The online casino industry has always been one to embrace change. Ever since the industry was founded on new technology, developers across the sector have been quick to jump on the latest innovations. In fact, many of the leading operators have used innovation as a marketing tool for the best part of a decade. Take, for instance, live dealer casino games. When the idea of using RFID chips and webcams to create realistic games was still fresh, early adopters were able to offer consumers a unique, more immersive experience. As the technology has spread across the industry, the bigger brands have forged relationships with developers to launch their own branded tables and even studios. The result of these collaborations has been a surge in live gaming action and, for those that have invested heavily in it, some clever marketing opportunities.
The Virtual Battle Ground
“mobile meetup augmented reality” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by osde8info
Moving towards 2020 and beyond, the live dealer battleground looks set to be replaced by a virtual one. With experts predicting mixed reality tech will be worth $108 billion by 2021, software companies and operators alike are scrambling to utilize the medium. For those entrenched within the gaming sector, virtual reality roulette has already started to flourish, as has poker. However, in a crowded market where brands need an edge, mixed reality slots could be the next USP. Indeed, much like live dealer games separated the top brands from the rest of the pack in 2010, innovative slot games could become an important marketing tool over the next five years. In fact, when you look at the market as a whole, this makes sense. For instance, when you look inside a gaming news platform, this is where you can check online casino reviews. The one thing you’ll notice here is that slots are the main focus.
As well as outlining how many slots and developers are on display, the review sites give users a breakdown of the top titles and even some tips on where to find them. In fact, when you narrow your search and start to look at individual operators, the industry’s focus on slots becomes even more apparent. Indeed, when you read news about Jackpotcity, slots feature heavily within the article, with the company offering hundreds. From an overall rating to the company’s mobile provisions, these reviews give players an acute insight into a casino’s slot gaming options. Why? Well, because they’re the most popular type of game and, therefore, a major selling point. This, in turn, backs up the prediction that virtual and mixed reality slots will be the next innovation to sweep the industry. If that’s the case, the natural question is how this will happen.
A Hierarchy of Ways to Make AR Slots a Reality
“Mobile Futures” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by NYC Media Lab
As we know, web augmented reality (AR) is the fastest way of delivering an enhanced reality experience. Within the next decade, this is likely to become the default method for smaller operators due to the lower running costs. For those already running a mobile app with a large database, the most effective answer could be to build an AR module into the preexisting software. The most impressive way to offer AR slots would be to create a separate app. Naturally, this would require a huge amount of time and investment on the part of the software developer and the casino operator. The end result, however, would be easier access, more variety and better quality.
The upshot of this would then be a better marketing opportunity. Just as live dealer technology was the reserve of a few well-off operators a decade ago, the same will be true for mixed reality slots. However, those that do invest in the medium could have a huge edge over their competition. Indeed, with players clearly enthused by anything that makes their games more realistic and engaging, it seems as though it’s more a case of when virtual slots will happen, rather than if.
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