What will online casinos look like in the next few years?
03 October 2017
We all like to imagine what technology will look like in the future and how it will affect our lives. As a digital agency that specialises in gaming solutions, this is a particularly interesting topic for us. There are lots of ambitious ideas for gambling, such as using VR and holograms just like in sci-fi films. Whether tech advancements will permit this or not, we must also consider the smaller elements of how players will be able to interact with gaming brands. After all, engagement comes down to personal preferences and how these products address users’ needs. Before we get too far ahead, we must work on those smaller elements that will improve the user experience in gambling, so operators can start innovating further. Let's take a look at what casino lobbies could look like in the next 2-3 years.
Innovation vs tradition
Innovation for the sake of innovation doesn’t always work, especially in gaming where users are so used to certain patterns and behaviours. It’s very hard to change their habits for no particular reason and operators could be at risk of putting off their customers by doing so. It is much easier to start reworking the smaller details that don’t disrupt the entire user experience, while still making changes and moving the product further. Many operators are now looking at introducing improvements on a micro-scale to gradually enhance the gaming experience. We believe this will be a priority for many to modernise their services.
There have been some crucial technical advancements that have fuelled innovation in gaming, as well as other sectors. These include new generation devices, upgrades in software, touch screen, 4G, Touch ID and Paypal or Apple payments. While we’re yet to see what the next generation of devices will be like, looking back at the last three years, not much has changed that has affected the industry on such a big scale.
There has been a slow integration of some of the software-based features above, such as Apple or Paypal payments, which will likely become the norm even in the less-advanced casino suppliers. However, blockchain technology is one to watch in the next couple of years. It’s seen as one of the most disruptive financial solutions that could bring significant changes to the payments industry. While it’s still fairly new in gaming, there are already emerging companies that provide cryptocurrency services to the operators.
Blockchain can be used as a RNG to create transparency and fair gaming for the players, as anyone can verify the information within it. Blockchain is also very secure - it has extensive encryption and its data can’t be altered once it’s been entered. This also means that any need for middlemen or processes between transactions can be minimised or removed. This can subsequently decentralise gaming, allowing for automated activities taking place without much human interference.
Another game changer has been the rise in mobile and tablet devices. With the use of desktop decreasing, we expect the user experience and interface to be tailored more to tablet and mobile devices. As a wide range of games are still built in Flash, they are likely to be steadily replaced by newer games that can handle the larger processing power and screens of the latest hardware.
While it’s difficult to change games or certain services that users expect from casinos, there are ways of improving other elements of how players can interact with them. There’s been a bigger push for personalised content in online casinos to match user preferences based on their previous engagements. Casino operators have started implementing new tools from greeting customers by name, introducing fun onboarding elements to providing content relevant to player habits and preferences. Customisation is becoming increasingly important and this area will grow in the next couple of years. It’s already widely used in retail and entertainment, so it’s time the gambling industry caught up too.
Data analysis and AI
Data is crucial for gaming companies and we see them take more action towards improving analysis in the next few years. Operators deal with large amounts of customer data, so it’s important to process it to understand customer profiles, behaviours and engagement with the casino. Many leading retail and financial companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to handle large sets of data. This is further translated into automation, machine learning and customer intelligence. With advanced AI data analysis, product owners are able to focus on high-value activities and customer experience, leaving high-volume, repetitive tasks to the machines.
In gaming, it could really help maintain day-to-day transactions, customisation, user acquisition and retention, as well as handling some of the regulated processes, such as background checks, verifications and spotting problem gamblers. There is likely to be an increase in machine learning and more complex data analysis that will help online casinos identify customer profiles and behaviours to provide an improved user experience and personalised content.
Looking beyond gaming
There’s a reason why popular entertainment brands, like Amazon, Netflix and Spotify are so popular - their user experience and interface is focused on the content. All secondary features are left in the background to make way for the key elements, which is the reason why users come to those websites and apps. Casino lobbies could also adopt this approach to highlight their game selection and limit the amount of steps users need to take to reach it. It is worth taking inspiration from leading brands outside of gaming, as more users are familiar with them and will be able to start playing in no time.
While tech giants, such as Apple and Google, are experimenting with AR and VR, these innovations take time to really become part of our everyday lives. At the moment, they are seen more as gimmicks and aren’t expected to bring many changes to gaming in the foreseeable future. Despite this, we really look forward to finding out how operators will apply the current trends and emerging technology to improve and modernise online casinos. It is also worth considering potential regulatory changes that could affect the industry as they are announced. Focusing more on customer needs and user experience is definitely key. We also hope they take inspiration from products outside of gaming to bring some new elements to gambling.