Casino Games Illustrating a Growing Gaming Divide

For a long time in gaming, progress followed a linear path. Graphical and processing power kept improving, and to take advantage of this, games kept growing bigger and more complex. This expansion was mirrored by changes to input, with controllers going from one button to more than a dozen. Yet, around 2007, with the arrival of the smartphone, this pattern began to change.

With mobiles, the focus diversified into two sets of games. One side focussed on continuing to push the envelope. The other, as with online casino games, kept things simple. So, why has this happened, and what are the implications for the future of interactive entertainment?

Two Sides of the Coin

Though they’re still perfectly playable on desktops and laptops, modern online casinos have spent years ensuring total compatibility on the full range of mobile systems. If you play online roulette at Paddy Power, for example, you’ll notice that the games like American and European roulette all scale, without issue, smartphones, laptops, and even some smart TVs. Full functionality is available with any of these options, despite the more limited controls that these imply over controller or keyboard/mouse setups.

“Elden Ring Screenshot 2022.03.07 – 16.06” via Flickr by passtheballtotucker (CC BY-NC 2.0

Compare these titles to the recent hit release of Elden Ring. Thanks to a huge number of interwoven systems, Elden Ring is impossible to play with anything less than a modern console controller. Running, jumping, blocking, cycling items, all of these aspects require a level of constant tactile input that casino games never do. Even despite the vast number of options that modern controllers offer, there have still been complaints that the controls in Elden Ring are cramped. Requiring what eSports Healthcare notes as unhealthy a ‘claw’ grip, this is far from ideal.

Room Enough for Everyone

Though elitists might claim otherwise, interactive entertainment doesn’t always need to cater to the hardcore. For many of us, games are quick bouts of entertainment, not the center of our personalities. Some of us don’t have or want consoles or gaming PCs, and while this market was once underestimated, it’s long since proven itself.

Today, the modern mobile gaming market is approaching a value of $116 billion in 2024, according to Newzoo. In addition, the online casino market is expected to hit more than $92 billion by 2024. With up to 70% of online betting revenue coming from mobile gambling in 2020, these two points paint a future where mobile gaming is only going to grow.

For both video games and casino gaming, the logical progression would then become a greater emphasis on catering to mobile users. This would be simple for online casino games since they have such streamlined controls, but in video games, it presents some real challenges.

“Playing Football Video Games on a Phone” via Flickr by footycomimages (CC BY 2.0)

Do video games continue to focus entirely on traditional PC and console releases, and avoid the mobile market? Do they release spin-offs for mobile like COD did to gain an audience that way? Do they create systems that are consistent over both PCs and mobiles as online casinos do? Ultimately, it’s a question that developers and publishers have to consider carefully before starting each new project. While no one solution will make everyone happy, we can at least rest assured that the market is big enough for everyone.