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Esports player engagement: Latency Vs Delay



Esports player engagement: Latency Vs Delay
Reading Time: 5 minutes


How does latency impact the success of the esports market? Is the industry paying this issue enough attention?

Regardless of whether it’s esports or traditional sports betting, latency is a critical issue that must always be considered in your market offering. The current levels of latency and delay in esports means that punters are at a significant disadvantage when they place bets – to the point that it detracts from the overall experience. Improving latency and delay is essential to achieving parity with the broader sports betting sector, and the future growth of esports betting more broadly.

The most important differentiator between esports and traditional sports is not latency but delay. Latency only refers to the common and often unavoidable situation where the video stream is lagging behind the real time gameplay. Delay, however, is an intentional feature in esports, used as a tool to increase the Tournament Organiser’s control over the broadcast content.

Purposely inputting delay is an industry standard these days and has a direct impact on player engagement. TO’s are constantly trying to find the right balance for delay, as they need to manage competitive and betting integrity against risk, while maintaining broadcast quality.

Although the issue of latency is being handled well in industry, the issue of delay is not. Many industry stakeholders are not attempting to overcome this challenge at all. It’s not just a matter of a few seconds, but many video streams can have up to 10 minutes delay!

The scale of this issue is completely different to any latency related issues. The impact it’s having on player engagement is game changing and I believe it’s an aspect that needs a lot more attention from our sector.

How important is the tier of tournament as a factor when influencing the impact of latency or delay in betting markets?

In esports, latency levels are heavily influenced by the tier of tournament or match. The lower tier esports leagues with more niche gaming titles typically will not have an official data supplier. There is no mass data feed for everyone to access. For matches like these, the punters, operators, players and spectators are all receiving their information from one place; the online stream, meaning no unfair edge when comparing data speed to stream speed. In situations like this, nobody has an advantage, so issues of delay and latency are far less problematic.

The biggest risks to gaming integrity are usually observed in the highest tiers of esports. Top level games that are being broadcast all over the globe and have official data feeds are where the issues of latency and delay have the biggest impact.

The delay between video feed and odds feed is most disparate with MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games such as League of Legends or DOTA 2.

MOBA games usually consist of continuous gameplay for 40 – 50 minutes with no pauses or rounds. Even with delays of up to 5 minutes, a lot can happen that will change the dynamic of the game and moreover, change the final result. This puts the operator at a greatly increased risk, making it unfair for punters using the stream content to make bets from irrelevant odds.

Games such as Counter-Strike and Valorant are ‘rounds based’ games, meaning their gameplay is a lot more fragmented. So, with a 5-minute delay, the viewer will only be 1 or 2 rounds behind at most which is typically not enough of a window to impact the final result of an entire match. Added to this the fact that punters are only allowed to bet on one round at a time, the opportunity to benefit from the time delay is notably minimised.

What can the key stakeholders in the top tier of esports do to decrease delay in the streams whilst still upholding the highest standards to sports integrity?

In esports there will always be an element of delay to ensure broadcast quality and the integrity of competition – particularly to prevent stream sniping and cheating during games. With this in mind there are two different approaches to this: decreasing delay or aligning data with this delay.

For broadcast and integrity reasons you can only reduce the delay to a certain level, but that still doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. Punters are still behind not by seconds, but by several minutes. And it’s the top tier esports events, particularly ones with exclusive data feeds, that have the biggest disparity of information between operator and punter. Which in turn stifles the live betting potential of the biggest events of the year.

The more equitable solution for the industry would be to align the delay of the data feed with that of the stream. It sounds very simple right?

Applying this change in a way that parallels the sports betting ecosystem not only creates a fairer environment for the end user, the punter, but unlocks so many more opportunities for live engagement.

Official rights holders should think carefully and partner with companies that will create a fair ecosystem and who give betting operators the best ability to not only maximise revenues but who can deliver the best customer betting experience. This status quo has gone on for too long with suppliers of non esports specific betting products holding rights packages for some (not all) tournaments and throttling betting turnover and user experience.

Even with no perceived delay, operators using suppliers with quality products will still be able to price markets efficiently, while giving the punters a better overall experience.

How does latency impact sports integrity and how can it be improved going forward?

The answer to this question is a double-edged sword: Latency and Delay.

For esports and its general viewing experience, latency plays a key role. Most data providers are already utilising advanced technology to optimise every part of the streaming process and keep latency levels to a minimum. I don’t believe there to be too much of an issue there.

The core challenge is associated with Delay. We’ve heard from many stakeholders in the industry who say that there is a major problem with unfair betting in esports because punters are being supplied old information.

Most esports bettors prefer to watch the live match stream while betting, enhancing their in-game experience. However, when they notice that the odds on screen are not accurately reflecting the streamed gameplay, players understandably become discouraged from further engagement as the levels of credibility are impacted.

Sports integrity and fairness are important factors but not the only side effect of delay in esports. Being able to create an exciting experience for the punter is business critical. They need to be able to interact with the gameplay in as close to real time as possible. Statistics show that matches with the biggest delays also have the lowest betting volume, further demonstrating the need for improvement in this area. Latency itself is not a problem, the current industry level is under 10 seconds which is not perfect but is not problematic as most people don’t have the means or knowledge to be able to exploit that level of latency. The key to enhanced customer experience and the highest levels of sports integrity is in being able to better manage the delay, keeping the most up to date data possible displayed on the screen.


BLAST partners with esports and video games betting platform unikrn



BLAST partners with esports and video games betting platform unikrn
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Esports entertainment company BLAST has announced a multi-year global partnership with unikrn, the most expansive video games and esports betting platform on the market.

As BLAST’s global partner, unikrn will be deeply embedded into the BLAST fan experience – including fan-led activations, social giveaways, broadcast integration, and physical / digital branding on the BLAST Premier tournament series and upcoming Paris Major.

unikrn will also own the BLAST Picks segment, where the BLAST broadcast talent team predicts their winners from each day’s play, along with PickEms whereby the Counter-Strike community have their say on predictions. More information on unikrn integration for the Paris Major will be announced closer to the event kickoff.

unikrn has one of the most expansive video games and esports betting platforms on the market, with the online bookmaker being built for the new generation of gamers and esports fans. The unikrn esportsbook brings premier esports tournaments and the biggest sporting events into one convenient place, giving players more titles, more markets and more ways to level up the fun every day.

unikrn, available now in Brazil and Canada, with exception of Ontario, is built for the new generation of gamers and esports fans and aims to expand its global footprint throughout the BLAST partnership. The unikrn esportsbook brings premier esports tournaments and the biggest sporting events into one convenient place, giving players more titles, more markets and more ways to level up their fun every day. In addition to their traditional sportsbook and casino offering, the platform also offers players an opportunity to bet on their own skills with its UMode product, as well as Moneymatch, which gives players the opportunity to face off in public or private lobbies across a variety of different titles, with bragging rights and real money on the line.

Oliver Clarke, Commercial Director at BLAST, said: “We are delighted to welcome on board unikrn as our latest global partner. Their tailored esports and gaming offering means fans of the Paris Major and BLAST Premier tournament series have a safe, secure and dedicated betting platform. 2023 is an exciting year for BLAST with more events happening than ever before and we are thrilled to have unikrn join us on this momentous journey.”

“BLAST is an epicenter of action for esports fans around the world and has produced some of the most memorable moments in the history of competitive Counter-Strike play,” said unikrn CEO Justin Dellario. “unikrn is built for these moments, when fans are looking for the deepest and best possible experience as they root on their favorite players and teams. We are thrilled to be BLAST’s partner, and to bring our world-class insights and betting opportunities to its millions of fans.”

BLAST Premier is a worldwide Counter-Strike tournament series where the best teams and biggest superstars fight it out for glory and a multi-million dollar prize pool. These tournaments attract tens-of-thousands of fans to live events in big arenas from London and Copenhagen to Miami and Sao Paulo, with millions more watching at home on broadcast in over 150 territories and in 25 different languages.

The Paris Major is one of the most renowned and highly-regarded esports events in the calendar year, giving thousands of teams from all around the world an opportunity to compete for a £1.25 million prize pool, a chance to etch their names in Counter-Strike folklore and a shot at being named the best team in the world.

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Viperio and Luckbox Join Forces for the BLAST EU RMR A



Reading Time: < 1 minute


Viperio, the North East of England’s leading esports club, and Luckbox, an award-winning provider of licensed, real money esports betting, sports betting and casino games, announced a new partnership for Viperio’s run in the BLAST Paris Major EU RMR A in Copenhagen this April.

The partnership will see Luckbox become an official sponsor of Viperio as they take on the best teams in Europe for a chance at competing in the last ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major in Paris later this year. As part of the sponsorship, Luckbox will feature as a new core sponsor on the Viperio jersey and social media accounts. The two organisations will also be collaborating on a series of new digital content, set to release in the coming weeks.

Viperio’s run in the BLAST Paris Major EU RMR A will take place live from the BLAST Studio in Copenhagen, April 6-9. Viperio’s first fixture is against global leading esports club FNATIC in a best of one series at 11:30 am BST (12:30 pm CEST).

“I’m happy to welcome Luckbox as an official sponsor ahead of our Counter-Strike team’s run in the upcoming Regional Major Raking event in Copenhagen this April. It’s great to have a market leader like Luckbox back our team as we hope to challenge some of the biggest names on the planet and try to qualify for the last ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major,” Christopher Sword, Founder of Viperio, said.

“Viperio’s qualification to the RMR is really exciting. I’m a big Viperio fan, and having them join forces with Luckbox to create hype around the RMR and make memories for fans around the world is a great opportunity. I looked forward to seeing their journey on the path to Paris,” Dave Souza, Head of Communications at Luckbox, said.

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Tekken star Abhinav Tejan and eFootball ace Ibrahim Gulrez crowned champions of NESC 2023; qualify for 15th World Esports Championships



Reading Time: 4 minutes


Putting up stellar performances, notable Tekken athlete Abhinav Tejan and eFootball pro Ibrahim Gulrez triumphed in the finals of the National Esports Championships (NESC) 2023 organized by the Esports Federation of India (ESFI) and secured their berths at the global finals of the 15th World Esports Championships (WEC) which will take place in Iasi, Romania from August 24 – September 4, 2023.

The 15th World Esports Championship 2023 will have a whopping prize pool of $500,000 (INR 4.12 crore) and is set to be the largest edition of the tournament to date with at least 130 countries participating in eFootball, DOTA 2, Tekken7, Mobile Legends, PUBG: Mobile and CS:GO.

Despite starting from the loser bracket, Tejan who is a well-renowned name from the Tekken7 community proved his mettle against other top athletes of the country and will be representing India at the WEC for a record 6th time. The 29-year-old who won the South Asia regional finals of the Tekken World Tour 2022 last year defeated Loveneet in the grand finals by 3-2, 3-2.

“I have won a lot of tournaments in these past few years but winning the NESC 2023 was really important to me I had lost two times in it in the past 2 years. So, I wanted to make a comeback by winning it this year. Qualifying for the IESF finals in Romania had given me the chance to represent India for the 6th time in IESF finals which is personally a really proud moment. I am really looking forward to the finals where I will try my level best to get my country a medal this year,” said Abhinav Tejan.

Similar to Tejan, Gulrez also began his campaign from the loser bracket and displayed immense perseverance as well as high-quality gameplay to become the eFootball champion. He beat Pritesh Quinton Dsouza (bad_pritt) by winning the first round by 3-2 and the second round by 3-0 to seal his maiden qualification at the WEC.

“The feeling is really amazing. I have been trying to achieve this feat for the last couple of years and to finally get there feels amazing. My victory involved a mixture of hard work and some luck. One can only feel that happiness after trying so hard to win the competition for the last couple of seasons,” said Ibrahim Gulrez.

Alongside Tekken and eFootball, the esteemed national qualifiers were also organized for popular PC titles CS:GO and DOTA 2.

In CS:GO (Open), Team Orgless5 toppled the two-time NESC champions Team Wicked Gaming by winning the finals by 2-0. Comprising team captain Harsh Jain (f1redup), Jaspreet Singh (SpawN), Sadab Khan (SK wow^), Piyush Kalwania (clouda), Nikhil Kathe (N1kace) and substitute Omkar Thube (omkar09), the team was dominant throughout the tournament and produced scintillating performances against India’s leading CS:GO teams.

“Our motto to win the qualifiers was to trust the process, trust ourselves and trust our decisions. We worked extremely hard to defeat the country’s best CS:GO teams and become the champions. The World Esports Championships are very important for us and now we will prove ourselves in the regional qualifiers to qualify for the global finals as well,” said Harsh Jain, captain of Team Orgless5.

On the other hand, Team Top G comprising skipper Manav Kunte (mnz), Vishal Vernekar (HBK), Abhishek Yadav (Abhi-), Shahbaz Hussain (PinkMaN), Krish Gupta (Krish`) and substitute Jaikishan Malik (KaEL) prevailed in the finals of DOTA 2 by defeating Team Mob with a 2-0 score line in the finals. The squad’s notable players Vishal and Abhishek were also part of the historic DOTA 2 team that won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Esports Championships in 2022.

“We are beyond ecstatic to win the DOTA 2 India Qualifiers and it is an honour for us to represent India on the international stage. We have put in countless hours of practice, analyzing every move, and strategizing every play to reach this point, and it’s an incredible feeling to see our hard work pay off. The team has an unbreakable bond and we know that we can achieve anything if we keep this synergy together. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to ESFI for providing us with this amazing opportunity to showcase our skills on a national platform and we promise to give our best shot to bring home the championship,” said Manav Kunte, captain of Team Top G.

Team Orgless5 and Top G will now be participating in the upcoming Asia regional qualifiers to qualify for the global finals of WEC 2023. The teams will first be competing in the South Asian qualifiers in online mode and upon qualifying will play the regional finals offline. The dates of the regional qualifiers will be announced by the International Federation soon.

One of the country’s top sports & Esports communication agencies, Artsmith-Concepts & Visions, will continue its support to the Esports Federation of India as their official communication partner. NESC23 was also supported by Upthrust (Event Partner), Inox (Multiplex Partner) & Hama (Training Partner)

The NESC’23 concluded on Monday, March 27 and witnessed a total participation of 275 athletes from all over the country.

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