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Millennials are born and grow up in a tech-heavy environment, and they use gaming for learning and other forms of interaction from a young age. Nowadays, many cutting edge schools implement such approaches from day one. But now that millennials are growing and taking over the market, they want to remain immersed in a world of gaming, and by doing so, gaming is sprawling and branching into several different areas of life and business. This is why many online casinos are implementing esports betting or are merging their betting experience with video games with strategies such as VR casinos and ‘adventure’ casinos. Such leanings are usually well-suited for the newer generations of gamblers who also happen to be video game fans.
In this article, we’ll initially look at what esports are and how they are growing rapidly. Then, we’ll see how some online casinos are tailor-making their experience to assimilate video games’ style. This second step will be carried out in two parts – SlotsMillion as a VR online casino, and then, what are known as ‘Adventure Casinos’.
Esports has been quick to grow out of networked play, where individuals can contend online in one-to-one matches or in teams. In amateur and pro competition environments, teams of 5 players apiece pit themselves against others. Fully-fledged competitions have grown in scale and grandeur as they are held in large-scale arenas fully equipped with all the bells and whistles. Large audiences are also present, and live feeds can be followed on major channels such as Twitch and Youtube Gaming as well as mainstream TV networks like TBS and ESPN.
The main genres of skill-based games found in pro tournaments include first-person shooters (FPS), role-playing (RPG) and fighting games (Beat-em ups). Other genres found include fantasy sports, strategy games, puzzle games, and racing games. Arguably, the three most popular games are League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA2, whose tournaments give out the largest cash prizes.
The market is predicted to grow rapidly, with an increase of about 56 million followers within the next three years. The total of followers by the end of 2017 is expected to reach 145 million, a 62.92% increase compared to 2014. In 2016, when the League of Legends World Championships were held, 43 million viewers tuned in to watch. Other figures of note include financial value as the esports market is estimated to reach the $1 billion mark this year, with the scales tipped slightly in favour of Asia here.
Since esports, and more broadly, video games in general, are revolutionising online gambling in many ways, online casinos are adapting their strategies to handle a generation of gamblers who are brought up immersed in video games and trying to design content and experiences that are suitable for social media. Designating part of the site for esports betting is the quickest and easiest way to tap into this growing market. But some casinos go way beyond that. For instance, virtual reality is one indication of online casinos moving in the direction of video games, and big platforms like SlotsMillion have taken the lead by offering the first fully-fledged VR online casino experience.
SlotsMillion implements a whole VR section in its website, for which you’ll be needing a VR headset such as the Oculus Rift. By clicking on the designated button on the screen, you’ll be taken to a virtual casino on the top floor of a high-rise building. You can navigate the different areas in real-time. One added feature that enhances the experience is that you get to interact with other players also playing in VR mode. There is a lot of potential for social gaming that can come from this communal element VR features.
SlotsMillion’s game library includes over 40 3D titles that are convertible to VR, including NetEnt fan favourites such as Starburst, Dracula, and Gonzo’s Quest. While you are in the VR casino, you can choose a slot to sit down at just like at a real casino. What is different about the actual slot experience is that you get a more immersive feel as effects and other visuals can be experience in a 3D environment.
NetEnt are also moving in that direction, what with their fan-favourites Jack and the Beanstalk and Gonzo’s Quest receiving the VR make-over at the moment. The newly enhanced version of the former will be known as Jack’s World.
While we’ve grouped a handful of casinos under one umbrella phrase – Adventure Casinos – it’s not an easy task to find common threads running through most of these casinos. Each one of the strives to design a gaming experience that sets itself apart from its competitors. What we can say before tackling each casino individually is that many of these casinos’ style was influenced by video games.
Casumo prides itself as the first adventure casino. Everything about playing at this casino is meant to feel like part of the adventure itself. When you sign up, you are given an avatar – a casumo that hatches. You need to level it up through missions. Levelling up is done by gaining experience in any one of several ways. Your experience and how much is left till the next level is shown in a progress bar.
Every time you level up, you receive rewards called ‘valuables’ that can include free cash, deposit bonuses, and free spins. Also, as your character levels up, the colour of its belt changes until you reach the highest level – black belt. The rewards are commensurate with the colour of your belt, and you also gain more respect in the Casumo community. One more perk are trophies that are awarded when you clear different tasks that are assigned real-time.
Das Ist Casino is rooted in German culture and is particularly popular with players from the bespoke country, but not exclusively. The adventure element here is also moulded around a German concept. In the adventure section of the website, you are presented with a map of Germany subdivided into regions, with the coat of arms for each region representing that same region to unlock. By playing games, you reveal these regions in the map and receive rewards accordingly.
Casino Heroes is entirely designed in the style of a medieval role-playing game (RPG). It has a very immersive feel to it as everything revolves around this adventure video game-inspired concept. The adventure is set upon an island. You receive your own avatar who must travel through different parts of the island while completing missions and pushing the story forward.
Your progress through a region is displayed in a progress bar. When you reach the end of the bar, you will have a boss fight. Win, and you’ll move onto the next region on the map. Loot you get your hands on during boss fights, when clearing a stage, and throughout stages is deposited in your treasure chest. This can include rubies. The rubies can be exchanged in the Ruby Store for different types of free spins – Hero Spins, Super Hero Spins, and Mega Hero Spins.
Ikibu is one of the most beautifully designed online casinos to make our list. The adventure takes place on a volcanic island inhabited by monkey-like creatures called Ikkis. By playing and completing missions, you will travel from one village to the next, while revealing the next chapter in an ongoing mysterious story. There is a designated page for the adventure map, and it shows how far you’ve progressed as well as other necessary information. You will collect a currency known as ‘seeds’, which can be exchanged for bonus content.
Wunderino also features a highly-polished website and interface that instils a sense of fast-paced, wild adventure in players. The ‘adventure’ aspect features in the form of a VIP experience that simulates a mountain climbing expedition, possibly somewhere on the Everest mountain.
You are given a starter’s kit when you become and you are rewarded for progress and for familiarizing yourself more with Wunderino’s magical, mountainous world.
Rewards include preset ones, custom-built ones and new material that pops up weekly. One common reward at the end of a mission are ‘cash spins’.
As we see video games seeping further into the pro world of competitions and betting, there is little doubt more online casinos will want to set themselves ahead of the curve. This means we will see even more wild and exciting concepts being pioneered by these casinos that are not afraid to take a dip into new waters. On our part, we will make sure to bring to you all the news on the topic while it’s hot. So, while you take any of our recommended adventure casinos for a spin-alicious journey, make sure to stay tuned here for more!