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Modern Multiplayer Functionality Is the Next Innovation to Sweep iGaming

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by , 20 February 2020 at 5:03 pm (142 Views)
The community here at the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association is always discussing new ways to bring innovation to the industry and supporting the success of the GPWA members. Over the years, the iGaming scene has developed a great deal, from basic online card games to the expansive and diverse gaming libraries that we see today.

Here, we ponder the next potential innovation that could start to sweep the iGaming industry: multiplayer functionality. While there are already some forms of multiplayer games in iGaming, many of which have originally been showcased at European iGaming conferences over the years, the next big step simmering under the surface is the incorporating the multiplayer and social aspects that people seek when they go online.

The way forward for iGaming

As competition has ramped up over the years, iGaming platforms and developers have increasingly been seeking new ways to appeal the larger audiences and bring a new but instantly-popular product to the table. The best way to stand out in the competitive industry is to introduce something novel that invites players to interact on a deeper level than simply playing to land a jackpot.

Usually, the best way to get some early insight into what’s to come in the industry is to attend an iGaming conference. We have an extensive list of members at GPWA and many cite conferences as being a way to get the pulse of the industry, seeing what’s in the works and what people are working towards.

One of the most recent upcoming trends was that of virtual reality casino gaming, but that has never managed to properly takeoff. So, it’s time to look at existing technological trends and how they can be applied to iGaming.

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While many people distinguish iGaming and video gaming as two very different entertainment mediums, they boast the same core elements: decision making, objectives, entertainment, and a reward for winning. Of course, the gameplay itself differs a great deal, but aspects that work in video gaming can be applied to that of iGaming – just as elements of iGaming have been applied to video gaming in the form of loot boxes.

It has been found in the analysis of WePC that only one per cent of PC gamers, three per cent of home console gamers, five per cent of handheld console gamers and two per cent of smartphone gamers don’t play online multiplayer modes. Furthermore, a massive 22 per cent of PC gamers spent between 61-80 per cent of their game time playing online multiplayer titles.

Further support for the need of social elements is rooted in base internet statistics as well. The Next Web statistics for internet use show that social media platforms have a combined 3.484 billion active users, showing a 45 per cent penetration. This shows that a glut of the internet-using public goes online to be social, chat with friends, and use platforms that are based around social features.

The key to effectively invoking the elements of multiplayer functionality that people seek in online gaming comes down to allowing social interaction features as well as a way to see others playing to create a form of competition and community.

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It’s very clear that the social and competitive side of gambling is still a huge factor that many people enjoy, which is why so many still flock to land-based casinos as the experience is different to online gaming. As reported in the industry statistics of the UK Gambling Commission, iGaming only makes up 37 per cent of the market despite being more convenient, accessible and diverse.

There are games out there that utilise multiplayer elements, such as progressive jackpot suites, in which all players contribute to an ever-growing jackpot. Some aspects of some live casino games also use elements of multiplayer gaming, with winner lists ticking along the side of the screen at the end of each round.

However, we have begun to see live chat creeping into live casino, too. It's not the live chat feature itself that's novel in gaming: apps such as Discord have been in use in video gaming for some time, while there has been pressure on gaming suppliers to provide live chat support. What's new here is the social and competitive side to multiplayer gaming and the new levels that it's reaching. We can look at the chat and player bet features of Multiplayer Roulette at Betway as an example: the gameplay itself takes place at a standard European roulette table, but the live chat feature makes it unique. Up to four other people can play and bet on the game at the same time and not only can the user can see their bets get placed but they can chat with them live, providing a new immersive casino experience.

This level of real-time communication online is a budding casino trend that many users would like to see more of: people who go to a land-based casino for a night out go for the experience that comes with being social or competitive on the night. But video gaming and social media don't have to make it so that people who play games or go online crave the experience of enjoying the games with others.

With internet access and use being so standard in modern lives, people have come to expect certain functionalities from the products that they interact with online. Nowadays, online gaming means competing against others and being sociable, and iGaming should further embrace this as its next innovative step towards creating even more immersive and entertaining games.

Updated 2 March 2020 at 2:44 pm by Integrity

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Online Gambling , iGaming

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