We notice you’re visiting us from a region where we have a local version of Inc.com. Amine Issa graduated high school at 15 and earned a PhD in biomedical engineering at 26.

But when he really wanted a challenge, he says, he powered up his Super Nintendo for a round of Donkey Kong or Final Fantasy.  “To be honest,” Issa says, “I feel like I’ve learned most of the stuff in my life through playing video games competitively.” Issa’s passion for eSports–the rapidly growing industry that’s developed around competition-based, multiplayer video games–led him to found Mobalytics, along with fellows gamer Nikolay Lobanov and Bogdan Suchyk, in 2016.

The startup’s analytics software studies a person’s gameplay and, with an assist from artificial intelligence, advises them to be more aggressive, for example, or offers tips to improve their fighting skills. Mobalytics is targeting anyone “semi-serious about gaming” who’s seeking an edge in competition, Issa says.

It’s a huge market to tap: Gaming industry researcher Newzoo estimates there are currently 165 million eSports enthusiasts worldwide.The firm calculates that eSports was a $696 million global industry in 2017, and it expects that number to double by 2020.   Mobalytics’ open beta, which launched in September, is focused on one game: the wildly popular League of Legends. More than 600,000 people have signed up so far. In June, the startup will move to a subscription model, charging customers between $5 and $10 per month. Issa says the company will soon move into other popular games like Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Overwatch, and “plans to cover all major titles in next two years.”  Matt Zimmerman, assistant professor of sports media at Mississippi State University who has been studying the growth of the gaming industry in recent years, sees the potential in a company meant to help eSports devotees improve.

“Even if you have no illusions about going professional, it’s still more fun to win than it is to not win,” he says. “When an industry gets to a certain point, you can no longer dismiss it. I would never use the word addiction, but it’s a strong hobby. Read more from inc.com…

thumbnail courtesy of inc.com