The casino and video game industries are two sides of the same coin. The likes of Uncharted, Destiny and Mass Effect might feel like a world away from poker and blackjack but both offer skills-based gameplay that rewards experience. The two sectors have also borrowed generously from each other over the years, a trait that could continue in the future.
Here are just a few ways casino and video gaming continue to influence each other, despite marketing to two distinct demographics.
It doesn’t do much to differentiate one brand from another but online casinos sometimes buy or lease their games from third-party developers. To make them more interesting to players, they’re often branded with Marvel and DC superheroes like Thor and The Hulk, popular TV shows (even of the antiques-related daytime variety), and video game characters.
There are already slot machines on the market with Call of Duty, Angry Birds and Tomb Raider on the reels. The obvious benefit of borrowing a franchise is in marketing to fans of the original
game, who may not otherwise express an interest in playing. The downside is that it can be expensive over long periods of time. It’s not standard in the industry but some iGaming companies do create their own original IPs for their online casino games and slots instead. British casino mFortune is a good example. Offering unique reels like Space Katz and Alien Farm Invasion, as well as a brand-new title in Hansel & Gretel, mFortune is unique in building its games in-house. The online casino also makes sure to keep attracting customers by releasing new games every month.
Casino’s role in the video game industry is in providing a canvas to work from. Games like poker and blackjack have both been the subject of their own video games in the past, with Bob Whitehead’s 1978 title Casino one of the earliest. The advent of virtual reality (VR) gaming has only increased developers’ interest in classic casino pursuits.
Poker in particular has a storied history on consoles, and recently made its debut on the PS4. There are also a number of VR poker experiences centered on the Oculus Rift. The game has a role to play in making VR a more social, competitive arena as opposed to the largely single-player experiences current Oculus games offer.
It could be argued that any video game that relies on luck as a gameplay mechanic (more commonly known as RNG in console and PC gaming, for Random Number Generator) such as XCOM 2 or ‘card battle’ game Hearthstone owes a few words of thanks to roulette, the original game of chance.
As a final point, there’s some indication that iGaming and video gaming could move closer together in the future, becoming almost indistinguishable from each other. Casino needs to catch up with current tastes in gaming and replacing some luck and chance-based games with more skill-based experiences could help the sector appeal to a younger audience of ‘millennials’. The inclusion of video game imagery on slot machines is just the start of a shift towards that more modern casino experience.