Over the last few years, esports has become an increasingly popular betting product. This is showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. According to Peter Ivanov, Head of Trading at Ultraplay, the Asian market will be the next key battleground for those looking to establish themselves as a leader within the esports betting space.
Ivanov spoke to SBC about the importance of data in the automation and creation of high-quality products, before sharing his views on why Ultraplay is focusing on mobile games.
SBC: For those that might not know, can you tell us a bit about UltraPlay?
PI: UltraPlay is a multi-awarded company, recognised globally for its innovative and high-performing products and services. We offer high-value solutions for the industry and our partners around the world are proof of our exceptional work. We focus on sports and esports pre-match and live betting, fast markets, AI-powered machine-learning algorithms, white-label, online casino, and blockchain technology. But we are well known as an industry leader in esports since 2014 and we continue to improve and evolve our product to maintain and exceed our clients and most importantly esports fans expectations.
SBC: Esports has been a large part of your offering since 2014. How have you established yourself as a leading company within the esports space?
PI: Maybe one of the first milestones of the company was that in 2014, we became the first company in the world to offer live betting for Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO). Ever since, UltraPlay has continued to demonstrate what it means to understand esports and to create real innovations in this industry.
We established ourselves as a leader because we are an innovator in this field and provide a unique product, moreover we listen to our end users’ feedback and work on improving even further. Our main goal has always been to provide what esports fans truly deserve, which is the best betting experience.
SBC: Esports has become increasingly popular over the past few years. How does UltraPlay plan to capitalise on this growing demand for esports products?
PI: Our company is known as the leading esports odds and platform provider, 25 times awarded for its overall esports betting solutions. In 2021 our team grabbed its second IGA Esports Betting Software of the Year Award, The WIG Diversity Awards in the Best Use of Technology category and SBC Award Latinoamérica – Esports Supplier of the Year. Then 2022 starts with two accolades. We became Esports Company of the Year during IGA in London and we won Best eSports Service Provider in the Baltics at the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Awards.
What this is really showing is the recognition we are getting for what we provide as a product and why there is such a demand for quality esports products out there.
Esports has always been popular among video game fans and the fact that we offer it since 2014, more than 8 years now, is a clear indicator that there has been a demand for such a product. Over the past few years, esports has become more of a “mainstream” product that is widely available among betting operators but that does not necessarily mean that it has been done in the right way by the majority of it.
Our plan is very simple, when it comes to esports, just focus on the key aspects that everyone else is missing and make sure you are one step ahead of the competition by listening and most importantly offering what the esports fans want because they understand the game scene and they respond to products that focus on improving their overall esports experience.
SBC: Tell us a bit about the hybrid live betting model. How is this creating the perfect mixture of AI and human traders’ interaction?
PI: Our hybrid live betting model is the perfect mixture of AI and human traders for many reasons but mainly because we can handle the constant evolvement of the games with the never-ending patches and changes introduced every few weeks. Another vital reason is the profitability of the product, which very much depends on the understanding of the game development from beginning to the end as pure statistical models are often very inaccurate in finding a balance in different stages of the game.
Combining our AI stats model, that is constantly learning and updating itself, with the interaction of hardcore gamers, that have spent over 10,000 or in some extremes even 20,000 hours in the games they are trading, helps us establish a profitable product that is also very customer oriented because it has more up-time and better offering compared to a purely statistics based model.
SBC: In your opinion, how important is data when it comes to the automation and the creation of high-quality odds products?
PI: Data has always been an important factor in building a quality product as it’s the solid foundation needed to compile odds and calculate probabilities for every sport so esports is not an exception. One of the reasons for our success with esports since 2014 is that we have focused on data collection and processing, even when that was close to impossible in esports early days.
The esports industry has come a long way in terms of data over the years and especially in the last 2-3 years we have seen a gradual improvement in the way that data is being handled and processed with some really good products being available to supplement the creation of high-quality odds and esports betting product such as ours so huge credit to everyone working in that area.
SBC: Can you give us a sneak peek into some of your plans for 2022?
PI: Esports’ popularity will continue to grow in 2022. That’s one of the reasons why there is a great interest in UltraPlay’s esports product. This is a trend that is expected to remain stable in the following years and we have to respond by keeping a few steps ahead of the competition.
One of our main goals in 2022 is to answer the ever-growing trend of mobile games and the overall development of the esports mobile scene especially in the Asia region.
Since that region is well known for being the spearhead of all future developments in esports, UltraPlay will be focussed on improving our offering across all mobile titles as well as enriching our overall game portfolio by entering some new game genres which fans haven’t got any betting experience so far. So, stay tuned for some exciting news and new products coming out in the near future from our esports team.