Free drinks, free goody bags and free NFTs… that was reason enough to get some at MTM excited about attending ICE London, one of the largest annual gaming conferences in the UK.
Taking place at the ExCeL centre, you are immediately hit by a sensory overload as you walk through the first of two huge exhibition rooms to flashing lights, loud music and performers, all vying for your attention.
With so much on display – an e-sports arena, a crazy golf course, a Mario Kart tournament etc. – it’s hard to know where to start, so we thought we’d focus on some of the highlights of our experience, as well as the most interesting technology impacting on the gaming world.
The Esports Arena
‘Will Team Muhhn finish in the top 5?’ ‘Will Jelliedcorn get the first kill?’ These were the big questions being asked inside the ICE Esports arena where professional Esports team Vexed Gaming were playing in an Apex Legends tournament with live commentary from well-known streamers Morgan Merrett and John Pritchard.
Reflecting the growing popularity of e-sports betting, anyone who came into the arena to watch was given 15 free chips with which to bet on each match. These were no ‘token’ chips either, as each chip that was ‘cashed in’ at the end provided an opportunity to win a PS5!
With the odds changing in-the-moment depending on the team’s performance, the experience remained exciting throughout the entire day, prompting several repeat visits!
We’re still waiting to hear about our PS5 but this was certainly the highlight of the day.
One thing that couldn’t go unnoticed as we wandered around the various stalls, stages and spaces was the focus on ‘virtual sports betting’. Game providers for virtual football, horse racing, basketball, tennis etc. were all on display and it was clear to see that the technology behind it has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.
Brands like Kiron Interactive and GlobalBet are using state of the art motion-capture technology to create games that are more realistic than ever, helping to establish new betting markets. While many are still sceptical of the experience of betting on virtual sports, it was nonetheless fascinating to see the improvements and developments in the supporting tech over the last 5 years
Back in the world of betting on live sports, there was a host of emerging tech that seems poised to change the way that bettors engage with live sport while they’re watching.
Tech-company SnapOdds have developed technology that allows bettors to take a photo of a game they’re watching, across a range of different sports, with the service then providing them with a range of odds from across different betting providers.
In a similar vein, fintech company Trustly were promoting their tech that overlays QR codes on live football matches that allows bettors to make instant deposits by scanning with their phone.
It remains to be seen whether this technology will see mainstream adoption in the coming years. However, there’s clearly a focus in the industry on increasingly embedding betting options into the live sport experience, and we anticipate this process becoming more seamless in the future.