NSoft reveals more about its Virtual Sports line-up and what the future holds for this growth sector.
Could you outline NSoft’s virtual sports offering?
NSoft portfolio consists of Virtual Horse Races, Virtual Greyhound Races and Virtual Motorcycle Speedway. The latest addition to our portfolio will be our upcoming product, Virtual Penalty Shootout. Let’s not forget the RNG games which are based on the footage of real events, Greyhound Races and Slot Car Races, which are also in our offering.
How do you entice players into moving from the traditional sportsbook to virtual sports?
We believe that traditional sportsbook and virtual sports are complementary to one another. The traditional sportsbook has its daily and seasonal fluctuations, and operators expect more action during for example Kentucky Derby, March Madness, World Cup, Champions League finals for each respective sport, while on the other side, virtual sports offer a constant stream of action 24/7. This puts the punters “in the driver’s seat” where they can select their preferred type of entertainment at any moment in time.
The typical player that uses traditional sportsbook products has an inherent desire to compete against the house. It is always about finding the right odds and using his or her knowledge and experience. On the other hand, a typical casino player is using the products to relax and she or he is nowhere near as competitive as a typical sportsbook player.
When you put virtual games into the mix, the whole experience is much closer to typical sportsbook betting experience and NSoft’s goal is to provide the excitement of a real-life event through our design and game flow. Of course, virtual games will never be on the same level of excitement as real-life events but you can get pretty close if you pay attention to player feedback and the smallest details.
NSoft designs and animates its in-house virtual sports betting products. How do you create a unique UI design?
Compliments to our design and animation teams, and the developers who make it all come to life. They’re always on top of the latest trends and technologies, and having them as a part of the team makes a big difference.
Standard market types, such as winner, forecast and place, are commonplace in virtual sports. How much scope is there for creativity in virtual sports betting markets? Is there demand out there for more market types?
There’s always a place for creativity as many interesting new markets can be offered. Take, for example, Virtual Motorcycle Speedway, and the “Head to head” market, where the goal is to guess which of the two races will be placed higher up in the standings. Also, just as one can back a bet, they can do the opposite via the “Not” markets, for example, Not Winner, which works basically as laying a bet. So if the punter is confident that one of the underdogs will win the race, he’s free to back them all by placing the favourite in the Not Winner market. On top of Not winner, there are Not Place and Not Show markets.
Greyhound racing is the only game in NSoft’s virtual games portfolio that uses real-life footage with RNG software in the background to electronically generate results. What inspired NSoft to use real-life footage? Why greyhound racing?
As one of the earliest products in our portfolio, Greyhound Races was the trailblazer for other NSoft Virtual Games to come. Footages of real events were at the time, and still are a great basis for RNG games. On top of Greyhound Races, Slot Car Races are also a game that uses real-life footage with RNG software.
Virtual greyhound races last under four minutes, consisting of announcement, countdown, race and results. How do you keep the player engaged from one race to the next?
The main pillar of the player engagement is the UI. It must be engaging itself, and allow the player to browse the statistics and the current offer of markets, or on the other hand, the future offers via the schedule feature. If the player chooses to switch context while waiting for the start of the race, having a wide offer of products to choose from on his disposal, he’s free to place a side bet on one of the other products from our portfolio and get back in time to enjoy the visualization of the race.
NSoft has recently partnered with Bets Plus, a Zimbabwean betting operator. Could you tell us more about the agreement with Bets Plus?
NSoft has been present in Zimbabwe for years now with its portfolio of virtual games and I believe Bets Plus, our latest partner from Zimbabwe, appreciates that kind of experience and NSoft’s know-how. It is always smart to provide your players with the games that they are already used to. We can see that with Golden Race products in Nigeria or NSoft’s products in Romania. Changing players’ preferences in terms of virtual content that they enjoy is a long and ever-evolving process that all virtual games providers face at some point.
So the NSoft’s knowledge of the Zimbabwe market paired up with the diligence and commitment we are seeing from the Bets Plus team is the perfect recipe for success in this beautiful country.
What opportunities and challenges does the African market present for NSoft? How do you see the African market developing over the next 12 months?
It is hard to talk about the African market in general with such diversity present. Uganda is the retail predominant market with the slow development of the online segment while its next-door neighbor Kenya is an online-based betting market. So without taking into consideration the big differences in the regulatory aspect of markets, the differences are huge.
But there are a few facts that are true for pretty much all African countries:
• Each country has a very young population that enjoys consuming sports content of any kind so sportsbetting and virtual games betting are very popular
• Out of 54 countries on the continent, there are only 3 or 4 that have a negative GDP growth rate so it is evident that African economies are growing strong
• Since the average age of the population, in pretty much all African countries, is low and new technologies are getting more and more affordable it is safe to say that the African population is very tech-savvy
The above-mentioned facts prove that the opportunity is there for products such as virtual games. In terms of challenges, I believe there is no need to talk about infrastructure or unpredictable markets which are usually the main aspects. NSoft has developed solutions such as Satellite streaming for its virtual games or Portable POS than completely annulate the challenges of poor infrastructure and in terms of instability of certain markets. Partnering up with locals provides us with a competitive perspective and allowing NSoft to stay one step ahead.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge now, and will continue to be in the next 12 months is regulatory acts that define the betting marketplace. Some countries are on the brink of destroying the complete market due to greed and impatience in executing abnormal tax rates and fees. These moves are pushing the market underground which is bad for everybody involved – from the players to the state. NSoft will do everything at its disposal to share the experience and good practices that we see in worldwide countries but we cannot make a difference on our own.
Could you tell us about your plans for 2020?
NSoft is looking to establish a presence around the world by having our employees based across all timezones from Asia to Latin America in order to provide better assistance to our partners and to spread our footprint even more globally.
We will continue providing one of the broadest portfolios of products and services which has allowed us to partner up with platform providers, betting operators, data providers, content providers and pretty much every other type of company in this great industry.