What We Learnt From iGaming In 2016
As one of the key areas of growth within the entire gaming industry, the iGaming landscape continues to become more and more developed and diversified every single year.
The past 12 months have been no different, with many online casinos, poker rooms, sports betting sites, bingo and lotteries evolving their level of service in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve. During this time, we’ve spotted many avenues at different stages of development that iGaming businesses seem to be investing in more and more.
Here we talk you through three of the biggest iGaming moves of 2016 – all of which you can expect to see more of as 2017 unfolds.
When Bitcoin was first introduced back in 2008, few could have imagined that it would become the world’s largest digital, decentralised currency in under 10 short years.
Last year, the number of official merchants accepting Bitcoin as a valid payment passed the 100,000 mark, which just goes to show how widespread the popularity of Bitcoin is these days. Our industry now has fully licensed Bitcoin online casinos, some of the leading Bitcoin sites include fortunejack.com and bitcasino.io.
It’s still very early days for Bitcoin payment systems in the grand scheme of things, but as the currency moves further into the mainstream there’s no doubt we’ll see more Bitcoin companies popping up in the iGaming market.
The Move to Mobile.
Five years ago, mobile-friendly websites and applications were still an option for iGaming businesses looking to appeal to as many people as possible; today, they are a necessity.
The fact is that smartphones, Android devices and tablets have become more popular than ever before in the past year, and are now our preferred platform for social media, email and many forms of online iGaming. At this point, if any online casino or bookmaker out there is not prepared to recognise their own mobile potential and invest in an engaging experience for mobile users, they are already losing business to their competitors who do make it a priority.
One of the most exciting developments in the iGaming industry in the past year has been the emergence of a new generation of virtual reality iGaming – particularly poker rooms and online casinos who share the aim to create an authentic gaming experience from the comfort of the players’ home.
Up until now, the most lifelike casino experiences have involved fairly basic 3D design and voice recognition; however, with the development of devices like the Oculus Rift we’re already starting to see more sophisticated online casinos that allow players to step into a virtual world with their own fully customisable avatar.
These avatars mirror head and body movements, so the player can literally order a drink, walk over to their preferred table and interact with other players from around the world while they make their next call.
If 2016 has been an intriguing year packed full of fresh opportunities for iGaming businesses to cement their place within a thriving marketplace, 2017 is more than likely to follow suit.
Relatively speaking, the trends we’ve spotted here are all in their infancy, which means we’re yet to see the true extent of their impact in the world of online gaming. The one thing we know for sure is that the iGaming community will continue to be at the forefront of these forms of technological development, particularly for newer and more secure payment systems and virtual reality platforms.
We can all agree, it’s an exciting time for players and operators alike.