Overwatch stats program Visor CEO responds to Blizzard’s ban

The company is trying to "clarify" the situation with Blizzard.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Third-party statistics programs like Visor and Pursuit were banned from Overwatch last week, with users risking permanent suspensions from the game. Now, statistics program creator Ivan Zhou is speaking out about his company’s application.

Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Visor, posted an update to Medium on Sept. 24 to discuss the Blizzard ban of the application. Zhou said the company is attempting to contact Blizzard directly “to get more clarity,” but also wants to speak to fans about the integrity of the program. Last week, Blizzard found the program to be in violation of the Overwatch user agreement.

Related: Third-party stats application like Visor and Pursuit deemed in violation of Overwatch’s user agreement

“Recently, we’ve investigated third-party applications designed for use while playing Overwatch and we’d like to reiterate which of these applications are not permitted in Overwatch,” community manager Tom Powers wrote on the Overwatch forum. “To provide more clarity, any third-party application that impedes on the competitive integrity in Overwatch is not allowed.”

Any third-party program that uses information on enemy positioning, enemy health, enemy ultimate usage, or ultimate readiness “creates an uneven playing field for every other player in the map,” Powers wrote. 

But Zhou said that Visor doesn’t use enemy position information as part of its tools. “We don’t parse or use that information in any feature or product,” Zhou wrote. “Blizzard and others may be confused by our ‘Play Aggressively’ and ‘Group Up With Team’ alerts because we indicate the enemy may be trickling in or scattered.”

Zhou said this information doesn’t rely on enemy or ally positions, and instead uses the Visor users kill-feed for the alerts. “By seeing when your enemies and allies die, Visor can determine the time between each death,” Zhou added. Zhou also denied that Visor accesses enemy health and enemy ultimate usage.

As for “ultimate readiness,” the explanation is longer. “We know this has been the most debated topic by our community and we accept a lot of the responsibility for not dispelling the misconceptions about this sooner,” Zhou wrote. “In building Visor, we tried very hard to make the alerts feel concise, quick, and actionable. But due to unclear phrasing, our ‘enemy ultimate alert’ suffered from a lot of misunderstanding in particular. We are here now to resolve the confusion.”

Essentially, Zhou said that Visor doesn’t have “ultimate readiness information of any enemy players.” Visor triggers the alerts based on “a standard timer” that’s determined by kill-feed detection, he said.  “We have hard coded average ult charge durations for each hero, and when Visor sees an ult appear in the kill-feed (as a result of the ult usage producing a kill), we start a timer,” Zhou wrote. “The timer triggers the alert, and the ult charge durations are all publicly available information.”

Visor uses artificial intelligence systems to analyze gameplay and provide feedback. The company recently raised $4.7 million in funding to further enhance the program’s instant feedback system. Pursuit, on the other hand, creates after-match data for players to review. Because of the Blizzard ruling, the company has reworked the program to get stats using direct streams from OBS. Using OBS, players will be able to “receive comprehensive post-game match summaries and detailed match histories with breakdowns of your hero performance and team fights instantly after a match ends.” Zhou said he believes its consistent with Blizzard’s user agreement.

Dot Esports has reached out to Blizzard to confirm.