The gambling industry is no stranger to innovation. Casino operators are forever coming up with new innovations and twists on the established format, pushing the envelope in terms of player experience while introducing new features and functions to their games. Whether it’s new technologies that are being pioneered in gambling for the first time, or a fresh approach designed to increase engagement or launch new games and promotions, casinos are forever on the lookout for the next big thing.
One of the most promising of these developments in recent times has been the move towards skill-based gaming, primarily with video games at the core of the gambling offering. As an alternative to the tried and tested chance-based games like slots, these skill-based video games could deliver an even closer hybrid between video gaming and gambling online, rewarding skill rather than pure luck.
But what’s the big idea behind these games, and could skill-based video game gambling prove the next major frontier for the online casino industry? And how would these models work, both for casinos and gamblers, to present a viable, enjoyable gambling experience?
Video Game Gambling: What Is It?
Take Super Mario, as an example. Then imagine that instead of playing to complete the game or impress your friends, you’re playing to get a high enough score to win some money. That’s exactly what you’ve got at the heart of the video game gambling concept. Players are rewarded for doing well in the game, based on their own skill and performance, rather than on being in the right place at the right time.
Contrast that with slots, as a popular example from the casino world. There’s no way of guaranteeing a win, and whether you’re a complete newbie or a hardened veteran, your luck will be exactly the same.
While slots are massively popular, players eventually find themselves changing to play new slots, or moving to different games altogether, if only to mix things up a bit. When you introduce the skill element, you are introducing more of a challenge for players, which is inherently more attractive, and more likely to encourage players back time and time again. And with money on the line, there’s all the more urgency to play these games than to play your standard purely recreational video game.
Why This Could Be Huge
With moves towards gamification right throughout the online casino industry, video game gambling could be seen as the ultimate destination for this approach. Gamification is, in a nutshell, the process of turning the otherwise functional into a game, and it runs throughout online casinos, even today.
That’s why you’ll find leaderboards of loyalty points or slots tournaments, and even social elements designed to keep you coming back for more. There are gaming elements being deployed literally everywhere in the online casino space, and it’s having a promising impact on engagement, loyalty and ultimately the growth of the industry.
Video game gambling takes this a stage further, essentially gamifying the game. So rather than a slot where there is minimal player interaction and engagement, these games, which are set to deploy similar economics as slot machines, put players right at the heart of the action. The net result is likely to be an audience that is more engaged than ever before, and this means in all likelihood a positive impact on the casino’s bottom line.
It isn’t some distant, far off pipe dream either. Video game gambling is already starting to appear in both land based and online casinos, and could well go on to be the industry’s next big thing.
Making Waves With Skill-Based Gaming
Skill-based gaming is already starting to roll out at land based casinos. Atlantic City, for example, is now home to skill based gaming machines across its casinos. Following on from changes in the law late in 2016, Atlantic City resorts took stock of some of these gaming machines, with Danger Arena, a classic shooter being the first game to hit the casino floor. While it’s too early to tell whether this is the start of a gaming revolution, early feedback from players and the casino operators appears to be positive.
By giving players an extra point of engagement, where they might want to improve their skills, better their score, or beat their friends, and mixing this with the ability to win money in a similar fashion to a regular video slot machine, these types of games could well be behind the next significant shift in gaming behaviour.
It’s unlikely skills-based gambling will overtake traditional casino gambling, but in this industry, it’s clear that anything is possible. Through bridging the gaps between traditional video gaming and online gambling, skill based video games are giving casinos yet more ammunition in their bid to attract new players and keep them engaged in the world of online gaming and gambling.