VSoftCo has been in the news recently after agreeing a multi-year deal to integrate its branded football game VStriker and a branded variant of Spot The Ball on Leander Games.
To mark the start of a busy summer for the virtual sports specialist, we caught up with the company’s sales director Simon Westbury to discuss motion capture filming at Bramall Lane, the strategic importance of its partnership with Sheffield United FC and the impact of its recent move into the South American market.
SBC: How much of an impact has the week of motion capture filming at Bramall Lane had on your virtual products?
SW: The impact has been huge; it has allowed us to update our product with all the latest developments for the world of football and incorporate them into our updated version. A small example of this is the incorporation of the new kick off into our virtual game.
Additionally, we have been able to work with professional football players to gain insight into the game and then take these findings to increase the realism of Fantastic League. We have included new types of fouls that have come from the professional players from their experiences in League One last year.
We were also able to capture of 500 different sequences, meaning that Fantastic League now has over 2000 different sequences. The maths guys have told me that from the incorporation of these sequences, there is now a one in nine million chance of seeing the same sequence repeated.
In a nutshell, the week of motion capture at Bramall Lane has allowed us to increase the realism of Fantastic League and allowed the team to gain insight from professional footballers, ensuring that we use our unique real time rendered technology to provide the most exciting experience for a punter.
SBC: How do you ensure that VSoftCo makes the most out of its connection to Sheffield United FC?
SW: The connection we have with Sheffield United (SUFC) is a special one and it goes past just the football. We were delighted to be showcase Beautiful Down Bramall Lane last Saturday at the Kell Brook fight where VSoftCo were able to host clients and partners. Despite Kell not getting the result everyone wanted, the team at SUFC put on a great show despite the tragic events in Manchester.
We work closely with the club on a daily basis to see when we can get into the training ground to run more motion capture sessions, and we are looking to incorporate the prozone stats SUFC use on player and team analysis into Fantastic League.
Now Sheffield United are back in the Championship, VSoftCo will be using the unique match day experience at Bramall Lane to continue to host and entertain, clients and partners.
Finally, I am speaking to SBC founder Rasmus Sojmark about the possibility of hosting a charity game on the pitch at the end of 2017/18 seasons for our industry peers. The Betting on Football conference has shown the great crossover between gaming and football, and VSoftCo would like to offer the industry the opportunity to play on the oldest professional stadium in the world.
SBC: How do you assess the impact of your move into the South American market with lottery provider IVISA?
SW: The IVISA deal is a very exciting deal for VSoftCo and we are looking forward to the product going live in the next month. The IVISA deal is a deal that really signifies the global reach of our product and we are delighted to be partnering with such a well known local partner.
Since ICE, VSoftCo has enjoyed the best year in its history, signing seven deals with key partners including InBet, Leander, Ezugi, Infinity and Spreadex. I am not sure other virtual providers have matched this volume of deals.
SBC: Is there a specific innovation that you expect to see entering the virtual football space in the second half of 2017?
SW: I recently discussed this on a panel at Betting on Football, and we all agreed that the next big innovation to come into virtual sports is in play betting. This is a challenge that all providers are looking into.
I truly believe that our unique real time technology gives us the edge here. We are currently the only provider to offer a first goalscorer market and this market alone accounts for 30% of bets for our clients in Italy.
I believe VSoftCo can use this technology to offer the first real in play betting markets; the use of pre-rendered technology by our competitors throws up challenges that VSoftCo do not need to overcome.
Finally, we are about to launch a new product with a client that will be based on spread markets rather than fixed odds betting, and I think this will be an interesting development for the virtual football space and I am excited to see how it performs.