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Insight on Virtual Sports: Real-life footage outperforms CGI
Interview with Jadranko Dragoje, MD of Seven Games
Although the mechanics of the game and the betting markets are identical, players engage more with the game that features videos from real-life races. Jadranko Dragoje, NSoft's MD of Seven Games, explains why computer-generated imagery has a long way to go before it can generate greater engagement than virtual sports titles utilising real-life footage and explores the potential of motion capture technology.
Virtual sports strive for a real-life and ultra-realistic feel
The technology that drives virtual games is constantly improving. We are in a stage where game engines produce staggeringly realistic 3D graphics and animations, often making it hard to distinguish from the real thing. We in the betting industry are also using this powerful technology to produce the best results for our players. We do it because we want our game to be as immersive as possible, to provide our players with an environment where they can feel comfortable. It’s how to tell players that a virtual game can be as entertaining as a real game.
The latest advancements in NSoft's virtual sports
Besides developing new games like Virtual Penalty Shootout and Virtual Drag Races, we are focused on releasing version 2 of our current virtual sports game. New versions of these games will have updated 3D motion and environment, as well as new features like localised racer names, additional animations, and brand-new UI. We are also updating our streaming technology to provide a better experience for the players.
NSoft's two Greyhound Race titles - one using CGI and the other real-life footage
We first developed the game with real-life footage, and the virtual one came later. We use both versions because different markets show different interests. No matter how close to real our virtual game is, real-life footage performs better, especially in our established markets. It is fair to state that we have more work ahead of us to make our CGI version of the games even better. We hope to accomplish this with version 2. We hope virtual games will come even closer to the real-life version's performance with the release of new models, animations, and UI.
NSoft's Greyhound Races combine pre-recorded race footage with an RNG running in the background. Streaming technology has significantly evolved over the years. From that perspective, the final product is better since it provides adaptive progressive encoding, giving players a good viewing experience no matter how bad their internet connection is.
The technology that combines the race footage and the RNG is the game logic itself, and it is relatively simple - choosing the right content for an unexpected result - without much change over the last few years.
Virtual Penalty Shootout - NSoft's first game made using motion capture technology
We offer Virtual Penalty Shootout on our online channel, and this product has shown to be quite good in enriching the online portfolio. It also taught us how to engage with motion capture technology, which will surely be part of our future game development. The game's simplicity makes it a great addition to online content - players don't have to wait long to get the results and move forward. From the release, we have seen a steady growth of this product.
The motion capture technology elevates the virtual sports
Motion capture has already opened up multiple possibilities in the betting industry. I would say that this is an indispensable part of the development process of any game that uses human models. As a result of technological improvements, we are bound to see more realistic and dynamic virtual sports games in the future.
The interview was prepared for the September 2022 issue of the G3 Magazine (Global Games and Gaming Magazine) in collaboration with G3 Newswire's team. The insight on Virtual Sports: The measure of success discusses all aspects of virtual sports.
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