Understanding the esports opportunity

first_img Topics: Esports Rohini Sardana is head of product propositions at SIS (Sports Information Services), a 24/7 betting services, multi-channel supplier. Rohini is a senior digital gaming professional with 15+ years of product management and commercial experience, and previously held several senior roles such as Commercial Director – VLTs at Inspired Gaming Group. At SIS, Rohini has been responsible for the development of the company’s new esports product, SIS Competitive Gaming.Rohini Sardana speaks to iGaming Business and outlines the challenges and opportunities presented by the burgeoning esports betting verticalThe continued growth of esports has presented a significant challenge and opportunity for mainstream operators, many of whom have been exploring how to optimise this relative newcomer to the betting landscape.With market research providers such as Newzoo predicting a 14.4% compound annual growth rate of the global esports audience between 2016 and 2021 to approximately 557 million, bookmakers know that they cannot afford to ignore the vertical, especially given its significant engagement amongst younger demographics.However, according to Rohini Sardana, the head of product propositions at SIS, the approach of just “cutting and pasting” esports events (with the accompanying data) to a sportsbook has not gained significant traction with bettors to date.“Esports is a high growth sector and media coverage is at an all-time high, but the reality is that a lot of mainstream operators are finding it a challenge to translate this into significant revenues or profits,” Sardana says.So, what are the challenges that esports face as a betting vertical, and how can operators combat them? ComplicatedSardana says “Our market research into the current esports landscape revealed that with current esports betting events, there is a lack of engagement amongst existing sports bettors, who are more knowledgeable and comfortable with traditional sports events.“If you look at streams of most esports – for example, Dota 2,  the screens are very busy and the events can be complicated to price up, and the events last for a relatively long time, so it isn’t easy for a punter to dip in and out,” Sardana adds.“If you ask any traditional sports bettor, they don’t yet fully understand these games and are unfamiliar with esports players and teams, which represents barriers to engaging with esports events and betting on them.At this stage, she says, “There is also a fragmented network of rights across different territories, as well as different games, tournament formats and players, impacting the offer available to customers. Multiple data points in games and changes in player rosters as well as games updates, make it difficult to price up events, therefore, it can be hard to find traders with both the mathematical background and the understanding of the games and their many intricacies.”Another necessity, Sardana says, is low latency between pictures and priceswhen pricing live events for online, which is essential for operators to maintain margins. Delays can inevitably raise questions from operators about the credibility of esports betting and its feasibility as a business proposition. SolutionHowever, Sardana maintains that these challenges can be overcome with a change in perspective. The starting point is to avoid treating esports like any other sports betting vertical.“It is important to appreciate the differences with esports in comparison with other sports, rather than the similarities,” Sardana says.“At the very start of the process, operators need to think about who they are targeting. A few mainstream operators have gained some traction with the data-bundle route, but that is only by investing heavily in the tech stack and in personnel who understand and live and breathe esports.Alternative approaches including endemic sportsbook-established operators such as Luckbox and Unikrn, as well as the “destination esports lobbies” created by the likes of Pinnacle and Kindred, have far more chance of long-term success, Sardana adds.While this approach has worked for some, Sardana suggests it may not be the right approach for everyone. Providing sports bettors with an easier route into esports with familiar games and markets may be the key, as opposed to a product format which currently mainly resonates with those already familiar with gaming. SIS Competitive GamingSardana says: “In developing our product proposition, we carried out extensive market research with both operators and bettors to understand the current challenges in the esports space. One of the main challenges for operators were that the types of games and data available for them, are typically not suited to current sports bettors.”These insights led SIS to create SIS Competitive Gaming, an esports betting product which has been designed and optimised for sportsbooks. It features live streams of head to head competitions between gamers on popular sports titles, with quick-fire events, providing results within minutes.“Feedback on our esports proposition from operators and sports bettors was extremely positive, with sports bettors telling us they preferred markets that were similar to what they are used to.”SIS is currently working with several sportsbooks to integrate this product in 2020, with Sardana adding: “Our product is aimed at sports bettors and has been built with bettors in mind. We believe that in breaking from the current status quo, our product is really innovative, and this is reflected in the events that SIS Competitive Gaming offers, which are more akin to existing sports events offered by bookmakers.“The integrity of the product is also been very important for us. We have ESIC membership and robust processes in place, including dedicated integrity referees to monitor matches” Sardana says.“Providing operators with easy integration is key, and our games are similar to mainstream sports formats, which makes processes more straightforward.“It’s evident that esports is a vertical which cannot be ignored, as it presents a significant opportunity for operators to differentiate themselves, and to provide incremental, frequent betting opportunities for their customers. The key is to identify the right approach for the audience you are targeting”. Understanding the esports opportunity AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Rohini Sardana outlines the challenges and opportunities presented by the burgeoning esports betting vertical Esports Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 17th December 2019 | By Josephine Watsonlast_img read more

"Understanding the esports opportunity"

Gaming Realms slips to loss despite licensing growth in 2019

first_img Topics: Finance 28th April 2020 | By contenteditor Email Address Mobile-focused games developer Gaming Realms has reported a comprehensive loss of £5.4m (€6.6m/$7.1m) for 2019, despite its licensing business driving a year-on-year increase in revenue.Total continuing revenue for the 12 months to 31 December 2019 amounted to £6.9m, up by 11.3% from £6.2m in the previous year.Licensing revenue accounted for the majority of this overall total, with the £4.1m generated in 2019 being 86.4% higher than £2.2m 2018. Gaming Realms put this down to the implementation of its strategy of growing both its games content and distribution to more operators in Europe and the US.However, social publishing revenue was down 28.2% from £3.9m to £2.8m as a result of tighter cost control during the year, which the developer said saw both marketing and operating expenses fall.In terms of how this impacted overall costs for continuing operations, marketing spend for the year was down from £665,363 to £212,473, though operating expenses climbed 66.4% to £1.5m.Administrative spending was also up by 16.3% from £4.9m to £5.7m, but Gaming Realms noted that costs related to impairment of financial assets were down to £200,000, while share-based payments fell from £67,824 to £9,972.Loss before tax from continuing operations stood at £4.7m, compared to £6.0m in the previous year, while after taking into account tax credit, this loss came in at £4.6m, an improvement on £5.6m in 2018.However, when looking at discontinued operations, which related to B2C real-money gaming and affiliate marketing, Gaming Realms noted a loss after tax of £783,451, in comparison to a profit of £6.6m in the previous year.In July 2019, Gaming Realms completed the sale of its Bear Group B2C subsidiary to River iGaming, marking its exit from the UK real-money B2C market as it looked to focus more on game development and licensing activities.The developer’s affiliate marketing business was sold in March 2018 for £2.4m – a deal that helped push profit up in the same year.As such, when coupled with loss from continuing operations, total loss for the year amounted to £5.4m, compared to a profit of £929,304 in 2018. When also taking into account a loss of £305,671 from translation of foreign operations, total comprehensive loss totalled £5.7m, down from a profit of £1.4m.Reflecting on the results, Gaming Realms executive chairman Michael Buckley was upbeat, focusing on how the developer had disposed of certain businesses in order to drive its licencing arm. Buckley gave comment after Patrick Southon left his role as chief executive in February this year.“In 2019 we disposed of the B2C business to allow the group to concentrate solely on the development and licensing of our Slingo online gaming content,” Buckley said.“During the year we increased our games portfolio, secured key partnerships with industry leaders and broadened our international reach and audience. I am delighted to report that this progress has continued into the current year.”In terms of current performance, Buckley said licensing revenues for Q1 of 2020 were 90% ahead of the same period of 2019, while the developer is operating ahead of the board’s forecast.Buckley also referenced the ongoing situation with novel coronavirus (Covid-19), saying the business has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of its staff and those it works with.“While it is impossible to predict the duration of this situation, we continue to experience a high level of demand for our products which supports the board’s confidence in the future prospects of the business,” he said. Tags: Mobile Subscribe to the iGaming newslettercenter_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Finance Mobile-focused games developer Gaming Realms has reported a comprehensive loss of £5.4m (€6.6m/$7.1m) for 2019, despite its licensing business driving a year-on-year increase in revenue. Gaming Realms slips to loss despite licensing growth in 2019last_img read more

"Gaming Realms slips to loss despite licensing growth in 2019"