The gambling industry is one of the most exciting — and evolving — sectors to follow at the moment. The fast-paced world of technology is having a huge impact on casinos these days, including both the online space as well as the land-based casinos that have been around for years. The increasing updates to technology, from the huge influx of cash and investment that’s coming in from around the world has made gambling more and more popular, drawing in new players to online casino sites every day. But how has technology actually influenced the gambling industry? And has it changed the way we play games?
Here are some of the top technology trends that will impact gaming over the next few years.
Remember the days of dial-up internet, or waiting for web pages to load? They seem like a thing of the past as internet speeds have increased over the years. First there was 3G. Then a few years later, users were cheering on the launch of 4G. Now, with commercial 5G up and coming, game players of the world can expect so much more when it comes to speed. The arrival of 5G means a faster, more secure connection than ever before — along with more capabilities, services and experiences. This means that whether you’re playing casino games on your phone, your tablet or mobile device, you’ll get instantaneous speed, making gaming so much better and creating a network effect that will likely get more people into mobile gaming.
Eben Albertyn, the Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone Ziggo said: “The network of the future is already being built as we speak. 5G is an important part of that. The speed of technological developments that bring about countless new, smart opportunities enriching our life is unprecedented.”
Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, has already had a huge impact across industries, automating all kinds of sectors including banking, retail and more. AI’s also been integral into the game making of the future. Take AI and non-player characters, for example. These are typically programmed into what’s been called a ‘finite state machine’ — think of the PacMan ghosts as a very basic example! But these non-player characters have become more and more complex over the years, especially with advancements in AI technology.
Another way that AI has enhanced the future of game making is through content generation. Designers have been using AI for use to help them create assets and speed up the process — which mean there are more, and better, games being released than ever before.
AI also allows companies to collect smart analytics and use them to make even better games. Games, including online casino games, often collect anonymous data that helps enhance the gaming experience. Mitu Khandaker, a PHD researcher at New York University’s Game Centre said: “Games are so much about what creates a compelling experience that people will keep coming back to,” Khandaker said. “That’s basically what AI is in service of.”
AI has been used by gaming providers to collect smart analytics to enhance the gaming experience.
VR & AR
Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) are huge buzzwords at the moment in the tech scene — especially when it comes to gaming. The difference? Augmented Reality adds elements to a real world — while Virtual Reality immerses a user in a virtual one. Augmented reality has done a lot for mobile games with the release of fan favourites like Pokemon go. While Virtual Reality, with headsets like the Oculus Rift has become more common than ever in households, as newer and more exciting games are being released across consoles. Online casinos haven’t entirely latched onto the tech, but you can definitely see the potential for the future. Imagine having a life casino game ‘augmented’ into your living room? Or playing poker in a virtual world? The potentials are endless, and researchers and game makers are getting on board.
Kevin Mack, a VR developer said: “VR I think will remain niche, but it could potentially turn into a big niche,” he said. “I think we’re going to see some very impressive stuff and very compelling stuff come down the pipe in the next couple of years.”
The online influence
But how has the rise of tech impacted casinos directly? More people are now choosing to play casino games online. The accessibility aspects, the convenience, and the game offerings that online casinos have, have become a real challenge to land-based casinos.
Younger players, who are well experienced on playing their games online, may be even starting their gambling journey all online. And the online casino market becomes ever more saturated, with brand new games being published all the time, land-based casinos could begin to struggle. Wink Slots is an example of a gambling provider who has released new slot games to target their younger audience. Slot games hold a large market share of the current online casino market with the popularity increasing in recent years due to the variety of themes available as well as the different bonuses, attracting younger audiences, those who typically play casino games online.
Online casino games being available on mobile has helped the online gambling market to grow, due to convenience of the game.
It is argued however, that online casinos can’t replicate the real-life experience and atmosphere that a land-based casino has to offer. And the added entertainment elements — from shows, to eating establishments and more — are some of the ways that land-based casinos are strengthening their offering and attracting more customers.
There was a first wave of technology that changed the way people enjoyed casinos — like improved graphics and sounds, mobile devices and more. But people still visit their favourite land-based casinos; some fly all around the world to experience casino capitals like Las Vegas. As technology evolves and improves, it’s likely that the land-based casinos will change too in order to attract new visitors. It seems the world’s best casinos, for now, are here to stay.