Entain, a leading global sports betting, gaming and interactive entertainment operator, is launching Ennovate, a global “innovation hub” that will invest up to £100 million in innovation projects, start-up investments and collaborations with U.K., European and global partners, with £40 million specifically earmarked for innovation investment in the U.K.
Ennovate’s first lab will open in London.
“As media, entertainment and gaming converge, customers expect richer experiences, with greater variety of content, immersive experiences, personalization, and social interaction which increase their enjoyment and engagement,” the company said in a press release.
The first technology companies working with Ennovate include Verizon, BT, and Theta Labs, all looking to develop groundbreaking experiences for customers in gaming and interactive entertainment. Nonprofit organizations are also collaborating with Ennovate, using technology for innovations which bring societal and environmental benefit.
All external partners will collaborate with Entain’s own tech team and use the Ennovate Hub to conceive, develop, experiment, and bring their innovations to life.
“We want to lead the way with new, exciting products and experiences for customers and use our cutting-edge technology to pioneer innovations in sport, gaming and interactive entertainment for the metaverse,” said Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain.
“We also want to use our position as a global technology leader to help drive innovation more widely. Working with partners around the globe, Ennovate will demonstrate how Entain’s industry-leading technology can both revolutionize experiences for consumers and deliver real benefits to society.”
Ennovate’s first dedicated innovation lab will be located in Charterhouse Square, Farringdon, at the heart of London’s entrepreneurial tech community, close to the U.K. headquarters of TikTok and Snapchat. It will host members of Entain’s innovation technology team, working alongside its commercial and not-for-profit partners.
Opening this spring, the location is being fitted out with cutting-edge technology, to create a unique environment for building and trialing new entertainment experiences. These will include developing new entertainment products for the metaverse, a virtual reality space where people will be able to interact in a computer-generated environment.
The centerpiece of this and future Ennovate labs will be an Experience Zone, enabling customers, investors, partners and employees to try out new immersive experiences in sport, gaming and interactive entertainment.
“Our goal is to bring the most exciting experiences in immersive sport, gaming and interactive entertainment to life as the metaverse takes shape,” said Sandeep Tiku, chief operating officer at Entain leading its work on disruptive innovation. “Working with partners we believe we can achieve great things faster, both for customers and to apply these technologies and skills to benefit wider society.”
Ennovate will initially showcase:
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or unique digital collectible assets, which Entain is developing for brands across the group. Partypoker is announcing plans to launch its first official non-fungible tokens (NFTs) shortly, powered by Theta Labs. NFTs are unique, non-fungible certificates of authenticity of digital files, which could include items such as artwork, music, videos or tweets. Partypoker’s NFTs will showcase some of the most iconic video moments and tournament hands in the history of partypoker and partypoker LIVE.
- Immersive experiences in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will also be shown and developed at the Ennovate Hub. These will include a pioneering VR multi-sports club experience, which the Group will launch shortly.
- VR Arcades: Entain will make immersive experiences available to customers on the high street, converting two locations into new VR retail experience zones where consumers will soon be able to try out groundbreaking new experiences in immersive sports and interactive entertainment for themselves. Entain is working on innovations for VR in retail and plans to open its first VR arcades later in the year.