The Evolution of Live Dealer Casino Games
The live dealer casino space has been around for a long time. However, the past couple years have seen more activity than ever before. This is because this genre of games has seen more competition, and this competition comes as a result of the evolution of the titles themselves and the technology used.
How Live Dealer Casino Titles Evolved Over Time
If we were to hop in a time machine and go back 10 years, the live dealer space would look fairly pitiful. Only a few games were available, and the presentations were okay for the time. However, they would be particularly sub-par by today’s standards.
This brings to attention the two things that have changed the most in the live dealer space. These are the game selection and the presentation of what’s available.
For players who are looking to get in on the live dealer action now, you have a lot to choose from. Knowing where to go and what to play can be hard with so many options. However, knowing how these games have evolved and what they’re designed to offer makes it easier.
Here we’re going to show you how we arrived at the current state of the games in the industry. With this information, you can make some better decisions about what will be a good fit for you.
The Role of Evolution Gaming
Over the history of this particular part of the industry, Evolution Gaming has always been king. For quite a while, they were the only major company really pushing to do anything new in that space. Some estimates had them running over 90 percent of the live dealer games hosted online for several years. While other companies like Ezugi were out there, they simply weren’t penetrating the market in any serious way.
With a massive juggernaut like that, it’s going to be difficult to take market share from them. That came into play later on when some competition finally emerged. However, it’s critical to know what Evolution Gaming did that was so impressive.
Essentially, they pushed for a variety of features that no one else seemed interested in for quite some time. This included new formats of classic games that better fit the online model. It also included different elements of social interaction like tipping the dealer and an online chat. On top of that, they were always pushing to improve their presentation.
The Game Show Format
One of the biggest innovations they had, and one that incorporates all of the above, was with the game show format. This has the dealer act as the host of a game show instead of the standard croupier capacity. As a result, a higher level of interaction with the dealer is possible. On top of that, it provides a much more exciting atmosphere.
Evolution Gaming was able to tie this in with both classic casino games like live roulette and live Baccarat as well as newer titles that they had produced themselves like their money wheel variations. This particular format drove even more people into the live dealer space. This is because it offered something other than a game that they could play alone at a faster pace.
What this game show format did for this sector of the industry is hard to describe. It was so influential that virtually all new games that have come out for several years are influenced by it. Along with that, since Evolution Gaming pushed for mobile capabilities as well, players could take it on the go. This essentially carved out a new type of game space that had never been done before. It’s easy to see how they dominated so long with this approach.
Enter the Competition: Net Entertainment and Playtech
Two major companies would come to challenge Evolution Gaming in this space. On the one hand, we have Playtech. Playtech is known for having been around since the mid-late 90s. Additionally, they are known for having been successful in a lot of different online gambling sectors. They are strong in sports betting, casino, bingo, poker and other areas.
That made them a natural fit for the live dealer space. In this space, they brought a strong presentation, some new game variations and a sizable library. However, much of what they did mostly seemed like they were just following Evolution Gaming’s lead. While their games are definitely of a high quality, they weren’t particularly innovative. That’s fine since they’re still putting out great games, and they seized a nice portion of the market.
On the other hand, we have Net Entertainment. While NetEnt hasn’t been prominent as long as Playtech, they are known for being more innovative. Once regarded as just another online slots developer, their live dealer game work changed that perception. Instead, they’re known seen as a lot more well-rounded.
One of the reasons for this change is how much they innovated in the live dealer space. Instead of simply following what Evolution Gaming had done, they improved on it. Quality of life changes to existing games (ie: speeding things up, making it easier to learn games) were added to the game show ideas that Evolution Gaming put forward to create whole new game variations. While Playtech did a good job of entering the space, Net Entertainment clearly became the real competition.
Where the Industry Goes From Here
That pretty much brings us up to where we are in the industry currently. Things are completely centered around the dynamic of Evolution Gaming owning the market that Playtech and Net Entertainment are trying to chip away at. It’s a lot of fun to watch it happen, but it leads to questions about where the industry will go next.
One answer to this question is in what they’re already doing. They’re regularly announcing new games, new formats for existing games and updates to titles they’ve already released. That’s great, and we’re really glad to see that players are getting so much in a sector long ignored. However, we suspect that some bigger levels of innovation will come into play sooner rather than later.
Virtual Reality Options
An area where this could very easily lead is virtual reality. If there’s any part of the industry where VR could make a big difference, it’s in the live dealer space. The technology for it already exists as well, but we haven’t seen huge levels of implementation.
One reason for that is that VR hasn’t taken off like a lot of people expected. You can buy headsets at many department stores and retailers for fairly low prices. However, there just isn’t that much you can do with it other than play games. As a result of this, many people are hesitant to purchase new technology to play casino titles. That’s especially the case if they can already play them on their mobile phones or computers.
With that said, we’re starting to get to the point where people are doing more than just games with virtual reality. When that catches on more, we believe that’s when VR live dealer casino games will start gaining more traction. Until then, we’re interested to see what Playtech, NetEnt and Evolution Gaming come up with. It’s a virtual arms race of sorts, and the players are the ultimate winners in the whole thing.
The live dealer industry has come a long way. It still has a lot of room for improvement and innovation, however. We’ve seen that so much from the short period of time in which the competition has increased. Competition breeds innovation in the industry that we’re in, and that’s what benefits the players the most.