The launch of the new VR project for Entain is a chance for it to “create something that will truly excite” its players through a focus on multi-sports entertainment.
Speaking to SBC News, Sandeep Tiku – COO of Entain – outlined his hopes for the new “sports club” experience, highlighting the ways in which the convergence of VR, esports, interactive betting and gaming can create new, multi-dimensional experiences for its customers.
SBC: What has been the most satisfying aspect of this partnership with Verizon?
ST: The most satisfying aspect of the project is seeing how changing consumer behaviours and rapidly evolving technical capabilities are coming together to create an opportunity to develop something that is genuinely new and exciting.
A very large part of the future of entertainment will be centred on immersive, multi-dimensional experiences. We are positioning Entain to be at the forefront of this emergent experience.
SBC: Working on your first VR project, Entain has chosen to focus on fostering a multi-sports entertainment environment over gambling. Why did you choose this objective?
ST: The most important thing for us is to create something that will excite the customer. Meeting – and hopefully exceeding – their expectations. The insights we have been provided by our consumer research, suggest what they are looking for is a multi-dimensional experience rather than something narrowly focused.
SBC: How do you see VR leading the next stage of sports visualisation and innovation for sportsbooks – what engagements are truly transferable from this technology?
ST: The way we look at it is that it is not about VR or any single technology per se, but about using convergent technologies, platforms and genres to create immersive experiences. The coming together of VR, esports, interactive betting and gaming will allow us to connect to customers in a new way and deliver new forms of entertainment.
SBC: From your tech experience and perspective, what are the common misconceptions of VR as a technology and entertainment experience?
ST: VR and immersive entertainment is not an iterative upgrade to the current mobile or desktop experiences, it is a complete gamechanger. Different audiences, technologies and sectors are coming together to create a brand new mega sector. We are at the genesis of that sector right now and the potential is enormous.
SBC: And finally, why has VR proved to be such a difficult innovation technology for all sports stakeholders – media, gaming, broadcast etc…?
ST: VR and the immersive experience it brings are creating a revolution in entertainment and of course with that comes technical challenges around getting the software and networking capabilities right.
That said, we are moving at an incredible pace to overcome those challenges. Whereas it arguably took the industry 15 years to develop a mature mobile first experience, we are likely to see a huge acceleration in developing the immersive entertainment experience of the future. Consumers have had a taste of the possibilities and are already creating demand. At Entain, we are hugely excited to be at the forefront of innovation to meet that demand.