The popularity of eSports in Korea has, of course, permeated around the other parts of the world. Millions of people watch the likes of League of Legends or Dota2 on Twitch, Afreeca TV or similar platforms, and you don’t even have to be a talented gamer to enjoy it. It’s been such an important cultural phenomenon of the 21st century, yet it is largely ignored by the mainstream media.
As we move into the 2020s, the whole idea of competitive gaming and gaming as a form of spectator entertainment is going to get even bigger, and the world’s major casino operators have already taken note of these trends. The basic premise is this: If competitive video gaming is so popular, why shouldn’t casino operators try to monetize it?
Casinos have already made changes
Already, online casino sites have aimed to become more about entertainment and more social. For instance, you can sign up to play and watch live roulette without needing to spend money on the games. Moreover, there is a push to get more of a community element on the sites, with more chat options, interactions with dealers, tournaments, treasure hunts and so on. Basically, anything that can change the perception of playing online casino games as a solitary exercise has been put forward.
Getting back to the world of eSports and competitive video gaming. There is a direct correlation between the demographic that plays and watches that form of entertainment – usually millennials – and those that casinos want to attract. It seems it is no longer enough to offer the chance to win money, and the entertainment has changed as a consequence.
The casino industry is rarely caught off guard when it comes to consumer trends, and of harnessing the power of new technology. So, it will come as no surprise to see that they have already been proactive in attracting the gamer generation with new concepts and experiences. Even the classic games like roulette mentioned above have come equipped with new exciting twists and gameplay features.
Chance to regulate the market
But the holy grail, as such, seems to be the concept of bringing competitive video games to the casino sites and casino floors. There are some underrated benefits of this, including the fact that casinos can offer a regulated and fair market for competitive video gameplay, and there have been some horror stories of how the scam-filled illegal betting market on video games that exists currently.
How would you monetize a video game? It depends on the set-up. It would be easy enough for casinos to set up pay-for-play tournaments, perhaps profiting from a percentage similar to the rake in poker rooms. There has also been talk of skill-based games, with the stress on the latter word “based”, i.e. games that require some skill but nevertheless have some element of luck.
We mentioned earlier that the casino industry is very proactive in pushing new tech and ideas, and you will see some incredible concepts at the various iGaming conventions across the globe. Adventure games that recall MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and that use VR and AR look to be an interesting move, and something that looks like it will gather some traction as we move into a new decade.
Will it be enough to encourage the millions of gamer fans to switch off Twitch and play at the casino? Well, it’s a certain bet that the lines between the two industries will continue to blur, and casinos and competitive video gaming might soon be almost interchangeable.