As the end of 2020 draws ever closer, it’s time to look back at this year in live casino gaming. For better or worse, 2020 will be remembered as a noteworthy year. Of course, we’re not just talking about live table games here. The elephant in the room that was the Covid-19 pandemic is just one outside factor that we’ll need to consider.
An industry that prides itself on innovation simply cannot afford to sit still. That’s why each year is vastly different for live casinos than the last, and the same is true this time around. We’ll need to be more specific, though, so let's take a quick look at the casino industry landscape in 2020.
New Live Casino Games and Trends in 2020
Before we dive into financial matters and stats, let’s open up with a more fascinating subject. Why are there so many new live casino games in 2020, and how are they innovating?
This summer saw the world’s leading gambling software providers lean more heavily onto live dealer games. For instance, Pragmatic Play stepped up their game immensely with their new Azure titles. Evolution not only decided to rebrand but brought out so many new ideas it’s becoming hard to keep track. These are just 2 of the several major labels which massively expanded their live gaming portfolio.
More interestingly, companies that until recently focused on single-player RNG releases dove head-first into the waters of live-streamed casino offers. We can’t help but connect this trend to the fact most land-based casinos were closed for a few months. Essentially, it comes down to the reasons people go to casinos in the first place.
Live gaming as an experience
Think of it this way – online gambling was never intended as a direct replacement for traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Instead, it’s a sort of alternative. It has its pros and cons, as always, but playing online slots is hardly competitive with a Vegas Strip casino.
When major casinos were forced to shut their doors, this became quite apparent. The gist is that people don’t go to a casino strictly for games and gambling. It's not a straight-up financial exchange, after all. A real casino is an experience for its visitors. This is why cities like Las Vegas are popular tourist destinations even for people who aren’t into gambling.
Live dealer casino games are thus much closer to the real thing. Of course, comparing these two services is unfair, but hopefully, you understand where we’re going with this. Since land-based casinos were unavailable, thousands of gamers all over the world opted to go for the next-best option. The floodgates opened, and software developers rushed to fill the demands of an ever-growing market.
Of course, none of this is exactly new. The writing has been on the wall for quite a while now. For instance, the aforementioned Vegas Strip casinos have been recording decreased profits for years. While the rise of new gaming hubs such as Macau is partly to blame, the increased success of online casino and live gambling cannot be ignored.
So what’s the takeaway here? It seems that the 21st century is all about selling experiences rather than traditional products or services. This has been felt in many industries and not just live online gambling. As Forbes Magazine put it, it’s no longer about bringing the customer to the experience. It’s about bringing the experience to the customer – and live online gambling fits the bill perfectly.
Technical Innovation in Live Games
So the market shifted right in the online gambling industry’s favour, it seems. However, our story about experiences doesn’t end there. Some companies have opted to take a more proactive stance on innovating.
First of all, gambling on the internet would have been impossible without new and emerging technologies. Live internet gambling especially – streaming as such didn’t even exist a mere decade ago. In this regard, online casinos decided to take a tip from video games. Who else would always be at the forefront of such things?
And what’s the next big thing in video gaming? Virtual Reality. If you’ve been paying attention to what we wrote so far, this should make a lot of sense. If something is ever going to effectively simulate the experience of being in a casino remotely, it’s VR. Let’s be frank, though – the technology is not there yet. The only services one can found right now are simple slot games in a fancy VR veneer.
However, imaginations are already running wild with all the possibilities. Just imagine yourself sitting at a live blackjack table with a dealer present in full VR. Though 3D streaming is still in its infancy, this may become reality sooner than you think. If you’re feeling especially imaginative, you could join a table of players. Multiplayer VR games are already a thing, and someone is bound to make poker tables eventually.
Then again, one of the charms of top live casino games is that you can enjoy roulette in sweatpants. Maybe streaming your image to strangers on the internet is not such a great idea.
What else is new?
We haven’t even covered the whole story of experiences. For example, a new company called RealDealerStudios is experimenting with a cross between RNG and live dealer gaming. The idea is to make an immersive experience out of typical RNG-based casino games. Essentially, film-quality scenes depicted by professional actors play out as you try your luck. The idea is to get rid of the stiffness of live game dealers in exchange for a more intimate experience.
Hopefully, you have a clearer picture of what the best live table games will look like after 2020. Developers pay more and more attention to the entire journey a player goes through with one of their products. In short, the attention is shifting to the details of making entire experiences rather than simple games. The line between top live casino games and actual casinos are getting more blurry.