As one of the fastest-moving industries, iGaming has been through many changes and challenges over time. Players are always seeking new exciting experiences, regulations change, and as new markets open, the pressure seems to increase in the more established gaming markets. Keeping ahead of trends and following the changing dynamics necessary for staying relevant in the industry is becoming harder as the speed of events increases. But to better understand the future of gaming, we first must understand the factors that influence and shape it. Here, we will explore the key trends that are expected to impact the online gaming space and drive innovation in the upcoming 12 months.
Commoditization of Content
When it comes to iGaming, there is no discussion that content is king. The whole gaming market is built on a wide variety of content aimed at providing a plethora of player experiences. But lately, standing out from the crowd has become a challenge. On top of the 30,000 games that already exist, we see over 50 new games launched almost every month.
The question is, how many of these games offer a new and different experience? Perhaps creating a unique gaming experience is not so easy, but the games that perform the best share some common characteristics such as enchanting theme and unique reel arrays. Some online operators even go a step further and try to bring content from land-based casinos to digital, in a new gamified form. But in order to attract player, operators must find simple, enticing ways to promote games.
Challenging Times in Europe as Markets Mature
Regulation has always been a hot topic in gaming. But now it’s more prevalent than ever. Markets in Europe are reaching a certain level of maturity where players expect a high level of service and quality from game manufacturers and operators alike. At the same time, as the markets grow, regulators keep evaluating their policies and implementing new ones in an attempt to keep the industry accountable.
Greater political scrutiny and new regulation are creating additional operational challenges. The existing advertising bans, crackdowns on bonusing and stricter AML/KYC checks make it even harder for operators to keep their heads above water. And only those who can be creative and fast can succeed in the upcoming year. One way that operators can stay ahead of the regulatory curve is to lead a change by embracing the new technology, including the blockchain. Another way operators try to lighten up the burden of the regulator is by scaling, so we expect to see many mergers and acquisitions in the coming months.
The emergence of Mobile Gaming
Mobile gaming is slowly but surely taking over. In fact, nearly 70 percent of iGaming turnover is generated via a mobile device. This number will only rise as the migration from desktop to mobile continues. Going mobile is one of the main challenges the industry faces since there are many debates over many aspects of mobile gaming.
But mobile UX is still in its infancy, which means operators that already started curating exciting and engaging mobile experiences for their player, via responsive websites or mobile apps, are leading the way. Mobile devices offer the ability to create a truly immersive and personalized experience, but developers and operators need to first truly understand mobile. Only then, they can create experiences that will drive the future growth of (mobile) gaming forward.
Player Acquisition and Retention
One key thing to remember in 2019 is that players should always come first. Only platforms that deliver personalized, bespoke experiences will survive in the long run. This is especially important now because many operators are facing the challenge to attain new and retain existing players. The associated costs, and restrictions in advertising are making it even more difficult to get in front of your potential players.
While the gaming industry is just begging to catch up in respect of targeting and personalization, using data science and technology to understand target markets and players’ behavior can greatly help in creating a stronger backbone for smarter, more effective player acquisition and retention strategies. Responsible gaming has to be part of the equation though. As it is very important for rewarding and encouraging the right play, and identifying when players display the wrong types of behavior along with suggesting or implementing ways to stop that behavior.
Looking Forwards to the Next Chapter
The begging of the year has been very exciting and successful. But also full of lessons and challenges. And we can safely say that the iGaming industry is changing so much, so fast, that the only way to keep up is to accept the trends that are changing gaming forever. With AR, VR, blockchain, cryptocurrency and other technological advancement entering the industry, reimaging the way games are played and offering the player new, even more personalized and immersive gaming experiences is the only logical next step.