Are Virtual Sports the Future?

Are Virtual Sports the Future?

Are we going to see a world of virtual sports in the future? We took a look at how they are being used in racing, and what we can expect to see, as many sports try to go digital.

In the world of horse racing and beyond, we are slowly seeing the introduction of virtual sports here and there. In some sectors, they have been very well-received, but in others they are taking off at a much slower rate. Could these be the future of many types of sports? Let’s take a closer look at whether or not this is a viable possibility.

What are Virtual Sports?

When you think of virtual sports, your mind might drift towards computer games and esports. However, these are not actually what these games are. These are more akin to simulations. They have been programmed by the gamemakers to mimic a real sport as closely as they can.

One example of this is horse racing. It is fairly easy for a professional game designer to create a game with a very similar premise to horse racing with a winner that crosses the line first. A special algorithm is built into the game to ensure that a different winner is picked each round to ensure that the game is as fair as possible. These have been put forward as an alternative to horse racing, especially if the races are not able to take place for some reason.

Have These Taken Off in Any Other Areas?

The move from real-life to a virtual space has taken off with some other games and competitions. The development of such games has therefore allowed for new variations to be developed, but also for new players to discover them.

A great example here can be found in the world of poker. While once only to be found in amateur games or in casinos, it has flourished online. Sites like allow people to enjoy a game of poker safely and whenever they feel like it. Online poker has been able to develop and take on a different form, and it has resulted in interest in the game growing. Could this be something that we also see for horse races?

Not as Good as the Real Deal

While virtual horse races are good in a pinch, at the moment they are nothing compared to the real thing. Horse racing is a lot more than just each individual race. More often than not, a fan can choose to follow a horse through its entire career. When something has been created by an algorithm, it is obviously not going to have the same history and legacy attached to it as a horse. Taking a look at a runner’s lineage and trying to determine how they might perform is never going to cut it.

At the same time, virtual horse races do not allow for some of the small moments that make a race so good. You can never tell when the firm favourite might misstep, or when the underdog of the race will go thundering across the finish line. Organic moments such as these are part of the reason why so many people adore following racing in the first place, and a virtual sport cannot offer them.

Virtual sports do have a time and a place where they suit being used, and here they have been enjoyed by many different fans. However, it is not on the racetrack quite yet. They have made quite an impact in other sectors so far, but it is unlikely that we will see them collect a serious market share of racing for quite some time. For now, we can expect horse racing to remain much the same as it has been for years – though a little innovation on the track is always going to be welcome!