Are iGaming and Video Gaming Closer Than we Think?
Despite the increased digitisation of PC and console gaming, iGaming – online casino, poker and sports betting – is typically considered to be a separate industry. This has largely been due to the different categorisation of an activity like online blackjack, which is often seen as less of a skill-based activity than, say, playing an MMORPG.
However, according to both developed trends within gaming and academic research, over the last decade, the differences between the two sectors have begun to diminish. Video gaming is no longer tied to a console or desktop thanks to the rise of mobile gaming, so gamers are increasingly participating in more and more casual iGaming titles. On a similar note, social networks have been beginning to offer casino-style games, which, despite being free-to-play act as an entry point into the more complex world of real-money casino gaming.
How Video Gaming and iGaming Inspire Innovation
Across the board, the gaming industry has undergone some significant growth in recent years, most notably during the 2020-21 period, with the industry’s value shooting up to as much as $178.73 billion — according to data compiled by WePC . With video gaming and iGaming rising in popularity, the two sectors have both embraced characteristics of the other and inspired ongoing innovation.
We can attribute a large percentage of this development to technological innovation and the increased availability of gaming hardware and data connectivity. Playing a casino game or taking part in a round of poker was historically an in-person activity, but the dawn of a new century shifted these activities into the digital realm.
In many ways, we could even look at the iGaming segment as pioneering the way for online gaming as it is today. With their vast content libraries of different slots, card and table games, online casino operators were some of the early adopters of a style of gaming that is now prevalent in PC platforms like Steam and even cloud gaming platforms like Amazon’s Luna.
Clearly, if it weren’t for video games entering the mainstream it’s unlikely that we’d even have an iGaming segment today, but the sector has continued to be influenced by traditional PC or console gaming in other ways.
Take multiplayer features, for instance. A staple in the wider gaming industry, multiplayer gaming has given rise to lucrative genres like MMORPG and Battle Royale, and that’s to say nothing of its role in the formation of eSports. The multiplayer elements of traditional video gaming have made their way into the online casino and poker genres too. Most table games can be played in a multiplayer format online and then, of course, there are the many online pro tournaments that casino and poker players compete in.
The Influence of eSports
The growth of professional video gaming, aka eSports, has been another driver behind the ever-blurring lines between iGaming and video gaming. eSports predominately attracts a younger demographic with the resources and enthusiasm to follow, support and participate in digital narratives.
eSports is a dynamic, cutting-edge gaming ecosystem that encompasses individuals and organisations, from the amateur gamer streaming on Twitch to top gaming leagues like Team Liquid, as well as those multi-million dollar prizes up for grabs at elite global tournaments. Naturally, it’s a gaming segment that has piqued a lot of interest from both gaming fans and global brands alike. It’s also one of the fastest-growing segments when it comes to the sports betting element of the iGaming segment.
Millennials have grown up with video gaming as part of their daily life. While it may have started out as a solo activity, in the 2020s gaming is social, with gamers opting to watch or play eSports with friends more than they are alone. It makes sense, then, that 25 to 40 year-olds view their favourite eSports league as a football fan does Manchester United or Chelsea F.C. By understanding and being interested in the game mechanics, this is the demographic that is choosing to place wagers on eSports games and, in turn, ensuring the continued integration of iGaming and gaming.