History of competitive gaming and esports
In its humble beginnings, esports was a subculture phenomenon known mainly to hard-core gamers. The story of esports and competitive gaming started out during the 70s with Arcade game tournaments and then became more widely available with the 8-bit era of the Nintendo Entertainment System. During the 90s, the first console wars took place, between Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Technology improved, prices were down, and consoles became available to more people. As part of the first console wars, Nintendo arranged the first Nintendo World Championship which was a large-scale event for gaming. This event helped bring competitive gaming to mainstream attention.
With the internet and the home PC, gaming became even more accessible, and competitive gaming continued to grow. During the 2000s, esports started to take shape with professionals circuits and prize pools. Come the 2010s and esports exploded. Viewership numbers of broadcasted matches exploded. By this time, gaming equipment, both consoles and PCs, had become affordable to more people.
New player expectations
Today gaming is so ingrained in our everyday lives. People play games online with their friends in the evening or heading to work in the subway. Along with watching TV, people play video, computer and mobile games daily. As such, the expectations of gaming providers in all entertainment verticals have increased. For online casinos especially, the pressure now is high, and they are at a point where they need to develop more advanced and interactive game titles in order to appeal to this next generation of online casino players. The online casino games industry is the biggest gaming vertical outside traditional gaming; PC gaming, Video gaming and Mobile gaming. The industry is projected to be worth $160 billion worldwide by 2026 which creates a great need for innovation and appeal to younger audiences.
Traditional online casino games versus next-gen casino slot games
In an online casino there are several types of slot games; Traditional Slots, Video Slots, 3D Slots and Interactive Slots. The difference between these games are mainly UI and UX aspects. Behind the games, technically, there’s a game engine which includes a random number generator which randomly generates the outcomes of game rounds. The RNG engine determines if a player wins or loses. As the name suggests, outcomes are completely random, and there is no skill input that can change the outcome. The different types of slots are merely different ways of interacting with the game.
Next-gen slots are 3D Slots and especially Interactive Slots. This genre within casino games is relatively new. The type of slots is generally more advanced and more expensive to develop and maintain compared to Traditional Slots and Video Slots. However, they are needed to attract younger players to the casinos—players who are used to playing advanced video games.
3D games are an evolution of Video Slots where 3D characters accompany the player during gameplay. These games usually have a narrative feel to them, and a comprehensive storyline the player follows as they play the slots.
Interactive Slots are the latest and most advanced type of slots available on the market. This is the type of games that most likely will hit home with people growing up playing video games. As the name mentions, interactive games allow players to interact with the game, influence the storyline and in some cases, play together with other players. These games give an illusion of control of the outcome of a game round and whether the bets placed win or lose.
If the online casino industry wishes to attract younger generations, they need to come up with increasingly more advanced and interactive games.