Entain is strapping on a headset and diving into virtual reality

Posted on June 24, 2021

Entain, the sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, has plans to enter the world of virtual reality. They are planning to pilot a virtual reality multi-sports entertainment experience later this year.

The VR plans

Like many popular VR apps, they are planning to release their sports entertainment product on the Oculus Quest 2. That would make them the second betting or gambling company to launch a game on the service, the first being Pokerstars with their VR poker experience.

However, at the time of writing, this does not seem to be a solely virtual sports betting experience. Instead, it looks like they are aiming to create a social sports game for virtual reality. According to the announcement from Entain,

“Many of the exciting new features will be revealed on launch but will include live streaming of football matches; experiences allowing fans to build fantasy line-ups in in virtual reality; play different sports games virtually with friends; and take thrilling rides through immersive VR content.”

They are leaning into the strengths of virtual reality. Anyone can look up their fantasy line up online but if they can provide interesting and diverting virtual sports games on top of their traditional offering, they could have a very popular VR app.

Comment from Entain

Sandeep Tiku, Chief Operating Officer of Entain said about their foray into the world of VR:

“We continually offer our customers a wide range of innovative and exciting experiences, and VR is an exciting opportunity for us to innovate in new ways. The aim is to mix sports, entertainment, and different types of immersive play in one product, giving customers a great mix of new, exciting stuff to enjoy.

“We know consumers are looking for more multi-dimensional experiences, in which the ability to place a bet is only one of the ways they want to enjoy themselves. So, we want to wow them and give them better experiences than they’ve ever had before – and at the same time also use our cutting edge to technology to keep our players safe.”

Entain and VR

This pilot program for VR is building on Entain’s partnership with the global technology and media company Verizon Media. With announcements like this and their claims to be interested in offering immersive experiences with music and bands on top of the VR games and live football, Entain seems to be expanding their focus away from the world of online sports betting. They may be pivoting to a more general media and entertainment focus.

While this may seem like an odd move right now, they are clearly looking towards the future. VR still has a very hobbyist feeling to it. Most VR headsets require thousands of dollars for the headset and the PC needed to run it. The fact that they are focused on the Oculus Quest hardware means that they are committed to offering their products to a wider audience. The Quest 2 costs around $300 for the base model. While that is still a considerable chunk of change it is a relatively small amount for a luxury technology purchase. I know I would be more inclined to try out a sports betting company if I knew that they had a VR app.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a background in esports and VR reporting. He grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland, and graduated from Ulster University with a Masters's degree in Journalism.

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