When we think about innovation in computer gaming, it usually concerns console-style adventures that can be downloaded via Steam and played on PCs. Indeed, these games are getting bigger and better all the time, with no end to the improvement in sight. The games are so complex now that we’ve grown used to gamers buying and customizing special keyboards and controllers. The graphics are so impressive that we talk more and more about which monitors and systems will best showcase them (as discussed in our ‘10 Things to Consider When Buying a Monitor for Your Gaming Setup’). PC games are even so engaging now that the idea of purchasing a dedicated “gaming chair” has been fully normalized.
Considering all of those changes and the advancement that drives them, it’s fair to look at console-style PC gaming as a pretty innovative category. Looking at computer gaming more broadly though, there’s another category that stands out for its ability to adapt and make changes: online casino play.
The simplest but most impotent change that has occurred in online casino gaming, really over the last decade or so, has been the slow and steady improvement of graphics. Online casinos are driven largely by slots and jackpots, which historically have been quite bland in the presentation. Over time though, this has changed dramatically. Casino games first started exhibiting more inserting designs, then video-game-like animation, and ultimately, as we see today, beautifully rendered 3D graphics. This has not only made basic casino games more engaging but has also helped to open the door to limitless material, such that there are now slots and jackpots based on everything from fairy tales, to music groups, to cinematic hits.
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The Mobile Transition
Another important innovation that has occurred in online casino gaming is a transition to mobile compatibility. According to mobile gaming market reports on Businesswire, the total number of hours spent on this type of gaming is growing at 8-10% each year, which perhaps more than any number speaks to why game developers can’t afford to ignore the category. Casino sites and game developers seem to have recognized this years ago, with the result that many if not most of the games in the category are now accessible via mobile devices. It may be a subtle change to gamers, but it’s proven to be an essential one to the survival and success of the internet casino industry.
Chats & Forums
Developers and leaders at online casinos have also seemingly recognized the fact that it is now virtually imperative for successful video games to include social elements. This applies more to certain types of games than others of course, but by and large the era of online gaming has turned this activity into a social one. Accordingly, poker platforms, bingo rooms, and various other types of online casino arcades now frequently include chat features and/or community forums where gamers can freely interact with one another.
Hybrid Game Formats
In a subtle way, the video game industry has been thriving on hybrids for a few years now. Super Mario platformers met mobile “endless runners” in Super Mario Run; Pokémon met Foursquare-like social networking in Pokémon Go, and arena-style combat has blended with classic shooters to form some of our most successful games of late. Likewise, we’ve begun to see some hints of hybrid activity at online casinos, with the primary example being the emergence of the bingo-meets-slots game known, fittingly, as “Slingo.” Gaming platform Foxy Bingo’s Slingo content has elevated this hybrid option to a place alongside other more traditional arcades and is showcasing some thoroughly entertaining games that offer gamers a fresh take on old concepts. It will be interesting to see what else this category has to offer, or what similar hybrids may yet emerge.
And then of course there’s virtual reality, which remains a developing front in the gaming world. The tech is still improving and more options are still being produced, as was evidenced in a recent announcement about the PlayStation 5 and the forthcoming VR headset that will be native to the console. Casino gaming doesn’t have anything like its own headset to offer. But the industry does seem likely to get in on the trend of VR at one point or another. There have been a few examples of casino games being re-formatted for virtual play, and given how quickly the industry adapted to mobile, it’s likely that it will be ready to leap into VR when the time comes.
Consider all of the above at once and it’s quite clear that online casino games have been particularly innovative over the last decade or so. Had this industry failed to make these changes it may well not have survived up against the modern computer, mobile, and console gaming. As things stand now though, online casinos remain immensely popular, thanks to their ability to change and progress.
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