How is the Challenger platform different from esports betting?
Kimmel: The major difference is that with Challenger, the gamer is betting on their own gameplay as they play against others in real-time cash contests versus watching and betting on the outcome of a match against two or more other players. This direct participation in the gameplay represents a game of skill amongst competitors.
Can US gamers actually use Challenger’s online platform to bet on themselves vs other players for real money currently?
Kimmel: Yes, the Challenger platform is live with CounterStrike:Global Offensive (CSGO) today with its first of its kind ‘Credit per Kill’ gameplay. Gamers pick an amount to wager, jump on a server and every kill is an opportunity to win. U.S. gamers can sign up at www.PlayChallenger.com where eligible. There is a limited-time promotion running right now where all new players get $5 free to try out the platform.
Wagering on esports on sports betting apps
Challenger is known as a platform that gives gamers the opportunity to cash in on their video game playing ability, similar to esports gambling. Or so we thought.
What’s the biggest difference between this new and innovative platform that Challenger created and the ability to bet on esports?
Kimmel: Challenger offers a unique on-demand approach for all levels of video gamers to compete for cash on major game titles. Today’s cash gaming market caters to elite players and spectators.
The primary option available today by others are cash tournaments that require pre-arranged teams or schedules, removing the casual nature of the gameplay while at the same time being limited to end-of-game results for payouts. The time-intensive needs and elite competition of these tournaments only allow for the professional player.
At the other end of the spectrum, sportsbooks that offer esports cater to spectators wishing to watch and gamble on esports, not participate in the games of skill. With Challenger, users can simply download the application, turn on their favorite game and play.
Challenger automates the contest creation, score tracking and payouts, all on a transparent and ‘game of skill’ legal platform using patented artificial intelligence.
Will gamers be able to wager on themselves when playing another human gamer?
Kimmel: Yes, this is the core offering of Challenger, where contests are peer to peer with other human players.
What type of skill-based contest will be introduced at first?
Kimmel: Challenger is launching with the first in-game real-time contest mode called “Credit per Kill.”
In this play, each kill/death in FPS (first-person shooter) games is an opportunity to win. Gamers pick the amount they wish to wager and join a contest by being automatically matched with the other live players. Contests are automatically tracked and scored, with funds transferring to the winner(s).
Integrating cash-based play into the gaming experience
When I think of esports, I think of PC gaming. But Challenger seems open to bringing esports wagering to console gaming. What does this news mean for the console gamers who like to play Madden, NBA, Call of Duty, etc. against other players from around the country?
Kimmel: There is an important distinction between the mindset of “going to a place to play for cash” vs. “playing with cash.” Challenger is focused on seamlessly integrating cash-based play into the gaming experience.
If achieved, cash play becomes mainstream in the gaming industry and part of anyone’s gaming experience. Ultimately this means cash-based play in any game, any genre, any device whenever you want.
Wagering on Xbox and PlayStation
How close are we to being able to turn on our Playstation or Xbox and being able to play other gamers for money?
Kimmel: Challenger is currently developing its first application for Xbox and that is expected to release in early 2023.
Gamers as influencers
Video gamers are probably one of the largest, if not the largest group of influencers on sites like YouTube, Twitch & more. Do you think we will start to see companies like DraftKings & FanDuel signing these gaming influencers as ambassadors (like they currently do with pro athletes) in order to bring in this whole new audience of potential video game betting customers who don’t care about sports betting or traditional casino games?
Kimmel: It is actually already happening to an extent. For example, FanDuel has run several promotions with Dr. Disrespect, a notable YouTube live streamer. This trend will continue as the current generation has such a strong cross-section of interests in traditional sports and esports.
Similarly, for Challenger the community of online streamers is very important. Not only are influencers a great way to get the word out about Challenger, but adding cash to their own play will get their audiences even more excited to see them play.
What’s next in esports?
In the next 5 years, what changes will we likely see as the worlds of esports and real money video game betting collide?
Kimmel: This is another natural progression of esports that will complement and perhaps even become a primary point of entry into professional esports. Unlike most professional sports, in esports many of the “spectators” are also players.
Consider the NFL, where the vast majority of fans rarely play, and certainly don’t have the ability to play football at any competitive level.
This is very different from the esports experience, where spectators can easily cross over into competitors at various levels of skill. Many gamers watch not only to be entertained but also to learn and apply the skills they see on the screen to improve their own gameplay.
As esports and real money betting converge, expect this trend to continue, with cash-based players learning from the current pros and the top cash-based players becoming the next generation of pro esports athletes.