2020 and 2021 have been two of the biggest years on record for the gaming and gambling industries. These two years were terrible for pretty much everybody and everything else, but to gaming companies, those lockdowns signalled higher player numbers and greater revenue.
As a result of this surge in activity, the gaming and gambling industries have been brought closer together. Many of these changes have been positive for players while others have been at the detriment of existing fanbases, but all of them have been a massive shot in the arm for both video game developers and real money casinos online.
Loot Crates and Probability
A loot crate is essentially a mystery box filled with virtual in-game items. They were hugely popular a few years ago and if not for a legal clampdown and a player backlash, we’d no doubt be seeing them on every single game.
The problem with these crates is that they were basically a form of gambling. You paid some real money to purchase fake coins, used these coins to buy a box, and then collected the items within. Those items could often be sold for fake coins and then transferred into cash. In other cases, the items themselves were being sold, and there were also games where they could only be used, but in doing so, they made a big difference to the player’s progression.
The value of the items was based on probability, making it a form of gambling.
But gambling is highly regulated and there are systems in place to prevent underage gambling, money laundering, and other illicit acts. But these crates were being created by companies that didn’t have gambling licenses and used by players who were often underage.
Loot crates seem to have progressed beyond their golden age, but they are still out there and on franchises like FIFA, they account for the lion’s share of the game’s profits.
In some ways, it’s a bad thing, as it means that the games will focus more on in-game items than on building a playable title from day one. At the same time, it supports the industry and ensures that talented developers keep getting paid long after they have published their games.
Online casino game developers are constantly seeking to gamify their titles, making them look and feel more like video games and mobile games. They understand that players will be more drawn to games if they can immerse themselves. That’s what convinces them to keep returning time after time, and if they’re playing, the casinos are earning.
You could be forgiven for thinking that it was easy to gamify online casino games. After all, the technology is out there. But there are rules in place that limit them from adding too many skill elements, and such implementations can complicate everything from the payouts to the legalities.
For instance, an online casino game is never going to make it possible for you to win consistently if you have a lot of skill and lose all the time if you don’t have any. After all, that wouldn’t be fair (or interesting) to players who don’t have any skill and it means the casino would lose too much to the good players.
What you will find, however, are items and new bonus features that unlock the more that you play. Sometimes, these bonus features will give you a better chance of getting a return, but generally speaking, most gamification options are superficial, just like all those FPS skins.
The gaming industry has provided the perfect platform for the online gambling industry. Along with sports, it’s one of the industries you’re most likely to see gambling ads. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of gaming streamers advertising gambling.
Admittedly, some of these seem to cross the line in terms of what’s morally or legally right (such as advertising casinos as being easy to win, even though they’re use fake/rigged accounts), but others are making a very tidy profit from it and showcasing the best new games and bonuses to their followers.
In any case, if you follow gamers on YouTube or Twitch, there’s a good chance you will encounter a few casino or sports betting brands from time to time.