As one of the key areas of growth within the entire gaming industry, the iGaming landscape continues to become more and more developed and diversified every single year.
The past 12 months have been no different, with many online casinos, poker rooms, sports betting sites, bingo and lotteries evolving their level of service in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve. During this time, we’ve spotted several avenues at different stages of development that iGaming businesses seem to be investing in more and more.
We’re here to talk through three of the hottest iGaming trends of 2016 – all of which you can expect to see more of as the new year unfolds…
Fully Licensed Bitcoin Casinos Are Now a Thing
When Bitcoin was first introduced back in 2008, few could have imagined that it would become the world’s largest digital, decentralised currency in under 10 short years.
Last year, the number of official merchants accepting Bitcoin as a valid payment , which just goes to show how widespread the popularity of Bitcoin is these days. We even have fully licensed Bitcoin online casinos, where gamers can and play their preferred casino game using a Bitcoin wallet with just a few clicks.
It’s still very early days for Bitcoin payment systems in the grand scheme of things, but as the currency moves further into the mainstream there’s no doubt we’ll see more Bitcoin vendors popping up in the iGaming market. Watch this space.
The Move to Mobile
Five years ago, mobile-friendly websites and applications were still an option for iGaming businesses looking to appeal to as many people as possible; today, they are a necessity.
The fact is that smartphones, Android devices and tablets have become , and are now our preferred platform for social media, email and many forms of online iGaming. At this point, if any online casino or bookmaker out there is not prepared recognise their own mobile potential and invest in an engaging experience for mobile users, they are already losing business to their competitors who do make it a priority.
Virtual Reality is on the Horizon
One of the most exciting developments in the iGaming industry in the past year has been the emergence of a new generation of virtual reality iGaming – particularly poker rooms and online casinos who share the aim to create an authentic gaming experience from the comfort of the players’ home.
Up until now, the most lifelike casino experiences have involved fairly basic 3D design and voice recognition; however, with the development of devices like the Oculus Rift we’re already starting to see more sophisticated online casinos that allow players to step into a virtual world with their own fully customisable avatar.
These avatars mirror head and body movements, so the player can literally order a drink, walk over to their preferred table and interact with other players from around the world while they make their next call. Pretty cool, right?
If 2016 has been an intriguing year packed full of fresh opportunities for iGaming businesses to cement their place within a thriving marketplace, 2017 is more than likely to follow suit. Relatively speaking, the trends we’ve spotted here are all in their infancy, which means we’re yet to see the true extent of their impact in the world of online casino gaming. The one thing we know for sure is that the iGaming community will continue to be at the forefront of these forms of technological development, particularly for newer and more secure payment systems and virtual reality platforms. We can all agree, it’s an exciting time for players and vendors alike.