Esports versus virtual sports

9 September 2020 | ,

With the world still fully in the eye of the storm that is COVID-19, live sports have on the most part all but ceased. With this vacuum in sporting entertainment, esports and virtual sports have burst into the limelight. These 2 online-based ‘sports’ have become an alternative for traditional sports fans and punters alike. 

What is the difference between the esports and virtual sports? 


Simply put, esports is organized video gaming at a competitive level, played by professionals. The games played vary from first-person shooter iterations such as Counterstrike and Call of Duty, to sports games such a FIFA and NBA 2K. These games, streamed online and available to view live at the same time, transform gaming into a spectator sport. 

Esport players generally practice and compete in their respective game, much like traditional sports professionals do. And as with traditional sports, the prize money on offer in esports tournaments is substantial indeed. 

Tournaments host the most popular games, thus providing a level of excitement to esports- much like the frenzy associated with sporting moments such as the Football World Cup. The ability to follow the progress of esports stars is not dissimilar to the following of certain sports celebrities in the traditional sporting world.  

The e sports industry is a lucrative one for all involved. Players, game developers and tournament organisers all benefit. One must not forget the online sports betting industry either. 

Virtual Sports 

Virtual Sports, inspired by real life sporting events such as football and horse racing, are computer-generated sports, that have no human intervention. This leaves the result of the game dependent on advanced algorithms and random number generator software.  

The path and outcome of the match are based on the virtual player skill. This thus creates an accurate simulation. Virtual sports are effectively recreations of actual sporting events, whereby no players actively control the outcome. Since the events in the matches themselves are all computer generated, the results are fair for all. 

While esports require a level of game and player knowledge, starting out in virtual sports does not require that level of investment. All one needs is time and a willingness to understand the relevant game. 

As with esports, virtual sports are also significant players in the online sports betting industry.  

How does betting in Esports and Virtual Sports differ? 

Traditional sports betting has taken a back seat during the current pandemic. Both esports and virtual sports have conversely enjoyed a surge in popularity. Sports bettors have shifted their focus to these 2 online offerings. One could predict that even once traditional sport resumes, the market share gained by esports and virtual sports betting will not be all lost.  

Esports betting 

Esports betting is straight forward, and it is not unlike the live sport model. Wagers are made on who is predicted to win an event, based on the odds provided. 

One of the many reasons for the popularity around e-sports betting, is the fact that games / tournaments occur year-round. They do not have specific seasons, as is the norm in traditional sports. For punters looking for consistent action in the game of their choice, esports provide the perfect medium in which to meet this demand.  

Virtual sports betting 

Virtual sports betting allows punters to bet as they would in live matches. Statistics would be the major base for predictions within virtual sports. In live sport, there are many real-world factors that do not come into consideration in virtual sports, such as player injuries, weather etc.  

Virtual sports occur over a brief period of time. Matches are over within minutes and are available around the clock. This allows for many games to take place, and thus just as many opportunities to place bets. 

Jika sports, an example of a virtual sports betting platform has recently launched in South Arica. Football and horse racing are the games on offer. Games take place every 6 minutes, and thus new bets occur at these intervals too. 

What is the future for esports and virtual sports? 

With no clear end in sight, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the world over. With challenges faced in the live sport arena, the opportunity for online alternatives is great. Both esports and virtual sports, while not new should both continue to prosper in the current environment. They have a great opportunity to gain new audiences in the foreseeable future. 

Similarly, the betting component around these 2 online sports should also continue to prosper in markets world over. 

For sports fans suffering from withdrawal symptoms from the lack of their favourite sport, this may be the perfect time to explore new online betting alternatives. 

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