With the new Xbox and PlayStation systems approaching a year after launch, we’re starting to get a better glimpse of what these systems are capable of. Joining the years-old Nintendo Switch, the modern console market is unquestionably the most powerful yet, but is it the most diverse? In some ways, such as the greater emphasis on backward compatibility, these new machines are absolutely spreading their wings. In other major areas, like that of online browser gaming, however, the new consoles tend to fall short. Looking at this development through the lens of online casino gaming, we want to explore why this is so disappointing, and what it means for the future of these consoles.
What is Online Casino Gaming?
Though it’s existed in many different forms over the years, modern online casino gaming tends to operate in a very simple and user-friendly manner. Here, users only really need to connect to a casino website to enjoy the thrill of online roulette, for example, in all its many forms. Whether playing 20p Roulette, European, Quantum, or any other style, connecting and getting started is a streamlined experience on desktops, laptops, and mobile systems. So, why do consoles struggle?
No Browsing Without a Browser
The basic core issue holding two of the three main consoles back is the lack of a freely accessible web browser. Of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, only Microsoft openly includes a browser, though the Switch can be hacked to include one in an unofficial sense. The reasons for this disparity are largely unstated, but they likely come down to concerns of safety and investment.
Microsoft, which already owns Windows and has been developing browsers for decades, understands fully the demands of web browsers. Since the Xbox systems aren’t too far off PCs, porting their browsers over to consoles was somewhat simple. That said, even the Series X and S browsers are more limited than their PC counterparts. Though in many cases they can run online casino games, this can be clunky and problematic.
The problem Microsoft has to fight here, which made Nintendo and Sony give up entirely, are probably concerns of console safety. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re afraid of consoles being damaged by websites, but instead their reasoning revolves around avoiding vulnerabilities that could allow unofficial games. Online casino games, like many other web games, are completely trusted and safe, but this isn’t the case for every web title. Some websites even let players freely emulate entire consoles, opening up libraries that cause licensing concerns for the console manufacturers.
By lacking browsers, the big downside for console players is a limitation of choice. In a contemporary sense, systems like online casinos are a prime example here. There are many thousands of cutting-edge online casino games that players engage with easily on PC and mobiles, so being unable to play these on ostensibly dedicated gaming machines is a major disappointment. Going even further to the library of tens of thousands of other online games developed over the decades, and the concern becomes even more pronounced.
So, what could or will be done? Ultimately, this question likely comes down to a cost/benefit equation for console manufacturers. At the moment at least, the focus on major traditional video games for the systems comes first and foremost. Though this could change as the 9th generation continues, the odds of later inclusion seem poor at best. It’s not a part of this generation that we love, and it might be something to keep in mind for those on the fence as they choose which new system to invest in.