Why this entrepreneur created a monitoring system for e-sports athletes

3 Oct 2019

Ryan Scollan. Image: TechWatch

G-Science is one of 12 finalists in the upcoming Invent 2019 competition. TechWatch’s Emily McDaid spoke to founder Ryan Scollan to find out more.

Ryan Scollan is a self-described “sports fanatic” who is pouring his energy into G-Science, an e-sports performance company.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Scollan attended Loughborough University, because, as he says, “it’s the best place in the world for sports science”.

He lived for a time in Australia and has visited many other countries, including time spent working at Camp America with kids with disabilities. That experience, he says, “completely reshaped the way I think”.

Scollan was born in Bangor, but it sounds like that might have been the last time he sat still.

Before starting his own company, he also did a stint in analytics and sports marketing with Adidas. Now that he’s back in Northern Ireland, he’s taking advantage of our cooler climate to practice the Wim Hof method.

“My mind never stops working, as you can probably tell. Jumping into freezing water puts you into survival mode and helps you focus. The more you do it, the more control you have over your reaction to stress and it builds your resilience,” he says.

Rapidly growing industry

Scollan has channelled his experience from playing every sport he could – Gaelic football, rugby, football, athletics, spartan races – into G-Science.

It’s an athlete monitoring system that captures physiological, biometric and cognitive data from e-sports athletes. It collects and analyses performance data, and provides players with personalised feedback and training programmes.

G-Science isn’t for the Usain Bolts of the world. Rather, it’s for the likes of Bugha – the 16 year old gamer who earned $3m at the recent Fortnite World Cup. G-Science is specifically for e-sports, the competitive form of video games.

‘The opportunity is that the e-sports performance sector is still in its infancy’

G-Science is what VC’s would call an early entrant into a rapidly growing $1.1bn industry. The market opportunity for e-sports isn’t just about the players – a huge global audience watches gamers via Twitch and other streaming platforms. Even the World Economic Forum put out a blog post last year on ‘The explosive growth of e-sports’.

Scollan says there are 600m e-sports enthusiasts who watch or play games on a daily basis, and “the opportunity is that the e-sports performance sector is still in its infancy”.

Many e-sports athletes (60pc of which are based in Asia) spend from eight to 15 hours a day practicing their games. China is by far the biggest revenue-generating country for e-sports.

Scollan discusses why video games are so addictive. “They make you feel good through a dopamine cycle. The motivation to play comes from wanting to feel challenged whilst competing against others and constantly levelling up.”

However, e-sports players can also be likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Scollan says: “We’re trying to show gamers that you can find a healthy balance – so they can achieve the same outcomes with higher quality training. They can train smarter, not harder.”

About G-Science:

  • It combines sports science with data analytics to analyse e-sports performance data – understanding the unique demands of esports athletes
  • Using the marginal gains philosophy, it identifies areas for improvement across all components that influence gaming performance
  • The solution is only software-based, so G-Science will partner with a hardware manufacturer that provides wearable vests with sensors – detecting heart rate, skin temperature etc
  • G-Science will initially focus on working with League of Legends teams (the largest e-sport globally), although it’s available to any e-sports athlete

G-Science is a finalist in the annual Invent competition run by Catalyst, aiming to showcase the best and brightest innovators that Northern Ireland has to offer. Invent 2019 will take place on Thursday 10 October in Belfast, where 12 finalists will battle it out for a £33,000 prize fund.

TechWatch by Catalyst covered tech developments in Northern Ireland