The move that gave casino gaming to a whole new audience was taking a physical casino’s croupier table to an online casino, but what is next? NetEnd’s Head of Live Casino Sam Brown takes a look at the future and see things going mobile.
Twenty years have passed since the launch of the first online casino. Right at the peak of the digital age, it was not long before they took the world by storm. With blackjack, poker and roulette leading the way, online casinos all over the world soon signed up millions of players and with every passing year, technological improvements have opened up the possibilities for the introduction of more games, enhanced gameplay and in more recent times, mobile capability.
However, although new technology has flooded the gaming and betting industry, live casino was what brought the casino atmosphere to life for players of online games. With real people dealing real cards on real tables, live casino lies between retail and online, proving especially popular with customers who are not traditionally experienced with random number generated games and want to interact in a live environment. This is a recipe that has brought success and many rewards to operators in the online gaming world.
Numerous research shows that people are spending increasing periods of time online than ever, and these hours are spent mostly on smartphones. With mobiles now the chosen mode for surfing the net, it is critical for developers to make sure that the design of their games is mobile friendly, and live casino is no different.
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For NetEnt, it is critical for the company to ensure that our successful brand offering in live casino, NetEnt Live, continues to move with the times and makes the most of the evolving habits of players. We feel that designing for mobile is not optional for developers anymore; it is a must. So, how does one successfully bring something like live casino to mobile, when it is a product that is inherently more complex technically than an RNG game and traditionally enjoyed by players on a larger screen?
The first consideration should be making every effort to ensure that those elements that make live casino so popular are kept. A product’s core strength is its ability to interact with the dealer and other players, making the maintenance of social capabilities key. The level of realism and interaction will be taken to a whole new level in the future, using augmented and virtual realities that are at present taking the world by storm.
Trust is another important consideration when it comes to any live game, and maintaining the game’s integrity – the synchronization of the video, audio and game interface – is everything. It is crucial to keep all the elements of the game synchronized across all types of devices, browsers, operating systems and connection speeds.
Design is another thing we must consider, ensuring consistency across devices, working with spaces that are smaller and making sure that the varying interactions and needs of players across their various devices are acknowledged. If a desktop product is simply copied and pasted into the small screen, developers are destined for nothing but failure. Success in the mobile world requires knowledgeable, dedicated and nuanced design.
A simple example is to think about how people use their mobiles for online gambling, which is generally in more regular yet shorter bursts as compared to desktops, and hardly for a single function. How can the user experiences and design leverage this opportunity to create an enhanced product? How can we come up with a design that facilitates the multi-tasking environments that are craved by users?
No silver bullet exists, which means that we must, instead, engage in an ongoing relationship with our players, where we provide them with the forum where they can describe what they need. Compared to desktop, interfaces and technology on mobile devices are changing at a much faster rate, so we need to take on an iterative improvement cycle based on the customer’s voice, and subsequently a product design that is sensitive.
Live casino’s future is incredibly exciting, and ever-improving mobile technologies are destined to make the live environment grow even further. There is no time better than now for suppliers to future-proof their existence and become part of the mobile revolution.
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