When it comes to the biggest entertainment in the world, you’ll be forgiven for being the leader in the film and music industry. That was certainly the case in the past. In recent years, however, the video game industry has continued its relentless boom. It has already surpassed the worldwide revenue of music and film and is expected to have a value of around 180 billion US dollars by 2021.
That’s all very well, as you might think, but what does that have to do with online casinos? Very much, as it turns out. If you are a regular hunter in online casinos, you may have already noticed some of the effects – gamification of slots and casino games.
Simply put, gamification of a casino or casino game means that your gaming experience has an overarching story. This can be anything to help an adventurer find hidden gold, rescue a princess, or explore the expanses of space. You may have experienced this in some online slots or casinos, but with the great success of both the online and video game industries, the boundaries between the two are blurring.
This merger of the casino and gaming industry has been emerging for some time. The introduction of Lootboxes in major gambling companies such as FIFA is a hotly debated topic – many regulators consider it a form of gambling. These loot boxes often contain digital assets such as weapons, players or boosts, which can give players a direct advantage in playing.
Of course, the content is often random, and considering the popularity of the ‘freemium’ model, loot boxes are now included in a variety of titles. While these digital goods generally only save time for players, they cost money and it is also questionable whether some can be converted into real value through Esport matches, trading accounts and so on.
On the other hand, online casino games are now in a highly competitive market, and while innovative game design is important, adding stories, characters, and immersion is becoming increasingly important when it comes to stand out. Even older titles have responded to this idea – Gonzo’s Quest is an example. It has a back story and a character to improve the mood, and this is something that now attracts much more attention in online slots and casinos.
Given that both industries (not to mention others – the current Black Mirror film Bandersnatch also crosses the boundaries between film and game) are slowly merging ideas, in the future we’re likely to see a much stronger gamification of the casinos. Once you add VR to the mix, we could soon be making virtual trips through thematic adventure casinos.
If the idea of strolling through a Wild West virtual sedan to play slots and chase down bad guys while you win spins but put you off, you’re not afraid. Regardless of how advanced or embedded in narrative online casinos this simple, classic experience is, it is unlikely to lead anywhere.
However, it will certainly be interesting to see how far gamification goes, especially given the recent controversy over loot boxes in the world of video games. We were even able to see how large developers of slot machines and video games came together to produce titles that appealed to both audiences, though they needed to do so responsibly.