Why virtual sports technology is here to stay

With the news that the National Basketball Association has allowed the likeness of their players and teams to be used in virtual sports games, this is just another example of this activity becoming a staple on modern day sports betting sites.

For a long time, virtual sports were overshadowed by traditional sports betting. But ever since the COVID-19 pandemic threw the sporting world out of balance, virtual sport has proven remarkably durable.

Virtual sports betting is currently believed to account for 20% of spending at traditional betting shops and the activity brought in $1.6 billion in revenue worldwide in 2020. But why would sports fans want to bet on simulations of sporting events and how? Do you operate virtual sports versus traditional sports betting?

The rapid growth of virtual sports

Virtual sports originally appeared on traditional sports betting sites about a decade ago. Here you will find virtual sports opportunities like virtual soccer and virtual horse racing alongside regular casino games. This is because virtual sports uses a random number generator to ensure that all sports simulation results are fair and unpredictable.

The first wave of virtual sports was fairly unremarkable, but developers were quick to add an extra level of realism to games, with spectator sounds, commentary, and graphics very close to reality.

Sports fans could engage in virtual sports just like in a regular sporting encounter. That meant betting on which teams they would win in a football game or which horse would win a race.

But a significant part of the appeal of virtual sports is the fact that they are much faster than regular sports, as a virtual soccer match is over in minutes instead of an hour and a half. Also, virtual sports games run constantly over a 24-hour period, allowing for a lot more betting opportunities, and there is no chance of injuries or delays in the action.

Where does virtual sport go from here?

Realism is still the holy grail for sports game developers. Until recently, this was hampered by the limited licensing capabilities of major sports franchises. Therefore players would have to bet on teams with names like London Town instead of Chelsea and so on.

But that all seems to be changing as top sports organizations lend their likeness to virtual esports. This August, the NBA teamed up with a gaming studio to create virtual AI sports games that offer 3,000 daily bets on events based on real-world basketball league data.

This allows players to more realistically engage through the images of their favorite NBA teams and players. By using motion capture technology, players get a much more immersive experience of virtual sports encounter. Also, the actual gameplay is enhanced thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

With the increasing complexity of virtual sports games, this encourages increasing specialization of the virtual sports fan. It is no longer about playing passively against a random number generator, but instead the player follows virtual betting tips to get a better understanding of the stats of the real players represented in the game. So while there used to be a divide between regular sports and virtual sports, it appears that technology is bringing the two activities much closer together.

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