Virtual sports are growing in popularity across a number of sports betting sites, not just the likes of Bet365 Sport and 10Bet.
Indeed, in the few years they have been available on these sites, there have been a number of improvements. The upgrades have enhanced virtual sports from their original state.
As with everything digital, progress marches on relentlessly. It is fair to say that while virtual sports is popular, it is still very much in its infancy as a method of sports betting. That means that there is a huge amount of scope for the industry to grow and improve in a number of different ways.
So in this article, we decided to gaze into our crystal ball and have a guess at what some of the next big developments could well be in the virtual sports industry. We’ve come up with five improvements that we think will likely come about at some point.
What are your thoughts? Would these changes make virtual sports even more enjoyable, or should they be left alone as they are to be enjoyed as it stands?
More virtual sports to bet on
The first and perhaps most obvious improvement that could be made to virtual sports gambling in the future is simply offering a wider selection of sports to bet on.
At the moment, the choice is somewhat limited to the following sports (depending on who you bet with):
- Horse racing
- Motor Racing
- Trotting (available on Bet365)
Sports that would be well-represented as virtual sports
I think an obvious addition here which would allow a great deal of flexibility with different types of bets would be a virtual Cricket game. Players could bet on what the outcome of an over would be. Would the batsmen score above or under a certain number of runs, would the bowler get a wicket, or bowl a maiden over? What method will the batsman get out by (if they do get out)?
I think virtual Cricket would have huge appeal beyond the UK too. It is played across the world and particularly in the likes of India, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies.
Another potential lucrative arena for virtual sports is Athletics. You could have Virtual 100m 200m or 400m races depending on how long you wanted the highlights to last for. These could operate in much the same way as any of the ‘race’ themed virtual sports run currently.
You could also have other events represented virtually, such as jump events (long, high and triple jump) or throwing events (discus, javelin, shot put). Again devising a simple way to represent these sports and offer betting on a number of markets is relatively easy. The question is whether the demand for punters to bet on these events in there.
Indeed, that is likely to be the key factor in any decision regarding which virtual sports will be added to the list of those already available. I think it is inevitable that more virtual sports will come in the next few years. It is just open to debate as to what these sports will be and how appealing they will be to virtual sports enthusiasts.
More markets to bet on for each individual virtual sport
I think the first two points go hand in hand in the virtual sports industry at the moment. In addition to companies offering us new sports to bet on, it is likely they will also seek to offer an increasing number of markets.
Of course, as the technology stands at the moment, you can’t place some bets on virtual sports as you would on real-life games. For example, you can’t bet on the first or last goalscorer in a virtual sports event. This is because none of the players on the virtual teams have names or are anything more tangible than a graphic on the screen.
Over time, as software is refined and improved, the number of bets available will increase. I can certainly see the ‘game’ style of virtual sports, such as soccer and tennis, offering a far wider number of markets than currently as the software improves.
While I can see the number of markets available to bet on increasing for virtual sports, I don’t think we’ll ever see the day where the lines between betting on real sporting events and virtual sports become blurred.
Improved graphics and sound
We’ve already seen evidence of this with a number of small updates over the years improving the quality of the graphics and sound to some virtual sports.
The soccer commentary feature is a great example of this. Both 10Bet and Bet365 now use software that has Sky TV’s Ian Darke as the commentator. That does lend the game a great deal of realism.
Over time the graphics and commentary on each virtual sport will improve markedly. Companies will make more use of familiar names as commentators to give their sport a greater degree of realism.
While these changes are generally cosmetic, they can be brought about relatively quickly as the development companies work on tweaking their existing games. They can offer an update to upgrade the software, similar to the way smartphones and tablets update apps today.
More detailed virtual sports gameplay
When I refer to gameplay here, I don’t mean between two people playing a game. I refer of course to the action you see on screen when the simulation aspect of the virtual sports event you are watching kicks in.
Cycling and greyhounds are a good example of this. The realism and attention to detail in the gameplay is as good as it is going to get.
After all, these are essentially races. They will all tend to play out in the same fashion and look very similar even if the winners are different each time.
With some of the ‘game’ type sports, however, the gameplay is very short. Tennis is just one game. Football is down to edited highlights and the most number of goals in a single game is four. Although this works in helping structure the betting, it isn’t very realistic.
As such, I can see virtual sports developers working hard to improve the graphical representation of these sports. There may be more highlights to watch in football, for example. Or the maximum number of goals in a game may be done away with.
Virtual tournaments, seasons, and events
In time, I can see a point where companies like Bet365 and 10Bet will eventually run their own virtual World Cup or virtual ICC Cricket World Cup events.
This is not as far-fetched as it seems. There are games in casinos that allow punters to simulate major sports events and place a number of bets on the outcome.
In tennis and soccer for example, all matches that take place do so in a random event with no progression. They are standalone games and effectively meaningless beyond generating results for each of the betting markets in the game.
With structured tournaments, these games now take on additional meaning. This is especially true if the punter can access statistical information about the teams or individuals playing. That also puts the result in context, which will invest punters more in the action on screen.
This is some years off yet, but adding context to virtual sports will make them hugely more attractive to punters, especially those new to virtual sports.