The surface of gaming has changed. Each generation of games can be categorised based on who developers expect to play them. Skills based Atari games of the 1980s reflected the technology available, but also the gameplay of arcades, which did a booming trade. The PS1 featured character gameplay (Crash, Spyro, Croc, Rayman) as players navigated through fictional worlds through a narrative weaved together with levels. The PS2 branched into features that would appeal more to a younger market – those who had stayed with the brand since the early years of PS1. The 3rd generation of consoles opened players up to a more adult way of gaming, stretching themes into real world scenarios and saw the likes of Call of Duty utilize faster internet connections. If we move this thought process over to iGaming, we can use the same formula to predict who should be targeted for iGaming enhancements, and how exactly they can be targeted. And the target for the ICE Totally Gaming 2018 should be millennials.
“Millennials” is an oft-corrupted word that takes on its meaning depending on what the topic is. But, as millennials will represent 50% of the work force by 2020 – and 50% of the target market for iGaming, they should be the focus of future iGaming innovations.
Skills Based Gaming in a Familiar Setting
According to research by LinkedIn, millennials prefer meritocracy rather than one-off incentives. In the iGaming world, this translates to preferring skill-based games that reward with levelling up and gradual improvement rather than a quick pay out. By focusing on skill-based games, such as online slots that reward based on cumulative progress, much like many online blackjack and poker games, iGaming developers can satisfy the millennials’ desire to see the accumulation of their hard work. Blackjack games can vary the difficulty level based on actual gameplay to add a greater degree of skill needed. This can further make the millennial feel as though they are achieving rather than just winning based on luck, depending on how difficult a blackjack game (and how high a payout, how advanced the other players are) is. By revolutionizing slots to work with both skill and luck, millennials may make the jump to iGaming, while steadfast players may also enjoy changing the way they play – or having an option to. Furthermore, by getting a chance to play games based on pop culture franchises, such as the official Game of Thrones or the Jurrasic World slots on Bet Way Casino, which take content and music from the popular franchise, millennials can feel connected to a fandom they are a part of while they utilise their skills. Developer Microgaming specialises in a host of franchised online slots, while PlayTech signed a record-breaking slots licensing deal with DC Comics earlier in the year. All this shows that the familiar setting of a fanbase is a prosperous aspect of iGaming.
Player vs Player
Millennials are extremely connected – especially so since the dawn of the armada of social media available. With 81% using social media daily according to Wordstream, the future for iGaming for millennials is to connect with others through whatever they’re doing. iGaming should take the focus away from playing solely against the bank and push more live games – something millennials are quickly embracing, especially since Pokemon Go that worked in real time wherever the player was – is that play against real people, as Forbes confirms. A live scoreboard or leaderboard, the opportunity to chat about the game, and the interactivity that comes from knowing you are playing opposite a real person will play to the millennials’ interests. However, iGaming developers shouldn’t alienate other players who prefer gaming to be a solitary pursuit against the computer and may be put off by live gaming. It’s crucial to find the balance between new ground and ensuring the target demographic is appeased by the developments. For example, NetEnt develop a lot of casino games that can be played easily using Flash or HTML5 on a web browser, which, technologically-speaking is relatively simple and easy for fans of the more traditional way to game online – while they also work on live casino games that may appeal to millennials and those wanting to try something different.
The rise of eSports – and in particular eSports betting, a growing aspect of iGaming – such as DOTA 2, Starcraft 2, and League of Legends has revolutionised how people play games, especially millennials. In fact, there was even an eSports arena opened in Las Vegas, allowing players to compete live against one another and train in various eSports. The payout for the latest DOTA 2 tournament was $20,770,460, double that of The Masters. A recent Internet Trends report found that while non-millennials significantly (56%) preferred real sports, there was no real significant difference between physical sports and eSports for millennials. The latter like both the same. So, eSports in iGaming should be a large focus for the ICE Totally Gaming 2018. Not only do the eSports games take skill to play, but also from a betting perspective, choosing a winner isn’t as straightforward, and the more information available in making a decision adds further skill to participating in eSports. eSports capitalise on the millennial intellectual strengths as opposed to traditional sports’ reliance on physical ones. Fans of sports betting could even turn fully to iGaming should it be worth their while and the software be easy to comprehend.Gaming should continue to push the boundaries and never rest on its laurels, so each year’s gaming conferences should attempt new innovations. By choosing to target what millennials might be interested in, games developers succeed in being at the forefront of popular trends. By following the zeitgeist and feeding into it, developers will help set the agenda for what millennials will want to play by also giving them what they are expected to want. It will definitely be interesting to see how ICE Totally Gaming 2018 answers the millennial question.
Gaming should continue to push the boundaries and never rest on its laurels, so each year’s gaming conferences should attempt new innovations. By choosing to target what millennials might be interested in, games developers succeed in being at the forefront of popular trends. By following the zeitgeist and feeding into it, developers will help set the agenda for what millennials will want to play by also giving them what they are expected to want. It will definitely be interesting to see how ICE Totally Gaming 2018 answers the millennial question.