Some people play video games professionally.
These people dedicate hours to honing their skills in a competitive online game, refining their reflexes, awareness and knowledge of the game’s mechanics. Their goal is to climb global leaderboards and rank highly in international competitions, winning thousands or even millions of dollars in prize money. While some have managed to win big thanks to their hard work and commitment, others find that their practice yields diminishing returns.
Enter NOVOS, a web-based platform designed to help professional gamers get better results from their practice by providing statistics, analytics and curated guidance to players hoping to improve to a pro level. The platform is currently only compatible with the supremely popular third-person shooter Fortnite, but aims to incorporate other top-tier competitive games, such as Riot Games’ Valorant.
While “Fortnite gamers hoping to become eSports professionals” may sound like a niche demographic to those not in the know, the company’s co-founder and CEO, Or Briga, explained that the company’s target audience is far from obscure.
“There are about 800 million gamers playing competitive games,” with Fortnite itself boasting three million or more concurrent players every month. “These are games where there’s no luck involved, no casual [game mechanics]. It’s pure competition,” he said.
It’s the rigid, reliable mechanics of these games that make them so popular with pros – popular enough to spend quite a bit of time getting good at them.
“Those gamers invest between five to eight hours a day in their favorite games, but unlike their friends with other hobbies, they don’t have any framework to participate in,” added Briga. “If your main hobby is, let’s say, soccer, you can join an after-school activity, a youth academy or group training, and you can take your skills and build them with professional guidance, some structured training and being in the same environment as other athletes.”
Despite the ridiculous amount of gamers out there, the joystick-inclined have fewer options for improvement, Briga explained. “They basically have two options: It’s either play the game or watch other people play, and that’s about it.”
Realizing this, Briga partnered with Shai Arnon to create NOVOS in 2019. Since then, the platform has been utilized by tens of thousands of players wanting to improve in the game. Last month, the company raised $6 million in funding in order to expand their platform and grow their workforce, and potentially add a few professional gaming coaches to their current stable of three.
NOVOS is a completely web-based client, which means that checking out your stats and training regimen is a plug-and-play experience: Go to the site, log in with your Epic Games account (which encompasses your Fortnite account), and you’re good to go. The platform presents users with a questionnaire about their target goals, analyzes the statistics from their prior games and gives a player-tailored regimen of drills and practice routines based on their weak points in the game.
“Few industries are growing as rapidly as gaming, and the team at NOVOS is helping to build the infrastructure which makes that possible,” said investor Aaron Applbaum of MizMaa Ventures. “Creating a methodological way for players to improve in the activity they love is so important, and the team at NOVOS, all gaming practitioners, are the perfect people to build such a product.”