The world of entertainment, the industries associated with it, as well as our expectations around it, have changed dramatically over time. Just take into consideration what video game players of the 1980s or even the 1990s would think of the gameplay options on the new Sony PS5 when it arrives this month, or what those who made movies in the Silent Era would think about when viewing epic blockbusters in the range of Avengers: Endgame. Technology feeds the possibility for change, and then tastes and trends change also. This formula has worked so many times and it will continue working well into the future.
However, it is interesting to think of how some forms of entertainment have remained largely unchanged despite sticking around for decades, centuries even. One of such examples is the casino, that is, casino-style games like card games and roulette. Indeed, if we are to use our analogy of transporting people from the past to view the casino industry of today, someone from the ‘Rat Pack’ heyday of the 1950s’ Las Vegas would have no problem navigating the modern casino floor. What is more, they could even be better than some modern players. For them, there would be no discernible difference in playing games like roulette and blackjack. Admittedly, they might have a bit of difficulty understanding modern slot machines, but the point still stands and it is easy to understand: the casino industry is largely wrapped in its traditions and it does not have to change much, only to adapt.
And yet, there are some who believe that the time is ripe for some dramatic new change at our beloved casinos, especially when it comes to their ever more popular online varieties. It has been around 25 years since the first internet casinos were launched, and as we move through the 2020s, much of the ambitions of the early pioneers have been achieved. Namely, you can have all the aspects of a real casino through your phone or computer, including the opportunity to play with live dealers from the comfort of your home as well as to compete against other live players and not just the system and its algorithms.
AR is the new buzzword in casino
As with all tech-based industries, iGaming companies always want more, both because of the rapid development of new tech and because of the customers’ increasing needs and desires. They want to disrupt the traditional model of how casino games are perceived and played. One such method is through the use of VR (virtual reality), or, more aptly AR (augmented reality). Companies like Playtech, which is the world’s largest casino solutions provider. More details are available about this company and their endeavours if you are interested. There is no doubt that they will be one of the first to invest in AR and adapt some of the first batch of new AR and VR games, and their biggest rivals like BetSoft and NetEnt are definitely going to do the same. There have been some huge investments by similarly oriented companies, mostly into research, and the signs at various iGaming expos are that these companies believe that AR is the future.
One more thing is worth mentioning as well. It might not be enough for casino software developers to offer players the chance to strap on a headset and take a seat at a virtual poker game, since it does not change much when compared to the real-life variety. That is all good and well with other games like sports and shooters, but for casinos there should be more. Both the developers and the players will arguably want more. What that “more” will look like is a little difficult to say, but the best guess is that it will involve games not traditionally found in a casino. For example, could you imagine entering an AR world where you solve puzzles for cash prizes, or try to go over some obstacles within the time limit and win money for it? Or perhaps a game where you play as an avatar in a fighting game in the mould of Street Fighter in win all or lose all scenarios? That is not as farfetched as it might sound, and probably closer than you think. In addition, it is a much better take on AR gambling that traditional casino style games we know and love.
Challenges for the industry to evolve
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that might very well be the case here. You see, there is a fear among casino owners, both physical traditional establishments and online services, that millennials and younger generations might not have the same relationship with traditional card and table games than the previous generations of players. The operators see things like loot boxes in video games like Fortnite and the rise of esports betting, and they want the casinos to offer something that is equally attractive to the youngsters who make up most of the gamer population. One such proposal are skill-based games, which are essentially competitive video games. The introduction and integration of AR is one, if not the best, way to deliver that with the ultimate levels of innovation and difference.
Conclusion and takeaways
These things take time of course and a lot of things have to be on the same page for it to happen. Nevertheless, as mentioned, the floors of the huge iGaming expos are full of reference to an AR future for all of us, and in all the different branches of entertainment. With the way technology has changed our expectations of all types of entertainment, it is almost old hat to think that playing classic casino games from home is exciting. It is for some players, for sure, but others will want more, and that means different experiences. With the money continuously being poured in for research and development, the AR casino could be coming sooner than we think, just like most technologies we already have did. The possibility however exists that it might look very different from a traditional casino, which is fine as things do need to keep up with the times if they are to survive.