While both online casinos and online gaming have existed for decades now, they’re far from reaching some sort of settled equilibrium. Constant developments in technology and the greater socio-cultural landscape mean the ways we engage are always in flux, where both industries must evolve or risk falling behind. Taking a closer look at this idea reveals that, while many core aspects have remained steady, the greater goals of both ecosystems have changed.
The Developing Years
The first generations of online casinos arrived in 1996, around the same time that online video games were going from limited and text-only MUDS to something far more impressive. During this time, finding customers didn’t bring with it the concerns of competing in a flooded market as it does today. Instead, getting attention was more about exploiting what the early internet could do, which players had never seen before. This couldn’t remain true forever, however, where the growing success of both industries created the necessity for those involved to stand out.
A Contemporary Landscape
In both the modern video game and online casino worlds, improving access is a primary pursuit. For online casinos, the move to mobile phones has been one of the biggest contributors to this development. Ubiquitous as they are, a mobile market with billions of users creates a significant potential user-base.
Acting alongside better access for online casinos has been the constant growth of the online casino bonuses market. Here, the likes of deposit matches and free spins have been introduced on major casinos to drive continual engagement. This way, the longer players are active, the more they could win, and the more they’ll be encouraged to play.
Though video games take a different approach, the ultimate goal of driving long-term engagement remains similar. Both PCs and console games reflect this reality, where the idea is not just about procuring overall sales but keeping players active on certain ecosystems. Microsoft wants to tie players to Xbox and Windows, Sony to PlayStation, and so on.
With similar goals, the major companies in the video gaming market still take very different approaches. Sony is now focussing on platform exclusives, with the idea that people will miss out if they don’t get involved with its new console. Microsoft, owing to its shared console/PC player base, can afford a much broader method. Rather than leaning into exclusives (which they are actively avoiding), Microsoft wants to share games over PC and Xbox so players get more mileage from what they do spend.
An Ever-Present Process
As reliant on technological evolution as both online casinos and video games are, there’s no perceivable point where the two industries will completely stagnate. Instead, success in the coming generations is about holding on to the players they have, while always testing the deepening waters of something new.
The end goals of both industries are the same, but the small differences between them mean that tactics can never be shared completely. Popularity is a balancing act, constantly threatened by others pushing ahead or doing something that others lack the foresight to commit to. Managing their ecosystems is almost like guiding a living entity, but unlike living entities, there’s no telling how large these industries could grow.