There has been a lot of talk in the online gambling industry about how to integrate the latest technologies into the existing online casinos. The casino operators are keen to keep on introducing new features and functions wherever they can, whilst the developers of the games themselves are hoping that they can attract brand new players by porting their games to new platforms. One key area of expansion looks to be video game consoles – the Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation, and Nintendo Switch.
Several games including Grand Theft Auto and Cyberpunk 2077 have incorporated a casino into their open worlds, but, at the moment, these casinos are not linked to any kind of real-money gaming. This could soon change, particularly because of the easy availability of virtual and augmented reality headsets for these devices. Could skill-based video game gambling present a way for online casinos to dramatically increase their customer base?
New Concepts for Online Casino Games
Developers of online casino games such as pragmatic slots are looking at ways to create a skill-based experience where hitting the highest score in an online slot game might somehow enable players to win real money. Effectively, players would be paid for doing well in the game based on skill, performance, speed, high score, or some other metric, in contrast to the way all current online slots work which relies on players simply hitting the button at the right time.
There are a few barriers to be worked out here – how do you stop the best players from just spending their entire working week playing the game to earn huge rewards? And how about cheating? Cheating is a constant bugbear for many players of popular online video games such as the Call of Duty series, for example, and if money is on the line all pathways that head towards cheating the system would need to be locked up tight.
Despite the challenges, the idea remains popular with all elements of the online gaming industry; skill-based games present challenge players that it is always more attractive and much more likely to encourage players to compel players to continue playing their games day after day, week after week.
There have already been several moves towards gamification of the online casino industry, and the popularity of in-game casinos such as the Diamond in Grand Theft Auto Online has demonstrated the potential of a future real-money online casino that might possibly be included in a regular video game. There may be legal issues here too, unfortunately – several countries with online gambling regulators forbid the inclusion of skill-based elements, so that aspect of things will need to be worked out thoroughly before any such games are launched.
If you check out the popularity of online slot tournaments, the appeal of gamification is easy to see. Wherever you find a leaderboard, list of rankings, or even just a social element such as online chat, participation by users always increases right across the board.
The economics of online skill-based gambling games would probably need to differ dramatically from those of current online slots, but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be an enticing prospect for both the players and the casinos.
What Does Skill-Based Gambling Mean?
In short, skill-based games just require the player to make some kind of skill-based action as a factor in how much they will win from the game. Many land-based casinos in Atlantic City now feature skill-based gaming machines within their properties, although skill-based elements are currently banned in Las Vegas, preventing these games from being tested there.
One of the most popular skill-based games available right now is called Danger Arena, and it’s a classic first-person shooter type of game in the mold of Doom or Call of Duty. Feedback from players and casino operators has been overwhelmingly positive so far, but players are limited to just one hour of play per day right now. This is one way of limiting the amount that skilled players can extract from the games, but it isn’t an ideal one for either the players or the casinos. A better solution will have to be found if skill-based gambling is to take off in a big way.
It seems unlikely that skill-based gambling such as Danger Arena would ever replace online slots – people love the dopamine hit of random slot machines, and that is something which is simply built into us – there won’t be any changing it any time soon. But if casinos can offer players an extra way to engage with their fellow players and give them the challenge of beating their previous high score each time they play, they could well be able to attract an entirely different type of player to the people who frequent online casinos right now.
It’s going to be exciting to watch what happens next!