Virtual sports are a growing phenomenon in mobile and online betting, and they gained another boost as live sporting events disappeared for months in 2020. Deprived of their usual contests and tournaments on which to wager, many punters opted for the virtual versions, even though they don’t really mimic true sports betting.
Motor sports, horse and dog racing, football, tennis and basketball are among the virtual sports offered by betting sites. What they deliver is a video-game version of each sport, with impressive 3D graphic animations and a computer simulation of an event. What they don’t offer is any way for player skill to impact on the result; the punter’s input is limited to placing the bet.
Easy Playing Appeal
In effect, virtual sports are a kind of slot machine. The software recreates the strengths and weaknesses of real players and real teams, and then uses an algorithm to run them through game scenarios, while random number generators determine outcomes. But the lack of skill required to bet on these games is part of their appeal; players who enjoy them tend to like playing slots too.
They are easily available and can be played for low stakes, like slots, and you don’t have to perform any action other than betting and starting the game. You don’t need to know anything about the sport you are betting on, and the normal concerns of real-world sports betting do not apply: player fitness, team morale and so forth is replaced by random chance.
Different To eSports
Virtual sports should not be confused with eSports, another online gaming sector that has seen substantial growth wherever people have been unable to assemble in large crowds. eSports do include computer-game versions of popular sports like soccer, football, hockey, baseball and basketball, played with gaming consoles, for a more immersive experience than virtual sports.
However, the focus of eSports, both for its superstar players and the millions of fans online, is fantasy role-playing team games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Call of Duty, StarCraft, etc. The main difference is that all types of eSports, whether fantasy quests or real sports, depend on the skill of the player, not random chance.
Given the number of sports betting enthusiasts looking for action in the absence of live competition, eSports developers would do well to focus on more virtual versions of real-world sports over the next few years.
Evolutions To Hope For
Current virtual sports run a computer simulation of a sports event, but there are some amazing possibilities looming in the future. As programming evolves, expect more integrated options in virtual sports betting. Motion-sensor game controllers, virtual reality headsets and soon, full VR suits, could revolutionise the field.
The world’s top athletes, deprived of tournaments, have taken each other on online, playing computer-game versions of their sports. Imagine how much more compelling they would be, wearing VR suits in separate locations, but playing against each other in the same cyber arena in real time.
As sports betting sites evolve in a world that frowns on dense crowds, expect to see virtual sports grow in surprising directions.