With the rapid proliferation of the internet and smart devices globally, digital outreach among consumers demands a radically improved and experience-driven digital gaming journey. Online gaming traffic in the US has seen a whopping 75% increase over the past year and a 20% rise in the daily active user count. At the same time, gambling legalization continues to expand, with sports betting now legal in the US in 20 states and online gambling in 8 states.
This surge in demand for digital gaming fuels player expectations, shifting them towards an insights-based gaming paradigm. The players have access to real-time data, interactive experiences, and overall digital enablement of gaming activities. As a result, gaming enterprises embrace continuity and improve their offerings to bring players closer to the next frontier of the gaming experience.
More consumers are taking to gaming with renewed enthusiasm. Business opportunities are limitless with monetization through advertising, hyper-personalized offerings, and gamification. Gaming enterprises will have to hit the ground running, pacing their business objectives to remain in alignment with their digital innovations.
Key Trends Driving Industry Transformation
Online gaming is already taking rapid strides by leveraging digital innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cognitive analytics, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR). Over the past few years, AI has played a pivotal role in the growth of the digital gaming market by applying intelligent data monetization models and intelligent recommendation engines. Similarly, ML and analytics have opened a whole new world of personalized offerings for greater player outreach. As things slowly return to a pre-COVID ‘normal,’ gaming enterprises will need to ramp up operations with an eye on the following trends:
Business models are evolving across the gaming, betting, and gambling spaces. Traditional casinos and gaming machine manufacturers are walking the digital path to tap into adjacent revenue streams. Gaming-on-the-go is fast becoming the norm. The new-age gaming demands seamless, cross-device, and cross-gaming platform content delivery. MGM Resorts & GVC Holdings recently created a joint strategic partnership to expand sports betting and iGaming offerings across the US jurisdictional landscape.
As new tech development emerges, the gaming sector has been able to leverage innovative applications to enhance user experience. 5G will usher in the next generation of platform-agnostic gaming operations on the go with low latency, high speed, and immersive experience for new-age players. Technologies such as AI will define the future of the gambling industry, with 60% of next-gen gamblers looking for BOT/Humanoid-powered casino operators and AI-powered security, compliance, and fraud detection mechanisms to drive large-scale player engagement.
More than 60% of millennials are active on virtual platforms and are experimenting with their socio-virtual avatars. They will be driving virtual e-commerce, focusing on brand awareness, monetization, and merchandising. Integrating live streaming services on a sports betting platform has recently garnered immense traction. All this offers an immersive experience for players by combining streaming, statistics, and community participation.
Creating a Thriving, Future-Proof Digital Gaming Ecosystem Amidst Disruption
The gaming industry is at the cusp of a unique opportunity to transform the customer experience, demand planning, and revenue acceleration. The following are some of the critical elements of a well-rounded operating plan for gaming companies in today’s digital world:
- Elevated Experience: Enterprises need to build a consistent omnichannel player experience, commerce integration across channels, proactive customer service, and unified campaign management.
- Personalized Engagement: Single view of player across channels, coupled with an integrated loyalty management model, drives content personalization for players at multiple touchpoints.
- Elastic Ecosystem: A scalable, cloud-enabled digital platform architecture for player-facing applications addresses vital concerns of performance, efficiency, and throughput of core systems and applications.
- Digital First Approach: New-age gaming enterprises must design, build, re-engineer and sustain complex gaming platforms to enable multi-platform, next-gen gaming operations, thereby tapping into adjacent revenue streams via scalable, platform-driven solutions.
The underlying business, technological, and consumer trends are shaping the future of online gaming. The movements are ushering in a revolution that is constantly redefining and stretching the boundaries of gaming and the business and technological innovations that go hand in hand. And while the vast amount of data generated by online games have tremendous potential, the gaming industry is just waking up to the possibilities with big tech companies beginning to make foray by providing hyper-contextualized experiences. Today, industry leaders need to prepare for the evolution of digitization, multi-platform content distribution, and social media acceleration.