Gaming Trends: Online Casino Gaming Threatens Dominance of Console Gaming
If the past couple of years of gaming news have taught us anything, it’s that a sea change is underway across the industry. Major gaming companies such as Microsoft and Sony are racing to be the first to introduce fully-fledged cloud gaming to the market, whilst mobile gaming has gone from a cottage industry to become one of the biggest players within the entire entertainment sector.
One area of the rapidly-evolving gaming sector that has been afforded comparatively less attention is the online casino industry. Once upon a time, real-money gaming was confined within the walls of land-based casinos. However, the online gaming industry, enabled by recent leaps in mobile and PC technology, has grown to become an almost $50 billion a year global behemoth.
While the console gaming industry represents $120 billion of annual revenue, the gap between the former and the latter is closing fast. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the facts and see if the online casino will be able to knock traditional console gaming off its perch to become the most popular form on interactive entertainment in the years to come.
While it’s clear that the online casino industry has a lot of catching up to do in terms of online revenue, those numbers do not represent the full picture. In terms of the rate of growth, it’s clear that the casinos are winning the race. Online casinos as a whole have seen year-on-year growth of close to 12% for the past few years, with this number predicted to rise in the years ahead. Compare this to the much lower (although still robust) 4% year-on-year growth for the console gaming industry, and we can see that digital casino platforms are proving more capable of attracting new players.
What Does Online Casino Gaming Offer Than Consoles Don’t?
Both sectors are evidently investing a lot of resources into providing more appealing and innovative gaming options for their target audiences, but the rapid growth of casino gaming suggests that real-money platforms offer something that console developers cannot. One of these is the abundance of free gaming options. While your average console game will cost you more than £50 a pop, online casinos provide hours of gaming with bonuses designed to retain loyal customers. The fact that anyone can get a Casino Bonus from Paddy Power, for example, that allows them to freely play hundreds of different slots and table games in an instant, may well be the primary motivating factor that is luring gamers away from consoles.
While the Xbox Scarlett and Apple Arcade may be hogging all of the headlines, online gaming companies have arguably been vastly more experimental and open to innovation for years now. Casino gamers can even opt to play real money casino games via a VR headset, AR platforms, and gamble with cryptocurrencies such a bitcoin. In addition, a central appeal of online casino gaming in recent years centres around so-called “live streaming gaming”, which allows players to play blackjack, roulette, and poker with real-life croupiers and fellow players via a live video stream setup. Until console gaming can offer these kinds of immersive experiences on a wide scale, online casinos will continue to outpace them when it comes to growth and innovation.
Whether the meteoric rise of online casino gaming will be sustained, or if it is little more than a temporary trend remains to be seen. However, unless console game developers up their game soon, they will have cause to be concerned.