The global gaming and gambling market has an expected worth of $115 billion this year. The mobile gaming sector is valued at more than $50 billion, nearly half of the industry share, so gaming and gambling companies have many opportunities to appeal to players online and offline. Players always look for the next innovation, so gaming and gambling companies should heed the latest trends to maintain their competitive edge.
Players want their online gaming experience to feel more like spending time at the casino. Virtual reality (VR) may be the technology to bridge the gap between the offline and online gaming spheres.
The global VR market is booming as VR headsets become more affordable. In 2016, the VR market was worth around $2 billion. By 2022, experts believe it will be worth nearly $27 billion. Much of this growth is propelled by VR’s use in social games, like those released through the Valve Corporation’s Steam platform. However, online casinos and their developers are also exploring the potential of VR.
Leading gaming provider Microgaming became one of the first gambling companies to incorporate VR into a casino game with the release of VR Roulette. Players wearing VR headsets enter a three-dimensional gaming space helmed by a friendly robot croupier. Players interact with the robot and the VR casino environment, moving their own hands to place and bets and collect any winnings.
Traditionally Lady Luck determined whether you won or lost in the casino. However, skills-based games are becoming more popular. The 2017 Global Gaming Expo showcased several new skills-based games for online and offline casinos. Probability Gaming leads the way with its unique games combining standard casino play with additional playing strategies. Its games, developed by a team of mathematicians, look to engage new gamers seeking a greater challenge than traditional games provide.
Appealing to Female Gamers
Traditionally online and offline casinos were male-dominated domains, but the tide is turning. According to recent statistics cited by TechnoFAQ, while women are still much less likely than men to gamble in land-based casinos, they account for more than 45 percent of online casino gamers. The findings mirror recent studies reporting women prefer gambling on their personal electronic devices in private. Women participating in these studies say they feel more confident playing online and less intimidated by male players than in a traditional casino.
Online gaming developers are paying attention and creating games and casinos designed to appeal to women. Maria Casino, QueenVegas Casino, and Space Lily Casino are just some of the female-focused online gaming hubs launched recently. Slot machine games featuring pop culture themes like Magic Mike and Wonder Woman, as well as the Twilight-esque Immortal Romance, and cutesy Sugar Pop also target female players.
Shift Toward Social Gaming
Few things compare to a big win, but studies show gamers are becoming less motivated by jackpots and the potential for monetary gain. Instead, they’re enjoying the social aspect of gaming, and developers are taking note. BusinessWire claims the rise of social gambling will be one of the key drivers for the online gambling market to 2022.
We’re seeing more online casinos incorporating features that make competing and socializing with friends easier. Many online casinos host tournaments and post leaderboards so players can compare their performance with others. Social media integration has become ubiquitous, with many casinos encouraging players to invite their friends and gift free spin features and coins. The free-to-play model is also becoming more common. Under the free-to-play model, players prioritize the thrill of winning over financial gain. However, they can purchase virtual goods, like additional coins and multipliers, to access advanced features or play longer.
The gaming and gambling industry is evolving at a rapid pace in line with player tastes and technological advances. Only time will tell what the next trends will be.