What’s Innovative…and What’s Not?
So what exactly do we mean by innovative?
Well, for many years casinos were in a static, almost hypnotised trance. Serving up the tired old formats of the most popular games. There’s only so much you can do with blackjack, roulette, and baccarat right?
But then it started changing. First up it was slots that took centre stage. As they often still do. New titles, enhanced graphics, even 3D. Slots were the original driver of innovative change.
But even that became commonplace. Innovation by its nature eventually becomes yesterday’s news. Now we expect our slots to offer high quality entertainment with something different.
The true innovations we need now are across the full product range – new and exciting ways to play games, new experiences, new types of casino, enhanced and hitherto unthought of versions of existing games.
And there are plenty of chances to deliver those new experiences, so let’s begin by taking a look at some of the options….
First let’s take a look at some of the ways the casino gaming industry has been changing over the last few years and some developments which have already made an impact…….
They say that well over half of all transactions made online are now made on mobile phones. Use of smartphones and other mobile devices is still growing. So it’s no surprise that casino operators are focusing heavily on improving the mobile experience. It’s becoming to find an online casino that’s not optimised for mobile players.
Live Dealer Casinos
Not exactly new any more, but an innovation which changed the way many of us play, live dealer casinos first appeared around 5 years ago.
Playing with live dealers gets you a close to the action as possible, using state of the art streaming software to place you at a live table with a real dealer. You don’t have to leave the house just as with any game played online, but you get to see exactly what’s happening in real time.
The next evolution of live dealer games is likely to be driven by developments in virtual reality. Advances in this area of technology are gathering pace rapidly, and soon it’ll be possible to put on a VR headset and instantly be transported to an exotic location of your choice. It’s sure to really enhance the live games experience.
Casino software developers are constantly coming up with new formats of existing games. Microgaming are well known for this, having in recent years released blackjack variants such as Double Exposure Blackjack (where both dealer cards are dealt face up) and Super Fun 21 Blackjack (standard blackjack but with the US Hole Card and option of a late surrender).
Interest in social gaming has been on the increase for a number of years now and shows no signs of slowing. New sites like CelebrityWorld have taken the social aspects of casino gaming to new heights with their innovative celebrity games.
Playing at social casinos has a number of benefits, not least the possibility to enjoy a wide range of games with no cash outlay. Free to play gaming often means no chance of winning real cash of course, something which traditional casino regulars may find strange.
There are ways to play for real money though, with some sites offering sweepstake-style cash prizes.
A few years back, talk of every TV being 3D enabled was rife. That vision never came to pass, with a number of user problems causing the industry to go into a parked state.
However the software firms firmly grasped the nettle at the time and dozens of 3D slots hit the casino floor. Largely these have remained popular and grown a robust following with slots fans. There are dozens of 3D titles to play, with some delivering enhanced graphics that really do appear to ‘pop’ from the screen.
Promising a way to overcome two big issues for many casino fans – how to deposit money and how to play with anonymity – Bitcoin casinos burst on the scene a couple of years ago. They offer a way of funding your casino account with one of the new breed of virtual currencies. In this case, Bitcoin of course.
There are a handful of dedicated Bitcoin casinos that are now well-established. They’ve proven themselves to be safe and reliable, and we can be expect to see more available in future.
Skill Slots Games
While online casino gaming is growing exponentially, the same can’t be said for the land-based casinos. Places like Las Vegas do of course still attract millions of visitors a year, but others like Atlantic City are on the skids and have been for some time. Even some of the big asian destinations are reporting lower player numbers.
So the casinos have to find an answer, and the answer they’ve come up with is to try and entice the younger generations on to the casino floor.
But how to do it?
The answer may be obvious. Build an experience based on the types of games they want to play!
And that of course is video games. The console based games that younger generations have grown up with. Those that require dexterity and quick responses to do well at. In other words, needing a level of skill to win.
This could be one of the most innovative – and revolutionary – of all casino game developments. If it works in the land-based casinos, there’s a big possibility we may see games with some form of skill attached in the online versions too.
Slots have always been games of pure chance. There’s no way to influence the ways the reels spin or where they land, and of course their software is designed to run in the casino’s favour over a period of time.
In October 2016, the first operator to offer skill based video games – Caesars – placed machines into their casinos which work by improving a skillful players chances of winning.
There are catches of course. The machines are configured to still give the casino its house edge, but a strong player who knows what they’re doing can win more often.
Virtual Reality Casinos
All online gaming is virtual in the sense that’s its not real life (except in the case of live dealer games as we mentioned earlier).
Virtual reality is a technology though that has the power to change that statement, and there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing an innovative collection of online casinos that embrace the possibilities it brings.
Virtual reality, or VR as it’s often known, is the technology that makes virtual experiences feel as real as possible. Using a headset, you can be instantly transported into a virtual reality casino environment which is immersive and entertaining in a way never seen before.
You can jump straight to the RealMoney.Games dedicated page on which virtual reality casinos have already opened their doors, but three big names to watch out for are Lucky VR, SlotsMillion VR, and Riftsino.
Innovative Casino Games That Failed To Make a Mark
Not every development can succeed, and some fail spectacularly. Two that fit the bill here are shaking slots which were hailed as a groundbreaking technology a few years back, and a multi-player version of blackjack known as Zone Blackjack.
Shaking slots were designed to be played on mobile devices different actions were performed by shaking, for example to start a spin.
Zone blackjack promised live dealer players a more realistic experience, by being able to play live dealer but as if they were at a table with multiple other players at the same time.
Both disappeared without trace.
We know that finishing a session in an online casino is likely to leave our wallets that much lighter. The casinos are well practiced at keeping our cash.
But what we get for our cash is entertainment. Essentially you’re buying that entertainment just the same way as going to the cinema or theatre, although there are more dangers of course!
So we want that entertainment to be fresh, exciting, and keep us wanting more.
Gambling for some of us is a habit. We’ll keep doing it because it’s in our blood. But for many, it’s that entertainment driver that’s the main factor. That – and the fact that younger generations are not so attracted to casino gaming – means that innovations in games and products are the only things that are likely to keep the industry healthy and growing.
The casino operators know that they need to innovate. They know they need to develop and deliver new forms of gaming. Recent technological developments are lighting the way forward, and there’s plenty more to come.
The future looks bright. There’s plenty more to come. They just need to keep it coming, and we need to keep playing those games, and show them what we want.