2017 was a very good year for the Online Casino industry, with a lot of interesting developments, companies and online players both happy and both groups making more money than ever before. Online Casinos and Game Developers are constantly innovating to bring consumers more enticing ways to make bets with more options to win. With online revenues and winnings at an all-time high, the gaming ground is fertile to bring a raft of innovations to fruition in 2018. Let’s examine the situation and see how healthy the market is at the moment and the discuss the 6 biggest and latest trends in the Online Casino Game Industry. One thing we do know for sure, it is industry that is only going to get bigger and provide better games for players.
The Continued Improvement of Mobile Platforms
4 million adults played in Online Casinos in 2017, up from 2.8 million only two years ago. The key driver to this exponential growth is mobile gaming. Traditional gaming companies and innovative tech start-ups know the market is exploding and they’re in an arms race to create the most immersive, intuitive and interactive gaming experiences through all forms of mobile devices on both Android and iOS platforms. Where a mobile casino has often been an add-on to online casino service in the recent past, now its is an absolute pre-requisite to staying in business and now, many new Online Casinos focus entirely on mobile players.
In 2018, we anticipate and expect that different types of gaming options for sport and casino-style games will be launched but also the development of a range in depth of new gaming experiences for a wide range of players all looking to enjoy and experiences that keeps them coming back.
The licenced games niche in the online casino industry is headlined by the branded slots. These are theme-based games based on iconic movies, TV shows and comic superheroes.
The original theme based online slot, ‘Tomb Raider’ is celebrating its 14th birthday this year – in 2004 Microgaming released the classic game – however, 2017 is the year that branded online slots real began to takeover as a worldwide trend. We anticipate that trend will continue unabated moving forward.
Playtech’s licensing agreement with Warner Brothers gave them the rights to produce “Batman vs Superman”, “Suicide Squad” and 4 other branded online slots became the single largest licensing deal ever made between a games developer and movie-comic book license-holder. “Dirty Dancing”, “American Dad” and “Robocop” were also added to the Playtech branded slots stable on 2017.
However, its not all about Playtech. In 2017, Microgaming added “Highlander”, “Halloween”, “Phantom of the Opera” and “Jurassic World”, whilst NetEnt joined in with “Emoji Planet” and “Planet of the Apes”. Many other software providers too bought TV shows and movies back to life on the online casino small screen.
It’s a trend that has already grown in the first two months of 2018 and we expect the march to continue.
The Rise of Crypto-currencies
In the last two years, we’ve seen a significant number of online casinos beginning to accept Bitcoins and other crypto-currencies. The Bitcoin market has been experiencing incredible growth and that growth has left quite a mark on the Online Casino industry. However, Bitcoins are no longer the only crypto-currency that the world is aware of; Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Ripple and Dogecoin are just some of the crypto-currencies that online casinos are beginning to expand their infrastructures for.
With an increasing number of people now owning some form of crypto-currency and with the online casino industry looking to expand market segments as much as possible, expect to see a growing number of online casinos beginning to accept crypto-currencies in 2018.
In 2018, players are becoming much more interested in making money based on their level of skill rather than being dependent on luck. It is an unsurprising development considering the ever-increasing popularity of poker and betting on sports. Skill Games in casinos, on mobile and online, are set to increase in popularity, partly driven by the traditional gaming companies and partly driven by the massive increase in new player numbers and with that, different types of online players than ever before who are demanding games with a lower house edge. Online Casino and game developers are listening like never before, so expect more skill games innovations throughout 2018.
One area where online casino game developers can be expected to focus on more in 2018 is the virtual reality realm. Three dimensional environments where players can potentially pull the lever on a virtual slot machine and see the reels come to life is likely to evolve at a rate never seen before in 2018.
At the present time, much of the hardware required to experience in best virtual reality gaming experiences has to offer is quite bulky and expensive, limiting the potential proliferation of the exciting medium. On the upside, the technology is starting to improve, headsets are becoming less ‘clunky’ and the graphics improving immeasurably. As a result, the use of virtual reality has seen a massive increase in the last year, and it is expected to get even bigger in 2018 as experiencing the thrill of gambling online becomes even more graphic and interactive.
Increased Popularity in Live Dealer Casinos
2017 saw Live Dealer Casinos reporting increased traffic and profit numbers. Players really appear to be enjoying the human interactions (from the comfort of their own homes) that Live Dealer Casinos offer. Live Dealer Casinos, complete with real-time video and real casino equipment, are reportedly the new preferred playground for high rollers. The best online casinos have begun to increase their live table game offerings and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2018.
Good Luck & Great Gaming!