The online gambling market is expected to increase from $47.11 billion in 2017 to $59.9 billion by 2020, according to Statista, and advancements in technology will assist with this boom. The online casino industry has proven its willingness to adapt to evolving tech over the years and, in doing so, continues to thrive. With virtual and augmented reality markets also projected to explode by 2020, it is likely that online casinos will get in on these trends. Other possible developments could include skill-based slot games and even more cross-brand content.
Slots to Incorporate Skill
Historically, slot machines have been focused purely on chance with the player having little effect on the outcome of the reels. Yes, there is sometimes the option to hold certain symbols in the hope to spin in a win but the pay-outs are ultimately decided based on the return-to-player percentage listed on the machine.
Now, thanks to the rise of puzzle and skill-based mobile games like Angry Birds slot, which sold over 12 million copies, could be about to incorporate elements which give the player more control over the outcome. One such game is Catapult King from Wicked Witch, which began as a hit mobile game similar to the Rovio title. The developers then turned to Gamblit Gaming to add a real-money element to the game, giving players the chance to win money for their efforts.
More Cross-brand Content
The fruit symbols of the early slot machines are only found on retro games these days, with modern developers often looking to popular culture for image ideas to use on the reels. Cross-brand content has been hugely successful, and this looks set to be a rising trend in the years to come. Non-gambling franchises or businesses have found that putting their name on a slot game increases awareness and slot developers have discovered that using familiar brands helps to attract players to the game.
A prime example of a company that does this is Microgaming, one of the most popular developers for online casinos. They have been responsible for hit games such as Jurassic Park, Game of Thrones, and Bridesmaids - all of which were based on hugely popular non-gambling franchises. Now, the company is expanding further than film with games like Playboy Gold at Betway Casino using the theme of the famous gentleman’s magazine. Other examples are the Moby Dick game, based on the classic novel by Herman Melville, and Tarzan which uses themes from the 1914 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes.
VR Enhanced Games
Virtual reality has got off to a slow start, but after only generating $6.1 billion in 2016, it’s projected to skyrocket to $215 billion by 2021. If this anticipated boom is to come to fruition, there is no doubt that the online casino industry will be of great help to it. Slot machines have undergone a steady evolution over the years, and VR looks set to be the next stage in their progression.
NetEnt has already developed Gonzo’s Quest VR and Jack’s World VR, offerings based on two of their already popular titles. The games follow the traditional reel-spinning mechanism of slots, but the player is transported into another world where they are faced with a huge version of the classic game. Another legendary casino game to have a VR makeover is Microgaming’s VR Roulette, which was first displayed in 2016. After the strong response, it seems fair to assume there will be more products like this released in the near future.
AR Aspects in Games
After the unprecedented success of Niantic’s Pokémon Go in 2016, there has been an upsurge in the use of augmented reality in games. Other titles making use of the themes made popular by the monster collecting game include Jurassic World Alive from Ludiaand The Walking Dead: Our World from Next Games. AR may soon be put to good use in the online casino industry, as it is also expected to boom alongside VR. AR could be great for games like blackjack and poker, as players could receive virtual cards that only they can see.
The next few years could see some major changes and new trends to the online casino industry as we know it. The technology appears to be in place to take games to the next stage of their evolution, and enhance players’ experience even further.