in a GPS world.
That’s why we built Visor. Visor is a real-time game data platform that powers a new category of intelligent, in-game experiences for the everyday gamer. Deep down, we built Visor for ourselves, a team of passionate engineering, design and product people whose mission is to reinvent the way we all play games.
Our mission is to reinvent the way gamers play
For the first time, gamers can now get powerful in-game insights and instant performance feedback while they play. Visor uses an intuitive combination of overlays, visual alerts, and audio cues to surface actionable information at exactly the right time so players can improve dynamically — without ever leaving the game. Having this level of insight means that gamers can adjust, learn and improve during a match, before it even ends. Visor helps gamers of every skill level understand and take control of their gameplay so they can have more fun playing, whether they win or lose.
To make this experience possible, we built a real-time engine that analyzes every single frame of a game as it’s happening, and surfaces relevant information back to the gamer at any moment. Like a second brain, Visor remembers each gamer’s play history, understands every event from the current game, and provides feedback incorporating this context. After just one match, Visor starts calibrating to the individual, tracking longitudinal performance within a match to identify exactly when a gamer is under- or over-performing on critical in-game metrics.
From a technical perspective, we built Visor from the ground up to be flexible and game-agnostic. This means we can pull data from –and push data to– any endpoint, for any game, with minimal latency. Instead of using publisher APIs, we developed custom computer vision and machine learning models using some of the most advanced techniques available today. This approach not only allows us to be extremely precise in the experiences we create, but more importantly, allows us to quickly extend Visor to any game. And the first game we’re starting with is Overwatch.
Visor for Overwatch
Our team has been developing Visor over the last year, and began testing an early prototype for Overwatch several months ago with /r/overwatchuniversity. Since then, we have worked closely with the Overwatch community, rapidly shipping new features and improving Visor.
If you’re one of the thousands of early Visor users who have been with us on this journey, thank you so much for your continuous support and feedback. In the spirit of developing Visor with you, today we are excited to open early access to Visor’s beta for Overwatch.
The new Visor is a lightweight, downloadable client that runs in the background when you play. Just launch Visor and then play Overwatch like normal. It will automatically activate when you start playing and deactivate when you stop.
We are excited to see all of you don your Visors for Season 11. You can get the new client now at www.visor.gg.
Building a gamer essential for the next generation
At our core, we are building for the next generation of gamers, the ones growing up with Twitch on their living room TVs and $100 million dollar prize pools for Fortnite. Our hope is that Visor becomes an essential part of the way this generation plays games.
That is why we are laying the foundation to do more than just help gamers improve — our mission is to continuously reinvent the way they play. We believe that by bringing a real-time platform to gaming, we’re opening the door for gamers, streamers, viewers and publishers to create a whole new category of real-time experiences.
As such, we are excited to announce that we’ve raised a $4.7 million Series A round of funding, led by Accel with participation from Y Combinator, Afore Capital and NextGen Venture Partners. A group of outstanding angel investors also joined the round, including Ruchi Sanghvi and Aditya Agarwal (via South Park Commons Fund), Paul Buchheit, Paul Levine, Jeffrey Rosen and John Graham, among others. It’s an honor to have each of these partners on board.
We will use this new funding to accelerate development of our real-time technology, continue to build world-class engineering, design, community, and product teams, and expand Visor’s real-time platform to new features, games and experiences.
Join the Visor squad
We are always looking for talented and driven team members to help us reinvent the way gamers play. You can read more about who we are here. If what we’re building at Visor resonates with you and you are LFT, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch!
We’re thrilled for the journey ahead, and will continue to keep you posted here and on our Twitter feed.
Ivan, Anhang and the Visor Squad