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The Ones to Watch: Gaming Fintechs that are Creating the Future Today

The global gaming industry has been growing rapidly in recent years and continues to flourish; it’s predicted to be worth more than $565 billion by 2022. That’s an increase of more than $100 billion since 2018, which means the industry will grow by more than a fifth in the coming years.

There are a number of factors from the last year in particular that have served to supercharge the industry and help its players – old or new - to reach new customers. So, what are the contributors to the gaming sector’s success?

Here are the key developments and the leading companies that I think have been integral to the industry’s growth in 2019, and those that are the ones to watch in the future.

 

1. The Tech Rise

Since the 1990’s, gaming operators have focussed their attention on enriching the gaming experience with state-of-the art technologies, something that remains a key focus to this day. When virtual reality (VR) became widely available, it gave gaming operators the ability to take the customer experience to the next level, offering more immersive play that replicated the feeling of being at a real casino from the comfort from the users home. And with the release of more advanced VR headsets, gaming companies have the ability to increase that immersion in ways that truly separates customers from the physical world. Not only are gamers thrilled, this ensures the companies behind those thrill continue to stand out from competitors.

In recent months, we have seen gambling operators spearhead innovation in VR, bringing back a sparkle to online poker. PokerStars announced the release of PokerStars VR in early 2019, recreating the live poker table experience in brand new ways. Players are able to read their opponents body language, just like in a live game, making the experience as realistic as possible. Since its release the company has developed new virtual arenas and interactive environments, new sit and go tournaments, and leader boards offering in-game rewards.

With VR at the forefront of gaming technology, one trend we will see emerge this year is crypto poker being integrated in VR gaming; all the elements and rules of traditional poker will still apply, only using digital currency to place bets. With all the buzz around digital currencies as a means of payment, it will be interesting to see this become more mainstream in the future.

 

2. Partnership boosting global growth

Top gaming companies have put their focus on the future by strategically partnering up to harness the power of each other’s product expertise. Dynamic and innovative companies team up with a shared aim of entering new markets and expanding their customer base.

For instance, a deal was recently penned between 888casinos, a provider of online gaming entertainment and solutions, and Inspired Entertainment, a major player in interactive and virtual gaming. This gave both companies a chance to raise their profiles in new territories, including Europe and North America, while enabling customers to enjoy a range of new interactive virtual sports, lottery and casino games.

Similarly, US casino game developer, Synergy Blue, signed a distribution agreement with Jade Entertainment Solution, allowing the developer to expand its unique arcade-style, skill-based casino games and Hybrid Arcade Wager-based gaming platforms out to the Asian-Pacific markets. Jade Entertainment will support this through both distribution and sales.

Such partnerships will benefit industry giants and newcomers alike over the next year, providing them with an even greater variety of experiences to offer gamers. Meanwhile, traditional customer bases will start to take on an even greater international dimension as collaborations expose them to new, untapped markets.

 

3. The gaming revolution

Gambling and video games are very different fields within gaming, yet also intrinsically linked in today’s society. Gambling elements are often introduced into video games, while video games are regularly integrated into gambling.

There’s also a generational divide between the two, as Generation X and Baby Boomers tend to prefer gambling, while video games are enjoyed primarily by Millennials and Generation Z. With the introduction of gambling based around, or utilising, video games, we may start to see an influx of the younger cohorts entering the gambling scene.

It’s easy to spot how gambling and video games come together by taking a closer look at the Esports market. Where live football or tennis matches take place on a pitch or a court, with Esports the competitions are virtual. And as there’s no other real differences in the way the games play out, the same kind of gambling usually found on sites like bet365 are easily transferred over to video games.

A prominent player in this market is Esports Entertainment Group, which is known for its exclusive focus on the Esports market. The Malta-based company is the only Esports gambling company currently on the American stock markets and late last year received a $1 million investment to help grow the company throughout 2020 and beyond.

For more traditional casinos however, the merging of video games and gambling is in the form of ‘skill-based’ gaming. Slot-machine mechanics are combined with classic score focused arcade games in order to incentivise players to keep improving, and keep playing.

We’ve already begun to see a roll-out of these types of machines as early as 2016 with machines styled around arcade games such as Danger Arena and Pac-Man. Synergy Blue is one of the premier creators of original arcade-style casino games and was recently nominated for a Golden Dice award for its game changing machines.

 

  4. Smoothing the payment experience

Providing customers with a frictionless payment processer is paramount in creating a positive gaming experience. This is why I am pleased to see so many operators putting payments at the top of their agenda this year. It should be noted that security needs to be just as high on operators’ agendas, however. As technology advances for gaming and payments processors, so does it for fraudsters. Operators must vigilant about security and authentication to reduce the risk of fraud and ensure responsible gaming.

So, the smoother the payment experience, the better, right? Wrong. Customers do want a smooth experience, but they also look for a certain level of friction in order to open an account. Too smooth, and it raises a red flag. Too rough however, and players are likely to lose interest and abandon their purchase. It’s all in striking the balance between the two, while providing a trusted, secure payments process.

As a payment provider, we at PXP Financial understand how important this is to our gaming clients, and that’s why we continue to improve our technology, ensuring we can provide a secure and swift payment method. It’s also important for us to capture data so we can better understand the root cause of fraud and chargebacks, which is fundamental to solving problems our clients face.

 

A strong future to come

The gaming sector has grown rapidly over the last year and is expected to continue its upward trajectory despite how 2020 has gone so far. Afterall, even in lockadown companies are still trying to create innovative ways for a better player experience.

Gaming companies need to work with specialists in payments, VR and skill-based gaming if they want to stay ahead of the curve and continue to innovate. We are likely to see more businesses teaming up and pioneering new technologies this year and beyond, to meet the demand of the fierce and passionate gaming audience.

 

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