We have mentioned in the past that Virtual Sports betting is really taking off and we have already seen a number of new Virtuals markets hit online betting sites this year including Virtual Darts and Virtual Cricket, with Virtual Basketball also on the horizon. However, we now have something of a first as Unikrn, a company that is famous for offering esports betting to its customers, have now released its Virtual Esports betting service.
In this article, we are going to look at exactly what Virtual Esports is, how it works and whether there is a market for this particular form of Virtual betting.
What are Esports and Esports betting?
For those who are not yet acquainted with esports, these are a number of computer games, played by multiple players against each other either individually or in teams, where the aim is to beat the opponent and win the game.
The games come in many different types including sports simulation games (such as FIFA Football, Madden American Football, NBA Basketball and similar), first person shooting games (of which Counter Strike Global Offensive is the most popular esports game) and Multi-player Online Battle Arena games (also known as MOBA’s for short and this includes games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends). Recently a new form of game called Battle Royale have become popular with games such as Fortnite, Player Unknown Battlegrounds and Apex Legends all being amongst the top games in this particular genre.
Over the last ten years or so, Esports has built up a thriving scene with the top players and teams regularly competing in big money tournaments. The current Fortnite World Cup, for example, has a prize pool of $30 million, while The International, the premier Dota 2 event of the season, regularly has prize pools in excess of $20 million.
As such, esports has become big business over the years and now colleges and universities across the world are offering scholarships for talented esports players, companies are becoming involved in esports by the dozen and countries are even developing esports strategies to help the next generation of esports stars nurture their skills.
Of course, alongside this esports betting has grown in popularity too and now you can bet on a wide range of esports events each day. However, until now, there had never been a way to reliably offer a Virtual Esports service, but this is a problem that Unikrn seems to have solved.
How does Virtual Esports betting work?
A short while ago, I explained one way of how a Virtual Esports betting could be possible. I postulated that it would be possible to take an esports game and then adapt it so that it was controlled only by the software to produce a random result. Then betting markets could be created for the game and punters could bet on these potential outcomes.
However, Unikrn took a different approach and echoed one that is being taken at the present moment in traditional Virtual Sports betting games, in that they are using real-life footage of esports games (at the moment, it is solely CS:GO that is available, but there are plans to introduce more games in the near future) to produce the action required for punters to bet on.
How this is achieved is the clever aspect of Virtual Sports. Obviously, if the company used footage from a single game, then it would be possible for punters to know the result of a game in advance and of course, that makes betting on the esport unfeasible. So what Unikrn have done, is to take lots of different footage from lots of different games, remove the identifying features from the game (such as the team names and players for example) and then the software uses algorithms and random number generators to select the clips that make up the Virtual Esports game.
In doing this, by having a wide selection of clips available, each with different outcomes, this allows the Esport to generate potentially millions of different combinations of results, all selected at random and as such, this makes it a viable means of betting on esports.
The positive aspect of this too is that the actual look of Virtual Esports will mirror real life esports betting, which adds depth and realism to the game and will certainly make it very appealing to punters to bet on.
The Esports Virtual betting game is available at Unikrn under its Univrn Virtual service and the good news is that matches take place every two minutes, which means that Esports betting has an even faster turnaround than the Virtual Sports betting services available at other bookmaking sites, which usually last between 3 and 5 minutes in length.
It is not the only new release from Unikrn to do with esports however as the site has also launched its esports in play betting service in the same week as Unikrn Virtual. Their in-play betting service is reportedly “five years ahead of any other bookmaker in this space, and light years ahead of what is possible in the traditional sports world” according to CEO Rahul Sood.
Will other betting services go for Virtual Esports betting?
The key question here is whether other betting companies, especially those more traditionally associated with sports betting services, will be quick to uptake a similar kind of Virtual Esports betting product as Unikrn have produced.
I guess the answer to that will lie in how popular Unikrn find their Virtual Esports betting service to be. If it is a smash hit success and generates additional income for the company, then it is a good bet that more traditional sports betting sites will certainly take notice and perhaps begin to develop their own Virtual Esports betting game, or even sign a deal with Unikrn to allow theirs to be available on the buying company’s platform.
It is worth nothing though that Unikrn are a company that does work in the market of esports betting predominantly and as such, they are more likely to be interested in Virtual Esports than a standard online bookmaking service. However, if Virtual Esports takes off, and there is no reason to suppose that it won’t given how quickly esports betting has grown over the years, then there could well be a brand new Virtual betting game coming your way shortly.