Friday June 19, 2020

Virtual sports vs esports

UltraPlay has been providing betting solutions to the gaming industry since its foundation in 2010. The company specializes in sports and esports, live betting, white-label, online casino, and blockchain technology. UltraPlay first launched its hybrid esports live betting model, ODDS.GG, in 2018. As head of esports and sports trading at UltraPlay, Peter Ivanov is therefore well placed to provide insight into the current esports market and its post-COVID potential.

  • What makes esports stand out against other verticals?

First of all, esports is an open sport which means that the disciplines that it consists of, will be growing forever with the release of new games while can you name a new sport vertical in recent years? 

Another important advantage is that esports could be played both online and offline giving the chance to compete against the whole world from your own home and at the same time be watched by millions all over the world.


  • Why should operators choose esports instead of competing verticals like virtuals?


The only similarity between esports and virtuals is that they are both based on virtual reality rather than the real world but this is as far as it goes. Esports is a mixture of human interaction in the virtual world and as such is way closer to physical sports than virtuals. The challenge to predict how a human being will cope with pressure and how they will perform brings much more adrenaline rather than watching AI-based games. It’s the same as comparing blackjack for example and a slot machine, the sense of evaluating skill and the existence of luck in the equation is much more attractive for players compared to any RNG you can think of.


  • Are there any verticals that esports can work particularly well with like sports betting and perhaps virtuals itself?


Esports goes along with virtuals in a way that they are both being played in a virtual world and the esports crowd is way more familiar with that rather than traditional sports for example where most esports fans have no interest to start with. On the other hand, sports bettors turned out to be enjoying a lot betting on esports, from what we have seen during the COVID-19 outbreak. By gaining knowledge on particular games, there comes the confidence and excitement to bet on esports, something that they were missing for a few months with almost no sports left to bet on. We believe that after sports events fully return, the cross-sell between sports and esports will remain strong and productive for both players and operators. 


  • How successful do you think esports will be once the coronavirus pandemic is over – can it maintain its popularity?


Esports’ popularity will continue to grow. It has been growing steadily for the past 5-6 years and the COVID-19 pandemic was the final push that esports needed to become mainstream. It’s what we also experienced as a B2B esports betting provider. Not only have we drastically enhanced our offering, but also the demand for our multi-awarded esports product ODDS.GG highly increased in the last few months. I believe that the people who heard of esports for the first time during the pandemic will be more and more involved in it. Having the chance to add new titles and grow the whole ecosystem of esports will guarantee its success in the future. 

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