In the digital era, one thing is absolutely certain across all industries hoping to attract the coveted demographics of millennials and Gen Zs: adapt your model or get left behind. The unprecedented digitization of our daily lives has prompted businesses looking to stay fresh to rethink a few things and see how they can include their own products and services into the radical reshaping of our lives by technology.
One industry which has been quicker on the uptake than most is the gaming industry, with developers jumping at the chance to take advantage of the increasing prevalence and higher capabilities of mobile technology, as well as becoming more closely involved in other areas to help certain industries move into the 21st century.
The video game industry has in many ways been a key driver of the technological advances of the past few years, and with the global market value of the sector being estimated to be worth over $90 billion dollars worldwide by 2020, that importance is finally starting to be recognized more widely.
The intersections of seamless technology and the blurring lines between the worlds of work and play have helped contribute to the sudden and meteoric rise of skills-based real money gaming, which is allowing people to actually win money by playing video games based on skill. Let’s take a look at the shape of the industry today, so we can see what to expect as this exciting new development continues to leave its mark on the world of entertainment.
People tend to look at video game arcades as places where you spend money rather than make it, and people tend to go to casinos expecting to play traditional betting games like blackjack and slot machines. The burgeoning skills-based money gaming sector is making strides to intersect these two arenas and dispel these long-established impressions.
If you walk into a Las Vegas casino these days, much of the casino floors are occupied by slot machines which haven’t been updated for about 30 years, where you simply put in some cash, pull the lever, and hope for a big win. That’s changing fast; major Vegas casino brands like MGM Grand and Wynn are transforming the floor, working with the hottest developer talent to create innovative and recognizable video games which allow the players to win cash in a concerted effort to attract video gamers.
These are coming in the forms of many platforms that we know and love, such as shoot ’em up games like Danger Arena, which is a Call of Duty-style shooter allowing players to use their skills to fight their way through levels of evil robots – with cash prizes for those who succeed. The big strip casinos are also spicing up their gaming options with skills-based strategy racing games like Frogger created by Japanese gaming giant Konami. The fact that big games companies are taking notice and helping big casinos transform their floors into video game arcades shows that the potential this industry has among game-savvy millennials is huge.
A significant chunk of all gaming now takes place in the form on online games, in which all you need is a half-decent computer, a browser and an internet connection to play, rather than forking out for an Xbox or high-end gaming PC. The opportunities for people to make money from their gaming finesse in this realm is more established and has been gathering pace at a much faster rate.
The range of genres and gaming styles is also wider and more diverse, with one of the more popular skills-based real money games of recent years being the Star Wars-style space strategy game Starcraft, which allows gamers to indulge the inner nerd and explore the galaxies, all while racking up cash bonuses through leveling up. As part of the booming eSports industry, Starcraft and other titles like Dota 2 and Hearthstone have enabled what is essentially professional-level spectator video gaming.
But casino-centric offerings are turning skill-based too. Microgaming, one of the leading developers in the industry has released Castle Builder and Castle Builder II, two slots that do not only rely on players’ luck. Found in Microgaming-powered casinos such as Betway online, Castle Builder asks of the player to make decisions which influence their chances of being successful as they progress through a medieval adventure game, trying to win a princess’s hand in marriage, as well as real-life rewards.
This intersection of casinos and video games has been most prominently embraced by the realm of online gaming, with small-time developers like Australia-based Kwari making big splashes by giving truly cinematic element to the genre with their 3D strategy shooter of the same name, showing just how diverse and exciting this emerging industry can be.
The biggest transformation in gaming has been on mobile, with your average smartphone these days being able to run a game that only a top of the line console could have done 10 years ago. Mobile gaming is undeniably popular, and the meteoric success of household names like Candy Crush and Angry Birds are a testament to how much we love playing on mobile.
Real money gaming is also starting to make some major strides in this area too; the cute and colorful Angry Birds-style game Catapult King by Wicked Witch is one of the most popular titles at the moment, asking players to use their best gaming skills to siege castles and win battles for real money.
Being able to play an addictive video game while simultaneously attempting to win some real money during your journey to work has obvious appeals for consumers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that mobile gaming is growing fast. One of the most popular genres across all platforms of video games, the MMORPG has also entered the ring, with the immensely detailed open world game Entropia Universe being a top-notch example of a real money game filled with plenty to do, requiring real skill, and listening to what young gamers want.
It’ll be exciting to see where this exciting industry will take us in the future, as more and more casinos and game developers begin to see the potential of such creative and engaging ways to win money, and we’ll be watching closely.
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