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The iGaming Industry Next Big Thing: Video Game Gambling?


It is no secret that the gambling industry has always been at the forefront of innovation. It seems the operators never seem to stop coming up with innovations and twists on the established format, constantly pushing the envelope in terms of player experience while adding new features and functions to their games to enhance the player experience. The best online casinos are always looking for the next big thing, whether it is implementing new technological innovations for the first time, developing a new approach to increase engagement, or launching new games and promotions, just to name a few.

The development of skill-based gaming has been one of the most promising developments in recent times, and the majority of the gambling offers today focus on video games as the core of their gameplay. The skill-based video games could be seen as an alternative to the older, well-established chance-based games like slot machines, bringing a closer hybrid between video gaming and online gambling, rewarding skill as opposed to pure chance. 

Would skill-based gaming be the next major frontier for the online casino industry? What’s the big idea behind these games? In what ways will both casinos and gamblers benefit from these models, to present a viable, enjoyable gambling experience for both?

What is Video Game Gambling?

As an example, let’s take a look at Super Mario. Taking that perspective, imagine you are playing not to finish the game or impress your friends, but to get a high enough score in order to win some money. It is exactly this kind of principle that lies at the heart of the concept of video game gambling. Achieving success in a game is rewarded based on the skill and performance of the individual player, rather than simply being in the right place at the right time to benefit from the game. 

If we compare that to an example from a similar niche, such as online slots, we see something very different. You will have the same luck regardless of whether you’re a brand-new player or a seasoned veteran, and there is no way to guarantee a win.

Although slot machines are hugely popular, players eventually find themselves switching to new ones or switching to completely different games, even if it is just to mix things up a bit from time to time. Introducing more of a skill element into your game is going to provide players with a greater challenge, which is inherently more attractive to players, which is a bigger incentive for them to keep coming back again and again.  

In addition, since there is money on the line when playing these games, there is an even greater urgency to play them rather than to play a regular video game that is strictly recreational.

Why This Could be the Next Big Thing?

With gamification sweeping the industry, online casinos may view video game gambling as the ultimate destination. It is prevalent in online casinos to turn the otherwise functional into a game, which is known as gamification.

Therefore, you’ll find leaderboards of loyalty points, slot tournaments, and even social elements designed to maintain your interest. Online casinos are incorporating gaming elements everywhere, and this is having a positive effect on engagement, loyalty, and ultimately growth. 

By including the video game element, this is taken a step further, essentially turning the game into a gamified experience. Therefore, instead of having a game where players don’t have much interaction or engagement with the game, these games put players right at the center of the action, with similar economics as those used in slot games. This will likely result in an audience that is more engaged than ever before, which will have a positive impact on the bottom line in all likelihood, which translates into a positive result for the company.

There’s nothing far-fetched about it either. Currently, video game gambling is being offered in both land-based and online casinos, and could well become an industry mainstay soon.

A Skill-Based Gaming Revolution is Underway

There is already a growing trend among land-based casinos to implement skill-based gaming methods. Atlantic City, for instance, is now home to skill-based gaming machines across all of its properties, including the hotel and casino. In response to the changes in the law that were made late in 2016, Atlantic City resorts began installing some of these gaming machines on their casino floors, with a classic shooter game called Danger Arena being the first to be installed. It is too early to say whether or not this is the beginning of a new era in gaming, but it appears that both players and casino operators have had positive initial feedback.

These types of games are likely going to be behind the next significant shift in gaming behavior since they offer players an additional point of engagement, where they can improve their skills, improve their scores, or beat their friends, along with the possibility of winning money, just as they do in a regular game.

Though it’s unlikely that skills-based gambling will replace traditional forms of play, anything is possible in this industry. As skill-based games bridge the gap between traditional video games and gambling, they will be able to attract new players and keep them engaged.

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