We have already run the rule over the Virtual Football offering at Betway. The site recently revamped all its Virtual Sports services to give them a fresh new look and it has to be said that the work put in to that update has yielded excellent results.
Certainly in terms of presentation and styling, Betway have now got a product that is a match, if not better, than other Virtual Sports games you can find with other providers, with perhaps only Bet365 Sport offering a comparable service to their customers in terms of breadth of the betting offered and the range of sports available.
However, as Virtual Sports are a relatively new industry, companies will already be looking at ways to develop these games and improve them in the future to offer punters an even greater choice of bets, across a wide range of Virtual Sports. While it is hard to see how many race-based Virtual Sports can be improved significantly, there is significant scope for more game-based Virtual Sports to improve a great deal.
At Betway, the only game Virtual Sports offers is Football and with such a globally popular game, the number of ways what is a relatively basic Virtual Football offering could be improved is immense. Outlined below are just some of the developments that could be implemented in future Virtual Football offerings to give the game more appeal, more meaning and to make the product as indecipherable from a real football match as is possible with current technology.
The Match Engine
The actual football game displayed when you bet on a Virtual Football match is generally rather good and stands well in comparison to even some of the best and very expensive football games you can buy to play on your computer and console. However, one issue that does grind your gears when betting on Virtual Football is when you get repetition in the match engine.
Of course, this is inevitable given that there are a finite number of animations available to select from but in the future, it would be good if a greater number of animations were available, with a greater number of possible outcomes for each. By increasing both the number of animations and the number of outcomes of each, the chances of repeating animations becoming an irritation is greatly reduced.
It would also be good if a larger number of game incidents were included in the highlights rather than simply goals, free kicks, penalties and missed/saved chances. It would be good if we could see red or yellow cards being awarded, teams hitting on the counter attack after withstanding an initial attack or perhaps managers making substitutions which could then affect the game.
At the moment, the match engine is fine because it highlights the key incidents in the game that affect the outcome of the betting markets, but in future if we are going to expand Virtual Football into a more encompassing and realistic option, then the match engine will have to expand to follow that too.
Put the games in context and store information on clubs
Presently, Virtual Football on Betway simply pits two random teams against each other in a game that has no meaning beyond producing the results at the end of the game which decide the outcomes of each betting markets.
How much better would that be if instead of random games, games were played as part of a competition. Say a Virtual World Cup, or a Virtual Premier League or Virtual Champions League? You could log in and view data on the competition including team’s previous results, their standing in the event and so forth?
By giving each game a context, you then give the result added meaning. This makes games far more realistic and allows punters to look at teams past form and other statistical data before they decide to bet on the outcome. This is much more like how a standard punter would bet on a football game and as such is likely to be one of the items the software teams working on Virtual Football are looking at developing.
You could store plenty of historical data for all teams relatively easily and having this easily available when a punter bets, say in a separate stats menu which could open up alongside the betting menu, this would allow punters to make more informed bets about the games, even though they are still essentially randomised.
Introduce players into the game
There are a finite number of teams in Virtual Football and so it would not be too onerous a task to introduce 11 players into each team. Licensing issues may prevent it from being real life players (perhaos with the exception of international teams) but even by using randomised players who develop a history over time, you give the impression of a new depth to the game.
Furthermore, by including individual players in the game, you open up the opportunity to introduce a massive number of additional betting markets in Virtual Football, such as betting on the first goalscorer, or which player will be booked in a game, or indeed whether a player will receive a red card during the match.
Adding this amount of information for each team would be a big update initially but provided the software is robust enough to update the key information after each game for the individual players as well as the teams it would give Virtual Football a huge new level of depth and interest.
Update the Commentary
If you are going to introduce players into the mix then the commentary, which I think is one of the best aspects of the current Virtual Football offering on Betway, could also be updated to reflect this. In much the same way as on games such as FIFA, you could get a commentator to say the names of individual players and to give you a greater number of comments to select from to avoid hearing the same phrases repeated time and time again.
By making these relatively small changes, Virtual Football could well become one of the most popular forms of betting in my opinion and could eventually become a mainstay on sites like Betway, as well as being well suited to be offered in casinos too.