How has technology changed sport?

watching sport on tv

Its much easier nowadays to keep track of the world’s sporting action. Instead of having to huddle round a radio, or rifle through the sports section for yesterday’s scores, we can read live updates from competitions all over the world on sites like BBC Sport.

In fact, many technological innovations in media have been driven by sport. The first ever transatlantic broadcast, in 1962, showed part of a baseball game between the Phillies and Cubs; the first time many European viewers had watched the sport. When the BBC first attempted to broadcast live football, in 1938, they had to organise a friendly between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves. Just 16 years later British viewers were able to enjoy live broadcasts of the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland.

The invention of the internet however has exponentially increased our opportunities not just to observe, but to interact with live games, talk with fellow fans and react instantly to in match events with live betting markets.

One area where technology has definitely made a difference is in on field discipline, through so called “instant replay” systems which allow referees to re-watch contentious events. Instant review is already widely used in NFL, Tennis and Cricket, though football officials are still cautious of the innovation.

Instant review technology takes a lot of human error out of tight decisions, for example in cricket an infrared camera can check for a “hot spot” on a bat to see if it was nicked by a ball. In games with very tight, technical decisions; instant review allows play to proceed more smoothly and helps reduce uncertainty – something welcomed by fans and players.

The cameras that silently record and broadcast games don’t just put those images on your TV; the broadcasts are sold to a number of sources for various purposes. Bookies have both human and computer supervision over the live feeds before updating their odds. If an NFL player is making a run towards the goal line; you’ll see the odds on that player scoring diminish the closer he gets to home!

If you actively bet on sports, especially on in-play markets, its easy to get confused by the profusion of odds you’ll be flooded with; which may be presented in different formats at different times. Using the betting calculator at bookies.com you can get a full breakdown on the odds and plan out your bets, as well as learning your options for each-way and place bets.

Technology has definitely changed the way we play and watch sport. Video recording innovations have (for the most part) made official decisions easier and more consistent; and its arguably the viewing experience which has changed the most. Not only can we watch almost any pro sports game live in full HD, we can tweet the commentators and even talk to players after the game with social media. The whole way through, you’ll have been listening to commentary, making bets or even reading live analysis online!

 

 

 

EA Sports FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT)

FIFA Ulitimate Team Improvements

ea sports fif15

The recent trailer for EA Sports’ FIFA 15, as always, looked fantastic. Gameplay looks silky smooth and with next-generation consoles, player intelligence should be at never before seen heights.

FIFA 15 is a very big release for EA, it could be the football game to finally break the US market. The World Cup is boosting football’s profile over in the States. Their recent match against Portugal was watched by a record 25million people, and despite them not being fancied with bet365 the U.S. players have performed valiantly and are continuing to upset the odds.

The point being, with America having a heightened interest in football, they should be more inclined to buy FIFA or PES. Both need to up their game in order to dominate the lucrative American market.

Everyone’s favourite FIFA mode is FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) which is arguably the most played online mode of any video game, but, like all things, there is room for improvement.

 fifa-15-ultimate team

Pink Slip Matches

A pink slip match is where you take on a fellow player online and staking a designated player, usually a rare player to make matches more tense. This form of betting is proving extremely popular with FUT players, hell, nearly 1 million people just go on YouTube to watch WS2 play a pink slip match. The problem with the current system is that it is all based on trust, there is no guarantee that you will get your card. You could beat a guy fair and square but there is nothing forcing them into giving you their guy. By incorporating a pink slip match option not only will EA appease the masses but they will make the game considerably better.

 

Customisation

Does it not seem odd that you can create your dream team but not your own kit or badge? On the PES’ of old people used to spend precious hours making their kit perfect, people liked the amount of customisation allotted to them back then. For the game’s programmers, it is literally a five minute job to add it to the game engine. You could have tie-ins like different sponsors depending on which league you are, which helps keep the kits fresh etc.

 

The ability to win player

If you or your mate play FUT then you will know about the dangers of being sucked in by special player packs. You end up spending about £10 worth of coins and in return all you get is Tom Cleverley. You see more people grow disillusioned in their pursuit of players than they are after a loss. So why not have tournaments where rare players are available to win? For example, you could have a Team of the Year tournament involving 108 players, the winner gets to pick whoever he wants and the last eight get a random rare player. This would also help the tournaments regain some prevalence.

 

Crack down on quitters

With next-gen consoles you feel that connections errors are a thing of the past, so hopefully EA will be able to start punishing those petulant quitters. Quitters are the bane of every gamers life and have no place online. If they quit, EA should enforce some draconian punishments, such as removing one of their players or imposing temporary bans. Just like simulation in football, this problem needs to be eradicated and the only way to do that is by being tough.

 

Who will you back to win Wimbledon?

Who will you back to win Wimbledon?

wimbledon

England may be out of the World Cup, but fear not, Wimbledon’s only just begun and Andy Murray, last year’s hero, returns to the Wimbledon’s centre court to defend his title. We don’t have to pretend we’re still interested in the football without a UK team to back; we can simply switch our affections and our TV viewing to tennis and get behind our beloved Murray.

Obviously, there’s no sure thing when it comes to tennis, but Betfair and other betting sites certainly seem to suggest that Murray is in with a pretty good chance of retaining his crown. He’s second favourite on Betfair, just behind Novak Djokovic, while the other top contenders for the Men’s Singles Championships are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. You can get odds at www.betfair.com if you want to place a bet on your favourite player before the first week is over.

Although the majority of the British public would like to see Murray win again, a victory for Roger Federer would be a record-breaker. Federer has won the most Wimbledon titles in history – along with Pete Sampras. Both players have won seven Men’s Singles titles at Wimbledon, the only of the four tennis majors to be played on grass. If Federer wins again this year, he will stand alone as the only player to have won Wimbledon eight times. Federer’s already become father to a second set of twins this year and breaking his own Wimbledon record could be the icing on the cake for the Swiss star.

However, just because Federer and Murray’s potential victories might be more sentimentally pleasing for the crowds, there’s no reason to think that Djokovic and Nadal can’t see victory this year. Djokovic has dominated the international tennis scene for a number of years now, but only has one Wimbledon title. Nadal, on the other hand, recently won the French Open for the ninth time, and with only two Wimbledon wins to his name, he may be keen to increase that quota of this year!

As Betfair is a betting exchange where you can lay (accept) people’s bets as well as place your own, you might want to take a shrewder view and take advantage of British love for Andy Murray to win by laying the Scot!

Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift will inspire new breed of virtual reality

Virtual Reality

by  Phillie Casablanca

It was two and a half months ago that Facebook revealed their $2billion leap of faith with virtual reality concepts, buy announcing the acquisition of Oculus VR, the most advance virtual reality headset available on the market today.

This ground-breaking development makes clear one thing, the world, or Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg at least, believe virtual reality to be the next conquest in computing platforms and why shouldn’t it be? The graphics on gaming platforms these days are spectacular, with many visuals leaving fans in awe due to the realism that is on the screen before them, not to mention the added bonus of being able to manipulate what you do and where you do it, in this virtual reality that is being conceptualised.

When the idea is put to good thought, we are actually not that far away from advancing technology to a virtual reality era. As mentioned previously the graphics on gaming platforms are now incredibly enthralling, leaving little to the imagination due to the specifics and attention to detail. Virtual sports in gambling are not that far away from pristine quality either.

bgo, for example, offers an extensive range of virtual sports to enjoy. This includes virtual cycling, held at the BGO Velodrome (extremely reminiscent of a certain other Velodrome!) and virtual tennis to stake your bets on. Imagine, with virtual reality technology, staking a bet on one of those virtual sports, putting on your virtual reality goggles and taking a seat in the virtual audience to see how your bet gets on first hand? No worries about injuries, weather or disqualification, your virtual sport-star is entirely responsible for your success or failure.

Alright, admittedly, that wouldn’t be as fun as actually playing tennis, but still, the idea would likely see huge support and success, given the speed at which virtual sports are played. Imagine it as watching a shortened version of a sport, with more speed, more action and more enjoyment!
The action wouldn’t stop with virtual sports though, as other virtual genres would undoubtedly see success as well, such as role playing games, action adventures and even driving games. But thinking too much about the future of virtual reality would be getting ahead of ourselves at this stage. After all, Oculus does not offer products available for purchase as of yet, with the only thing on the market being a prototype for developers to buy, and even then that costs a whopping $350.

Virtual reality does indeed have the potential to usher in a new era of how we communicate learn and even play, the $2billion buy-out fee Facebook paid to get the Oculus software tells us that much for sure, but don’t expect it to be any time soon. A project of this magnitude should be time to adapt and progress naturally; otherwise a rushed version could tarnish many people’s beliefs that virtual reality is the next big thing to conquer in technology.

Does Ronaldo Really Have Such Fancy Finger-work?

Does Ronaldo Really Have Such Fancy Finger-work?

ronaldo

Ronaldo, pictured here, stars in his very own PokerStars ad, image from Wikipedia

Former AC Milan striker and footballing legend Ronaldo has just surpassed his first year’s anniversary since becoming a brand ambassador for the casino company PokerStars. Despite being more well-known these days ‘The Brazilian Ronaldo’, after the emergence of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, the player rolled back the years and showed some applaud-able skills with several poker chips during his first advertisement for the company. Only there was one problem, the skill was no longer with his feet, but with his fingers.

The ad shows the Samba star flicking, spinning, throwing and catching a poker chip around between his fingers, before dazzling the camera by seemingly pulling three chips from what originally just one. The ad was used to promote PokerStars and their free poker online to what was a booming South American audience at the time. Considering Ronaldo’s achievements in football, it was a no-brainer that the poker company chose him as an ambassador, with his popularity across the region, in particular in his homeland of Brazil, a seemingly everlasting bond.

There is however, debate over the ad. Was it really Ronaldo who displayed those enticing tricks on camera for 30-seconds plus, before revealing himself to us? Was it in fact a double, in the same sleek and suite attire as the former Brazilian international who was twiddling the chips about his fingers, before stepping aside for Ronaldo to take the glory?

The answer is; that we don’t exactly know. And more to the point, we don’t exactly care. For you see, when Ronaldo revealed himself to the camera as PokerStars newest ambassador, many rejoiced at the tricks he had just displayed with several poker chips. It brought back memories of his wonderful skills and tricks with a football during his career, despite the fact these new moves were conducted with entirely different body parts. The simple fact is; it was almost a renaissance of what the two time World Cup winner was capable of. After all, it takes some serious skill, magic and trickery to rise above a pack of footballers to earn Goal.com’s “Player of the Decade” award.

In reality, it likely is a stunt (we say stunt, but it was hardly a stunt unless you factor in the risk of broken nails and strained fingers!) double who undertook the task of flicking and flipping the chips before our very eyes. But, for the most part, it is a thing to behold to simply presume that the former great footballer, who was a magician with his feet when playing, can replicate that sort of skill with his fingers and is simply, a truly gifted individual.

The All-New iPad App from 888casino

888 itunesA terrific article was recently published on Geeks Have Landed detailing the meteoric rise of mobile games. Mobile Games Have Dethroned Handheld Consoles carefully articulated the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets over handheld gaming consoles. In keeping with this trend, online gaming companies – notably online casinos – are switching their efforts towards creating the ultimate mobile-friendly platforms. An upgraded iPad app from 888casino was recently released. Fans of casino games are welcome to check the app on iTunes where it can easily be downloaded and installed. The iPad app is 47.1MB to download and install and it is available in 16 languages. These cover pretty much the entire spectrum – with all major European languages, Chinese dialects, Turkish and English too.

Features of the 888casino App for iPads

Version 1.0.6 was released on the 11 November 2013. It features an exciting array of online casino games including Adventures in Orbit, Euro Reels, Freaky Fruit, Live Roulette, Top Spin Snooker, Roulette Touch and Dr. Love among others. A neat addition to the recently upgraded iPad app is that players can enjoy live dealer games on the go. The tech gurus at 888casino have created a robust, dynamic and cutting-edge mobile casino platform that makes it possible to play live dealer roulette on the go. The mobile casino games at 888casino can be enjoyed in an instant play mode for free or a real-money mode.

Of course, an app is only as good as the casino games it provides. The iPad casino app is great for players wanting to experience a fusion of skill-based games like video poker and blackjack and chance-based games like slots and roulette. The addition of popular NetEntertainment titles like Jack Hammer, Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest really up the ante with this iPad app. Players don’t need to create a new username/password to enjoy the iPad casino app; it’s the same information as the standard desktop client.  888 Casino has won multiple awards of late, including Best Online Casino of the Year for 2013. The year before, 888casino won Best Casino of the Year at the Total Gaming Awards. With credibility guaranteed, players can enjoy their choice of casino games with total confidence. Some 25 million players have already registered to play at this online casino, with millions more scrambling to sign up to enjoy iOS casino games on iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone devices.

Bonuses & Promotions Really Sell the iPad App

Players at 888casino are privy to an impressive selection of bonuses and promotions. These include first deposit bonuses, friend referral bonus offers and even preferred payments method bonuses. Big winners are regularly crowned at 888casino, including Ben C from the UK who managed to scoop up a £33,000 prize off a £20 deposit. For all these benefits and more, check the app on iTunes.

 

Mobile Games Have Dethroned Handheld Consoles

Mobile Games Have Dethroned Handheld Consoles

geeks have landed angry birds

Handheld consoles used to be the only option for gamers on the go. Pretty much everywhere you looked someone was playing a Gameboy and mobile phones were reserved for Snake and Snake only. But with the rise of smartphone and tablet accessibility, things have started to shift dramatically.

According to research by the IDC and App Annie , combined sales of game content on the iOS App Store and Google Play outsold expenditure on dedicated gaming devices, such as Nintendo’s 3DS or Sony’s PlayStation Vita. Although titles for handheld consoles cost significantly more than apps, the amount spent on mobile games were still around three times higher than the portable console market last year.

This signifies a change in the gaming demographic, with the majority of players now content to play more casual titles from a multi-functional device. With the consumption of games changing so significantly, console developers are concerned how their sales may be impacted.

Sony experienced disappointing sales of their flagship Vita device. Fergal Gara, the UK Managing Director of PlayStation says that tablets and smartphones have a part to play. “The market Vita entered was more complicated than it was when the console was originally thought about and designed,” he said. “Games on tablets and phones have changed the marketplace and people can’t carry too many things around at one time.”

“The truth is that the number of people that want the core experience (that the PS Vita offers) is not as big as the number that simply want any sort of game available on the move…”

It seems clear why people would reach for their smartphone over a DS or Vita. Aside from the fact that the device offers far more functions than a handheld console, the range of game titles is much more vast and affordable. Last year, the App Store sales topped $10 billion, and online and console franchises such as Rush Poker and GTA are beginning to focus more on the mobile platform too. It is clearly a viable venture, with hit releases like King’s Candy Crush Saga generating as much as $900,000 per day.

This is leaving the future looking very uncertain for even the most successful of handheld hardware. Nintendo has been feeling rising pressure from analysts and shareholders to offer their software titles on the mobile platform, following a huge cut in the Wii U consoles predicted sale figures. The innovative Japanese brand have remained reluctant though, instead placing more attention into the potential health market.

But according to IDC Insight’s analyst Spencer Izard, a failure to evolve with the times may cause issues for Nintendo further down the line. He said: “With the continued adoption of smartphones as gaming platforms in the mobile space, I believe that Nintendo will see a further erosion of their market position in this space.”

 

 

 

A different take on the lottery

lotto-uk-logo

Most people think of taking part in a lottery as a positive thing. For a small stake you could be in with a chance of winning millions; especially now that you can buy your lotto tickets online and enter national lotteries in other countries as well as your own.

The other bonus in buying lotto tickets online is that you don’t even have to check your numbers after a draw – if you have a win, you’ll get notification via SMS or email. And even if you haven’t purchased your tickets online, you can still check the results using the National Lottery ticket checker. Even if you haven’t won anything, you’ll know that some of your stake will have gone towards a good cause anyway, so it’s a positive thing all round to play the lottery.

Not so, however, in Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, first published in the New Yorker in 1948. This tale is a dark one. It was recently made into a short film. You see the whole of a small community gathering as they do every year. There’s an air of anticipation and nervousness among the different townsfolk as they talk about ‘the lottery’ and the fact that the lottery will help bring a good harvest. One woman turns up late and her husband scolds her for trying to hide their son in the barn. He says they all have to take part.

The viewer is left in the dark about why a lottery should arouse such anxiety until you see the film through to the end, when the lottery is drawn – each head of the household taking a folded slip of paper. They all open their papers and only one is marked with a black dot. It’s the woman who tried to hide her son. The film ends with the townsfolk stoning her to death – the price to pay for the promise of a good harvest.

The Lottery is a story that provoked outrage on its first publication, but it is now considered to be one of the most well-known American short stories and serves as a reminder of how people’s willingness to conform can prevent them from seeing the difference between right and wrong.

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