The licensed games niche in the modern online gambling is dominated by the branded slots – themed games based on the famous movie/cartoon/comics characters.
Despite the fact that the first ever branded slot celebrated it’s 13th birthday this year – in 2004 Microgaming has introduced the “Tomb Raider” – 2017 is the year when the branded slots became a real world trend.
Playtech signed an agreement with the Warner Bros and got the right to create six DC comics-based slots, including “Batman v Superman”, “Suicide Squad”, which made this deal the biggest in the history of online gambling. Considering that in 2017 the “Dirty Dancing”, “American Dad”, and “Robocop” were introduced, Playtech is the first king of the licensed games trend this year.
However, the Playtech’s rivals do not trail far behind. By the end of 2017 the gamblers will be able to try NetEnt’s “Emoji Planet” and “Planet of the Apes”; “Highlander”, “Halloween”, “Phantom of the Opera”, and “Jurassic World” from Microgaming and dozens of other slots from various soft providers.
Considering the popular passion for branded slots the experts predict this trend to succeed in 2018 as well.
Another tendency from the past. The first “live dealer casinos” were launched in 2006 by Microgaming (introducing the live baccarat) and Evolution gaming. By 2017 this innovation transformed into a powerful trend. Nowadays the operators may choose from more than 20 live casino packages from different providers (from flagships to high-tech newcomers) each with its own features and bonuses.
In 2017 the number of online casinos offering the live dealer games has grown significantly. This soft is popular both among the most visited casinos in the world and the startupers.
Why are the “live dealer” games so popular?
- Available via mobile devices
- Unique socialization experience
- The “land-based casino” atmosphere
- Lots of bonuses and VIP-programs
This wave won’t fall away soon. Many operators haven’t had a chance to incorporate the live dealer games into their portfolio yet and they plan to fix that flaw in the nearest future. There are many latecomers among the casinos oriented towards the German market (two most visited among those don’t have the live dealer option yet). In brief, if you’re considering this option for your casino it’s time to buy it as the live dealer games are super popular among the players.
It would be totally barbaric not to include progressive jackpots into this list just because the gamblers love them so much. No wonder they do! The amounts of prize money are incredible!
Microgaming’s “Mega Moollah” is the titan of the modern progressives. Thanks to this slot 6 gamblers in 2017 made it to the millionaires’ list. The total win amount is over the €33 mln! And three of the lucky ones hit the jackpot using their mobile devices.
But the other progressives are worthy too. In 2017 the lucky gambler won the first omnichannel jackpot ever (the €600 K win was brought by “Age of Gods Live Roulette” by Playtech). In August “Millionaire’s Island” slot by Pokerstars (Amaya) gave away two jackpots in two days. The first jackpot was $2,4 mln and the second one — $1,348 mln.
Almost every week the gambling world gets the news about another lucky player, who has won lots of money in a few seconds. That’s why the operators did their best to get the most out of this trend: many casinos have added several new progressives to their portfolio. This trick helps to increase the number of visitors. Who doesn’t want to become super rich in a second, duh?!
Amusing audio has always been a great way to entertain the gambler and increase the engagement. But in 2017 audio isn’t just a noname background melody it’s a base for the game. Nowadays you can choose from a variety of slots with the famous soundtracks from the world stars.
Both operators and gamblers have a wide selection to pick from. Rock-n-roll fans will love “Guns N’ Roses”, “ZZ Top”, “The Rolling Stones”, “Kiss”, and “Jimi Hendrix” slots. Country lovers can enjoy “Dolly Parton”, those, who prefer a quality pop music should take note of “Michael Jackson”, “Elvis Presley”, and “Elton John” games.
Every slot has several famous hits to choose from (some have up to 15) so the gambler could both enjoy the game experience and listen to the favorite tracks.
The music fans are known for their loyalty and devotion, so the music games will never be unnoticed by the audience and the time spent playing is usually higher.
However, the TV series and movie soundtracks are super popular as well. Who won’t recognize the main theme from the “Game of Thrones” or the music from the “Dark Knight”? The operators just need to choose several games that will appeal to their target audience and watch that traffic soar.
Following the market demands the operators are forced to use the innovative technology solutions to attract the younger generation of gamblers. VR-casinos have the greatest success of them all.
“SlotsMillion” — the first VR-casino — has been in successful operation for several years already, so the other market leaders like “William Hill” and “Comeon Casino” followed its steps. Alas, the VR is currently available only for the richest operators in the gambling industry as the VR kits are pretty expensive and it’s harder to reach the audience. However, the future of the VR-casinos is pretty optimistic.
The live streams go viral as well. It’s the alternative to the traditional marketing tools that needs no investment.
3D technologies are the hottest trend. And it’s not just the graphics like 3-4 years ago. In 2017 the gamblers enjoy the striking combination of 3D graphics and 3D sound. Basically everything you need to engage the player.
Mobile market growth
2017 is another successful year for the mobile gambling. Mobile as a percentage of iGaming gross win during the first six months of 2017 was 35,7% (comparing to the 33,4% in 2016).
As you can see in the diagram, the mobile devices will continue to attract new audience up to 2020.
There’s a great chance that this tendency will keep going even. That’s why the experts suggest the operators add as many mobile-friendly games to their portfolio as possible (if you’re looking for the way to increase your casino’s business efficiency of course). Up to the end of the decade, it’s the code for success.
Striving to improve the profitability, the operators shouldn’t try to “boil the ocean”. Some of the trends listed above may not match your market’s specifics, some of them are only emerging and aren’t as popular now as they will be in the future.
The lean approach and the selectivity will help you to choose wisely and follow only those trends that will bring your business to prosperity and success.