[Pangyo Tech] An online e-sports education platform The Match Lab’s skills and expertise are “Next Level”

As computers are widely available and various games are released, E-sports’ growth is on the steady rise. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, the sports sector is drawing most attention. Due to few restrictions of time and space, players are able to participate in a competition any time and audiences are able to enjoy it which makes e-sports a perfect fit for a contactless world.

Thanks to e-sports’ growing popularity, there is an increasing number of people who are willing to improve their skills through training as well as students who dream of becoming professional game players.

However, a professional e-sports education is required if a person wants to grow as a professional game player or become a top player and in most cases it takes place in cram schools.

Actual data based on a high-level of training, a coach who gives feedback and a lot of experience which are necessary in order to grow as a professional game player allows tailored analysis. An online education cannot meet these demands which remain as its limitations.

However, education infrastructure is still inadequate as cram schools which are specialized in e-sports are concentrated in the Seoul Metropolitan area

Today, I sat down with CEO Sung Chul Byun of The Match Lab at Pangyo Techno Valley Start-up campus and listened to what he had to say about “e-sports lab” which fosters talented people in e-sports with “CHECKT,” a full game analysis service for nurturing online professional game players.

Q1. Company introduction

CEO Sung Chul Byun: The Match Lab was founded in 2016 by my co-representative Young Ju Won who started his career as the first generation professional game player in 1999 and had experience as a coach of professional game players and a person in charge of planning and operation of international competition as well as experience of planning content and brands for 15 years.

I was a professional game player before becoming a coach. When I was fostering professional game players, I felt we need more professional and efficient coaching. And this thinking led me to start a business. After the foundation, we have developed e-sports education content every year and planned and operated convergence education space for three years. We are focusing on the development of e-sports educational technology for online professional gamers after the Covi-19 pandemic through which we are challenging ourselves to become a first mover in the global e-sports educational technology industry.

Q2. Major target

CEO Sung Chul Byun: We provide services to the so-called Vsilgol (game rank), the bottom 85% of users of League of Legends which is one of the biggest e-sports games globally. Among 100 million global users of League of Legends 17 million users enjoy rank games. Among them, 12 million people use North American, European and South Korean server most of whom are the MZ generation. The Match Lab is developing not only products but also media content in order to provide services targeting the MZ generation who play rank games in North America, Europe and South Korea.

Q3. How did you start the business

CEO Sung Chul Byun: I came to terms with the increasing needs of training game players centered around the MZ generation. A game goes beyond a simple plaything and it is at the heart of communication and play to the MZ generation all of which created an industry. This led to rising demand for education. I looked for Youtube channels and online communities that game users with various needs enjoy. However, I couldn’t find a tailored e-sports education. The Match Lab has begun to develop data-based educational technology through which game users around the world can play anytime anywhere with a mission, “a better game experience for every game player,” in mid-2020.

Q4. What sets our services apart from others

CEO Sung Chul Byun: Four best former game players who account for 0.01% of game players in the world together with planners specialized in education are conducting research on game API and developing analysis and training services. At an e-sports cram school which is currently up and running an education is provided for players from unranked users to challengers which makes it possible to secure education know-how and personnel. The Match Lab has an experience of running and fostering a game team in person and it analyzes data necessary for major international game group. These various on the ground experiences are reflected in the effectiveness and needs of algorithm that the product provides which sets it apart from other companies.

There are three functions so far. First, Solo Search function allows a full analysis. Second, VS Search function compares to friends or professional game players based on a user history. Since League of Legends is a game where five people play as a team, teamwork is important based on which Multi Search function is provided as the third function.

We are preparing for feedback that suggests tailored education which lets users know their weaknesses through various analyses.

Q6. Strategies to expand the business across the globe

CEO Sung Chul Byun: We are setting our goal of expanding the business across North America and Europe, leading countries in the e-sports industry. The first game that went through data analysis provided by our service is League of legends with 17 million rank users including South Korea. In particular, I believe that North America is a market that has a lot of potential as the country has most developed online infrastructure where game players communicate and share their games such as Twitch, Discord and Reddit.

Q6. Strategies to expand the business across the globe

CEO Sung Chul Byun: 85~90% of more than 100 million e-sports users around the world are ranked medium-low. After the start of pandemic, a game that requires audiences has shown a lot of growth and the gaming ecosystem where a game player’s skills eventually lead to popularity, fame and profit is growing at a rapid pace. Now we are providing education and content for game players around the world based on which our aim is to create a game player’s platform. We would like to take a step forward as a quality platform which matches value with a customer as a game player, a coach, an analyst or as a content creator within Match Lab’s platform by connecting issues regarding online game players around the world and technologies.

Q7. Why is the company based in Pangyo?

CEO Sung Chul Byun: Seven out of ten South Korean gaming companies are based in Pangyo and it is at the core of the gaming industry which is planning to open a stadium dedicated to e-sports competitions by 2022 if it attracts it successfully. This kind of environment is conducive to facilitating communication and cooperation necessary for creating an e-sports model of which people have little understanding. Our business is also pivoted to the educational technology sector which inevitably requires external sources such as technology insight and cloud server. As we can combine infrastructure in question quickly we would be able to advance our business.

Pangyo Technovalley is an innovation hub for global companies comparable to the Silicon Valley in the US, Zhongguancun in China, and STATION F in France. It is an Asia tech hub with 1,259 IT, BT, CT, and NT companies that possess innovative products and technologies. Located just south of the metropolitan area, it provides the best environment for Korean companies to do business with great transportation access and infrastructure.

Various high-tech companies are located in Pangyo Technovalley, and it is occupied by 64,000 full-time employees, many in their 20-30s. In terms of industry, the companies are engaged in information technology, contents technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

With the support of innovative companies with global capabilities such as Kakao, Naver, AhnLab, Krafton, NCSoft, Nexon, and Hancom, companies in Pangyo Technovalley recorded 107 trillion won in sales last year. Investment and infrastructure growth in Pangyo is expected to continue, with the Metaverse hub entering Pangyo this year.

Source: Pangyo Techno Valley Official Newsroom

→ Asia Innovation Hub Pangyo Techno Valley 2021 News