Video games that lean heavily on casino gaming are hardly a new development. This is traditionally owed to just how well casino games translate, as no matter what level of hardware acts as a platform, there is always some way to leverage a suitable casino-like experience. While today these have evolved into ways to play real casino games online, this hasn’t always been the case. With that in mind, we want to look at what changed over the years to bring digital casino gaming from approximations to the real thing.
The Early Days
Early video gaming was full of individual releases that hoped to capture a little bit of the magic that made casino gameplay so special. There were few, however, which aimed to create a cohesive overall casino experience. One of those rare entries which did manage to make waves in this world was Caesar’s Palace, an NES game released back in 1991.
Relying on slots, roulette, and blackjack, this game was one which, while hilariously limited by today’s standards, stood as an undeniable cult classic. Going on to receive sequels on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, this series would be one that made many of us at the time aware of the potential of digital casino gaming.
This potential wouldn’t start to be fulfilled for another decade, but as a taste of what was to come, Caesar’s Palace was a killer. Over time, more games would take advantage of the obvious market interest as illustrated by this series but, eventually, dedicated games like these would all but die out.
Skipping ahead, we eventually saw a separation between traditional video gaming and digital casino games. While there are some major AAA releases like GTA5 and RDR2 which include some gambling mini-games, it’s comparatively very rare to see traditional video games focused entirely on the betting world. This is, quite likely, due to the establishment of iGaming as its own separate entity.
Today, those who wish to play casino games digitally can turn to the real thing, which has inevitably put a damper on the popularity of artificial, simulated casino games. Video games were further hampered by strict rating systems that made non-paying casino games less profitable to developers than ever. Coupled with the fact that real online casino game selections are often far more expansive than anything a video game could ever hope to offer, the advantages of real online casinos have been indisputable.
It’s not just game selection that has players turning to the digital either. The variety of bonuses that apply to these platforms are also often so pronounced that they can put the best brick-and-mortar establishments to shame. For example, new online bingo deals on popular platforms can give players free tickets, access to exclusive rooms, and free spins in other games, and that’s just for a start.
Looking at these elements individually, the trajectory of iGaming might be somewhat predictable. Standard video games casinos, in hindsight, were little more than a stopgap measure put in place to tide casino enthusiasts over until the appearance of the real thing. Once this real thing arrived, the call for fakes saw a massive drop.
Combine this shift of focus with the decreasing profit margins on video games during to stricter ratings, and a revolution of casino gaming was always just a matter of time. Still, we wouldn’t mind an update to Ceasar’s Palace on Switch, as unrealistic as that might be.