The Future of Mobile Gaming

April 30th, 2018

Decades ago we could only dream of carrying our favourite fruit machines with us in our pockets. Now, years later, we're placing bets from any place, at any time. So, what does the future hold for the iGaming industry?

While there's certainly still nothing quite like visiting a casino first hand, it's impossible to deny the effect that the rise of mobile devices, the internet, and the increasing ease of access to Wi-Fi has had on traditional gaming and gambling. Many industry leaders have had to adapt and look for new ways to engage with punters. Mobile and online casinos and bookmakers have become increasingly popular, and there's a huge amount of evidence that suggests mobile gaming is the future for casinos, bookmakers and slots.

Convenience vs Experience

There's one overriding reason for the rise of the mobile device, and that's convenience. We can manage almost all aspects of our lives from a single device. We can get the latest news, check our email, contact friends and access entertainment – such as online casinos – almost anywhere. Mobile internet provides almost unrestricted internet access, so we're plugged in in most places we go.

While there are valid arguments that staring at our phones constantly isn't necessarily the healthiest thing in the world, the fact remains that we now use these devices more than almost anything else. A study conducted in the UK found people check their phones around 10,000 times a year – that’s about 28 times a day. As Greg Tatton-Brown from Casumo noted: “Our smart devices have become an essential part of modern life and checking them regularly is second nature for more users.”

This convenient access can trump the experience that might be offered by a physical slot in a casino or high street bookmaker. This gives casinos and bookmakers two routes: Make their physical locations more of an experience-based establishment (easier for casinos), and ensure they expand their online mobile gaming access, whether it be in the form of a mobile-compatible site or a dedicated app.

Shifting Developer Focus

These trends have been well and truly embraced by industry leaders, and we can expect to see increased investment in mobile casino games in the future, according to the World Gaming Expo. This means developers are also likely to shift more and more to the mobile realm in terms of platform. Having a slot that’s playable on both desktop and mobile is already extremely important, but it's likely we could see more and more mobile-exclusive games in the coming years, or certainly more of a blurring between desktop and mobile gaming.

We're also likely to see more partnership deals coming to fruition between established casinos and bookmakers and gaming software developers. This is already happening, as can be seen with the recent deal between Prima Networks and Casino Barcelona.

Game Innovation

There are major advantages that mobile games have over traditional slots, not least the fact they can be released worldwide quickly and effectively. In addition to other well-established positives (like being able to apply patches or software updates quickly), there's another driving factor at play for mobile gaming – innovation.

It's no secret that the mobile casino industry is booming. In 2017 it had an estimated worth of around $40.6 billion, and this means it's also the perfect climate for new developers. According to Network News Wire, many larger gaming companies are working in league with traditional providers to buy up new and upcoming mobile gaming developers. The possibility of earning a fortune from a buyout is likely to motivate many indy developers to create new titles, and this has another interesting side-effect.

Smaller studios with nothing to lose are far more likely to take risks when it comes to innovation in order to make themselves stand out. This can lead to industry-changing products, similar to the affect PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or Minecraft has had on traditional console and video gaming. The influx of new blood also makes larger studios more willing to innovate, so there's a good chance we'll start to see more titles in the vein of Castle Builders II in the future.

What it All Means for Players

If there's one thing that’s certain for the future of mobile gaming, it's that players will see the benefits. As mobile becomes the main focus for both online casinos and the game developers, it's likely we'll start to see even more streamlined processes, easier account management (to allow for quicker access to games), even faster payments and of course, many more titles – which is the main current downside to mobile gaming. Many online casinos offer only a selection of their games libraries for mobile.

Something else that’s almost certain to change is the look and feel of mobile games. As mobile devices increase in power and capability, developers will start to pull out all the stops when it comes to creating exceptional graphics and sound for even more immersive experiences. Whatever the future holds, it'll be bigger, better and more interesting than ever for mobile gaming.