2020 has arrived and January is in full swing. For most, it’s a time to think about reductions- be it in the belly department or alcohol consumption- but for those of us in the iGaming world, it’s an exciting period where we get to speculate about what the year ahead will bring.
The gaming industry is constantly in flux, but as developers set out their strategies for the year, it’s a great time to take a look at what 2020 has in store for online Players. From the latest tech to new game formats and exciting industry developments, stay tuned as we take a look at the 5 hottest iGaming and casino trends for 2020.
1. Virtual Reality- Again, Really?
VR has been hailed as the next big trend over the last 5 years- at least- seeing fits and bursts of action, but to date, never really taking off. Partly due to the high costs of VR tech for players and lack of popularity among developers, 2020 will apparently be the year for VR casino games and tech and it’s looking like a budding trend for the year for 3 pretty big reasons:
- VR tech is becoming cheaper, and therefore, more accessible for players.
- NetEnt has created NetEnt Live Beyond Live. This is their brand new VR Live Casino, which will be fully rolled over out 2020. This makes them the first VR Live Casino and we, along with players cannot wait to see what aces these industry giants have got up their sleeves.
- Games studios from other areas of online gaming are also including VR in their 2020 strategies. One of particular note is the upcoming release of Half-Life: Alyx. This game, which is predicted to have a huge impact on VR’s popularity and uptake is based on the life of Gordon Freeman, a physicist who finds himself the centre of resistance during an alien invasion of earth. There are already 4 games in the series, which first premiered in 1998. Half-Life is a legendary game and this new release has been in the making since 2007- it’s an understatement to say it’s eagerly awaited.
After hitting the top lists of industry predictions for over 5 years, you may be doubting whether VR will ever make it mainstream. Well, it’s been pegged financial experts as a market worth $215 bn. by 2021 and the fact that huge gaming brands like NetEnt and Half-Life (Value Corporation) are creating new games exclusively to VR couldn’t be a bigger sign.
2. Social and Cross-Platform Gaming Will Steal the Show
Social media, sharing and engaging online with others is taking over, in all areas of life- you’d have to be a hermit to have escaped this 21st-century trend- in online gaming it is no different. Twitch, E-Sports and Live Casino games are the perfect examples of this as things currently stand.
In 2020 we’ll see a greater expansion of social integration across games, platforms, players and apps. Whether this is simple integration across sites and apps allowing you to post gaming content and wins via social media, more streaming sites, or more personalised integration- connecting players to compete in team missions (such as with gamification casinos), tournaments, or chat games- 2020 will see a huge increase in the social side of gaming aimed at bringing players together for a more community-based experience.
3. Wave Goodbye to Wagering Requirements and Hello Better Bonuses
In 2019, the UKGC took a much stronger line of casino bonuses, their advertisement, and the conditions attached. All in all to make things less confusing and more beneficial to the player, instead of the casino.
Whilst some older established sites have generally been slow to react to this, newer online casinos, and especially bingo sites in the latter part of 2019 began offering casino bonuses with much reduced or zero wagering requirements. Largely, this has been achieved by offering free tickets or spins instead of cash bonuses and players are free to withdraw their winnings as they wish.
For 2020, players can look forward to casino bonuses that work for them are easier to understand and can be withdrawn at any point!
4. 5G Brings Faster Mobile Connextions and Better Gaming
5G is finally ready; offering 10x the speed of 4G, 5G will make for streamlined online gaming, especially when it comes to bulky Live Casino streams and playing on the go as lagging and buffering streams will effectively become an issue of the past. Thus far there are plans to roll it out across China, the UK and USA in 2020, bringing better casino gaming and 4K streaming available to all!
5. Indie Studios Break-Through Creating More Innovative Casino Games
Smaller studios have always struggled to get a look in when it comes to the casino scene as the iGaming landscape is monopolised by a handful of highly popular, experienced studios. This is a great shame as they often develop bespoke and cracking casino titles as well as innovative games. All this is changing for 2020 as bigger studios and games providers have begun to take the best smaller studios under their platforms, meaning we can expect to play games from more indie or smaller studios.
Industry giants like Microgaming, Scientific Gaming and even NetEnt have begun to acquire, partner or license the game tech and concepts from smaller studios, realising their titles under one platform and ensuring millions of players have access to them.
This is awesome for players, who otherwise wouldn’t have the likes of Big Time Gaming’s Megaways ™ (partner of Scientific Gaming, Megaways is a licenced concept), or Red Tiger’s Daily Jackpots (acquired by NetEnt is 2019 as their first subsidiary studio), but has also led to criticisms, especially for Microgaming who have begun releasing many smaller studios games via their platform and this led to players feeling a lack of quality control was in place!
Are you ready for 2020? It’s set to be an exciting year for iGaming; bigger and better than ever!