There is no doubt that Virtual Football, or Virtual Soccer if you are based in North America, is one of the most popular forms of Virtual Sports available to bet on today. The fact that it is a rare game-based Virtual Sport, rather than a race, highlights how popular the game is given that it is a much more complicated method of sorting betting markets and generating results than simply running a race.
While not wishing to decry the typical Virtual Football offering you would find at most sports betting sites (Betway have a great version if you want to take a closer look), there are a number of small improvements and tweaks that could be made to Virtual Football, which would certainly make it more appealing to punters, more enjoyable to watch and perhaps most importantly, offer punters a greater range of markets to bet on.
Certainly in any fledgling industry, such as Virtual Sports is right now, there are always ways and means to improve what is on offer and it would be naïve to assume that the Virtual Sports that we bet on today, will be wholly representative of those that we are betting on in five, ten or even twenty years time.
So with that in mind, what are the big changes I’d make to Virtual Football to improve the experience for the punter of the future? Outlined below are my selections, together with the reasons why.
- Replace Randomly Generated Fixtures with Context-Base League and Cup Games
One of the ways in which companies are looking to develop Virtual Football for sure, as there have been reports of companies beginning to offer this, is to replace the notion of games being selected entirely at random and instead, putting them into some form of context, such as a league tournament or a cup tournament.
By giving Virtual Football a structure like this, not only does each game mean something beyond simply generating a result for betting purposes, but you also give the game added context and meaning and perhaps most excitingly of all, you can now offer punters a whole new set of markets to bet on for Virtual Sports.
You would, for example, be able to bet on how a team would perform over their next five games, or over the course of a season. You could bet on ‘outright’ markets, such as which team would win the competition in question, or which team would be relegated from the league, you could even implement promotion and relegation for teams across different leagues.
By adding greater context to games, you also make a far more realistic Virtual Soccer betting service, one that replicates, for example, the World Cup or European Championships in International Football, or the Premier League (or similar) in the domestic game.
By doing this, you move away from generating soccer results for the purposes of Virtual Football betting towards generating random football seasons, in context, that allow you to bet on a massive number of markets, which is a far closer replication of real life football.
- Increase the number of animations available for Virtual Soccer
If you play Virtual Soccer for any length of time then one of the biggest problems you have is that after a while, you start to recognise certain animations, and these tend to crop up time and time again. Play for long enough and you can recognise almost all the different animations available within the game and shown on screen in the match highlights.
Of course, drastically increasing the number of animations available in the game would help improve this, but in addition to increasing the number of animations, you could also increase the type of animations to include key game incidents such as players being sent off the field for committing a foul or receiving two yellow cards, you could also have more near misses, a greater variety of goals, own goals, misses etc.
- Increase the number of phrases used in the commentary
Similar to increasing the number and type of animations available in Virtual Soccer, another issue in the standard game is that the phrases used in the commentary (which incidentally, is very nicely done), do tend to get a bit repetitive when you bet on Virtual Soccer relatively frequently.
As such, increasing the commentary phrases used to incorporate more incidents, greater variance in commentary and perhaps even using additional commentators, would add a greater variance to this often overlooked but nonetheless important aspect of Virtual Soccer.
Further enhancement could be made by the inclusion of a co-commentator, which is something that some console soccer games, such as the FIFA series of games, do very well.
- Run several fixtures at once – Show highlights from each game for accumulator betting
At the moment, Virtual Soccer focuses on one game and the incidents that occur within it, but I think a more exciting approach may be to have an entire “matchday” of fixtures available for punters to bet on. Punters could then select an individual game and bet on a similar number of markets available on Virtual Soccer games today, but across a number of games, all of which will be run consecutively (as if they were taking place on a Saturday afternoon for example).
This would then allow punters to make bets on accumulators and other multiple selection bets, which could be decided within the space of a minute or so as all the game part of the bet would be run and the results and incidents in each decided within a shorter time frame.
You could allow the user to select one game to see highlights from as the game progresses, or you could allow them to simply view an overview of the games as they are played and the goals go in (similar to the old watching the games on Teletext).
This may actually be an easier option than it initially seems as it would not require a massive increase in graphics and commentary being generated, but simply a reworking of the programming on how Virtual Soccer is organised and presented to punters.
- Include Player Names and statistics in future versions of the game
I think in the future too, there will be a time when games are played in the context of competitions and not only that, but each team will have distinguishable players playing for them, and not only that, you will be able to place bets on markets pertaining to players that are otherwise not available in Virtual Football at present, such as the First or Last Goalscorer market, or betting on whether a player will be booked or red carded in a game or not.