Evolving Casino Landscape Reflects Changing Gaming Culture

When you sit back and consider how forms of entertainment have changed over the decades, and as we bridged through from one century to the next, it’s quite remarkable that casino games have, by and large, remained the same. Take a gamer kid from the 1980s, and they might have some trouble loading up and playing games on Xbox. Take a card sharp from the 1950s, drop them into a modern casino floor, and they would take to it like to a fish to water.

But while there has been a resilience in the popularity of blackjack, roulette and all the classic online arcade games from casino.com, there is also a changing landscape among casino games, both online and in casino resorts. The shift in styles, format and the medium of delivery is reflective of changing tastes in other entertainment, especially video games.

As an example, let’s start with the – some would say strange – phenomenon of live slot machines. The idea behind is to play a communal game (when the slot pays, everyone wins), which is streamed from a live studio with a croupier hosting the action. Those games tap into the kind of community culture one would see on gaming-based television services like Twitch. The shift is an important one; changing the concept of playing slots from a solitary experience to a social one.

Games Fundamentally Changing

And as for those slot machines, they have also changed dramatically. And, one would suggest that the software developers who create modern slots have learned a lot from their peers in the video game industry. The linear slot games that invite you to spin and match a few cherries or bars on the reels have largely disappeared and have been replaced with high concept games that evolve, i.e. by allowing you to unlock new features, over time.

It’s worth remembering that video games have become spectator events, and that many people bet on those games as if they were betting on regular sports. That could be through the practice of skin betting (gambling with virtual goods, termed ‘skins’) or standard betting on eSports competitions. Regardless, casino operators can see a move into what they consider as their territory, especially when it comes to millennials.

Game Branding Taking off

The solution for casino operators seems to lie in creating games that appeal to people who enjoy playing and watching video games, and indeed who are comfortable socialising online. It’s achieved by creating those communal games like live slots, but also by branding games with elements of pop culture. For instance, a list of officially licenced games available online today includes: the phenomenally popular Game of Thrones, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Justice League, The Matrix, The Goonies, Hitman Agent 47 and Call of Duty Slot.

Not all those listed above are based video games, but they offer instantly recognisable branding that attracts millennial gamers. And, once they start playing the games, they might get an eye-opening experience. As we mentioned, casino slots no longer follow the old rules. The Goonies slot game, for example, has around 12 different bonus and side games, all of which incorporate footage from the movie.

Finally, a hint at what the future holds – competitive video games. There is a consensus that sooner rather than later, the idea of playing games as diverse as Pac-Man to Red Dead Redemption for money will soon be a reality. There will always be room for the classics like blackjack and roulette, but it seems like they will need to make room for a new generation of games aimed at millennials.

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