Technology has always been a driving force in iGaming. Considering that the entire industry was made possible by new inventions like the Internet, that is easy to understand. Ever since its beginnings in the 1990s, iGaming has been leaning on new and emerging technologies to provide it with an edge in its battle against other segments of the entertainment industry. Constantly on the lookout for the next great thing that will disrupt the market, iGaming leaders invest heavily into new technologies and some of their past efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Here are several examples of technology trends that will impact the iGaming industry in 2021.
Cloud technology is a major trend that is leaving its mark on most industries, iGaming included. The latest development is called distributed cloud. It features server farms distributed on various locations across the planet, mostly based near or around the regional hubs of activity. In contrast, the traditional clouds were based on centralized facilities in one location that served the whole world. Google is among the first the realize the potential of this concept and is currently busy expanding its offer, with new server farms and memory banks in 25 locations. The advantages are obvious. The workload is shared between multiple centers, reducing the chance for failure and service interruption. The latency is greatly reduced, as servers are closer to the clients and finally, the network congestion is almost eliminated. Each server features its own optic fiber connection and doesn’t have to share it, meaning each fiber is transporting far less data.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
With all the talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI), it would seem that it is only a matter of time before Skynet becomes self-aware and rains nuclear missiles on us. Fortunately, even the possibility of the Terminator scenario is still far off. Compared to Skynet, Hall 9000, Ultron, and other movie AIs, the examples we have today are still in the cradle. Even so, the advantages AI technology offers are simply amazing. It can take over many mundane tasks that require precision and repletion but human workers abhor them, just like robots did in factories. Some of the biggest companies that make software for iGaming are already deep into incorporating this technology in their products. The demand for AI-based features in software is high and growing each day, as more and more companies recognize its advantages.
More Payment Options
Online payment has become a norm some time ago, but these days, mostly thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is slowly taking primacy over traditional payment options. The iGaming was among the first to see the potential of cryptocurrency and included it in its daily operations. Many casinos now have bitcoin as a form of payment and some even use crypto exclusively. Blockchain is proving to be as disruptive as promised, and companies that fail to recognize that are risking severe setbacks and loss of clients. New online wallets like Stripe and Wise are offering various features that are forcing traditional players like PayPal to re-examine their position. As usual, new players are forcing the entire market forward, and established companies are forced to either follow or fall behind.
eSports and iGaming
eSports have been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, in some cases even rivaling traditional sports in terms of viewership. Its popularity hasn’t been lost on iGaming leaders, but it was the global pandemic that forced them into action. Many of the online gambling tournaments are now streamed live, reaching an audience across the globe. The popularity of the concept is huge and many people are eager to spend hours watching some of the biggest names in iGaming playing. Individual gamers are creating accounts on Twitch and other streaming platforms, and building the following among the fans. Many of them are following tips on how to play in online casinos, which are revealed during the live stream.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is a technology that holds a lot of promise for the gaming industry in general, including iGaming. It offers unparallel possibilities for engagement and immersion, on a level no other technology can come even close. With a properly applied VR, players can now visit their favorite casinos and enjoy the atmosphere of any of the world’s best gambling dens. One thing that is limiting the wide adoption of VR is the cost of equipment. Not everyone can afford it, even in developed countries. Fortunately, with more and more manufacturers entering the field, it is starting to slowly go down. We predict that in a near future it will become affordable for most people. This will prompt the developers to create more VR titles, increasing the demand for new equipment and further lowering the prices.
The next step in mobile iGaming will be wearable devices. The technology is still in its infancy, but it is progressing rapidly and we will see several new products on the market before the end of 2021. We already have smartwatches, but they simply aren’t functional for gaming. That is why a new generation of wearable tech is being developed, embedded in clothes. With proper design, it promises to revolutionize the way we use mobile devices and allow us much bigger freedom of movement. Smartphones have made it possible to lay games anywhere and anytime, but can smart clothes be the next step in evolution? Many agree that the answer to that question is yes.