Skill-based gaming shouldn’t be seen as competition to iGaming – it’s a gateway. And that’s why we’re seeing blurred lines between what were often distinct genres. Game suppliers have known about this gateway for years – and more and more gamers are starting to explore it too.
There’s always a sense of satisfaction when you win a game of chance. You just beat the odds, and that feels good! But nothing feels better than winning when you know that your skill at playing the game was a reason for the win. You didn’t just get lucky – you earned it.
The future of iGaming is tied to pulling in more players from Generation Y (Millennials, born 1980-94) and Generation Z (born 1995-2010). One of the similarities they share – they love playing skill-based games. And they’ve grown up putting in serious hours doing it.
Skill-based gaming is a gateway to skill-influenced gaming in online casinos.
Back in 2015, a report showed that 26% of social casino gamers reported having migrated to online gambling. Importantly, engagement in micro-transactions was the only unique predictor of migration from social casino gaming to online gambling.
One year later, 9.6% of participants reported that their gambling had, overall, increased – and 19.4% reported that they had gambled for money as a direct result of social casino games.
From free play, they were slowly moving to gambling. And it perhaps started with features that required earned (or bought) functions. Types of play have greatly impacted Loot Boxes, for example – in-game chests (mystery boxes) that can be opened through a purchase or through successful, often skill-based, gameplay.
Research last year showed that Loot Boxes are now common in games. On the Google Play store, 58% of all video games have them. That number is 59% for all top iPhone games.
Loot Boxes can be for paid and unpaid openings, opportunities for cashing out, paying to win, using in-game currency, unlocking key mechanics, or obtaining exclusive items – showing that whether you play on a desktop or a mobile, using skill to unlock items of interest or value is dominant.
As seen with mainstream gaming, skill-based games can be played against the game itself, or against other players – and where there are multiple players there are in-game chat rooms.
Simply put, one of the strongest ways to attract a new, younger audience to iGaming is with skill-influenced games. Today, such games are a hot topic of discussion in our industry, where almost all games are RNG-based.
Millennials are ready to experience something new. And they can be shown that gaming and iGaming can be two sides of the same, or at least a similar, coin. Such skill-influenced iGaming can give the Millennials something new, but also something familiar. Something exciting, but with a different sense of reward.
It’s our responsibility, as an industry, to adapt content to make sure we appeal to that audience. It’s how we can inject new blood into the market, and how we can grow revenue.
In a recent Synergy Blue study of online casino owners, there was very telling feedback. In total, 67% of respondents said they now want games that appeal to “a new generation of gamblers”, and 81% indicated that they believed that skill-based/skill-influenced games would provide that different player experience.
Are your game suppliers providing these news types of games that appeal to a new generation of gamblers? Are they truly helping to grow your web traffic?