Albert S. June 30, 2020
A lot of time and energy goes into making the games we know and love as special as they are. Programming is a key component of making a truly great game, and our favourite esports titles wouldn’t be the same without it.
iGaming involves placing a bet on a sports event or on a casino game online. It’s a popular pastime, with the industry generating billions of dollars already.
Esports has seen a dramatic rise that mirrors that of iGaming, and neither space is showing any signs of slowing down. Esports viewership is expected to grow by 9% year-on-year between 2019 and 2023, with revenues up from $454 million in 2019 to $646 million in 2023. The audience will have nearly doubled over a six-year period.
But how are the games which generate so much interest actually programmed? And why is it so important to understand?
Looking at the tech behind gaming
Technology plays a huge role in the success of any digital platform or games. Players are no longer just looking to play from their desktops and consoles; they want to play on the go as well. Developers and operators have to make their games accessible on mobile devices if they’re going to compete. The accessibility of gaming has played a big factor in its general explosion in popularity.
A company that wants to provide online gaming must work with a good software provider who can help to make their business a success. This provider should have extensive knowledge of online gaming, and within the iGaming industry, lots of experience in working online casinos. The software itself should allow the casino operator to control the process from design to launch, and give the operator the freedom of offering different games to customers.
The software must be reliable. For a game to be regarded as top-class, players must be provided with a consistently enjoyable experience, and the operators rely on good tech and solid design to achieve this. Get it wrong, and they can lose customers. There’s always another operator or provider out there happy to step in.
Attracting players to new games
Both the iGaming and esports industries are thriving, and given the high levels of competition, operators have lots of different games on their sites, with a variety of attractive themes to use as they bid to attract new players. Movie themes, sports themes, historical fiction and more. In the realm of iGaming, there are even slots with a more nostalgic feel to them, which the operators aim at players who long for the days of traditional games.
Within the iGaming industry, one game which is particularly popular is online bingo, and it is especially so with women. This is why brands have started to target women more and to offer different types of bingo games. Brands are aware that women are more likely to play and have adapted their games to appeal to them. A major feature of bingo is the social aspect, and many bingo operators have tried to cater to this by providing chat rooms where the players can communicate with each other privately while they play.
The other thing that operators have done to make it more appealing is respond to the perception of the gambling element. They’ve done this by making games more affordable. A lot of people see playing bingo as just a bit of fun, whereas they consider sitting down at a poker table a much more serious form of gambling. Players can gamble fewer funds in bingo and still win big if they get lucky.
Recently, there has also been a concerted effort to get more women involved in esports, although the numbers there are still disappointing. Some claims put the number of women playing competitive esports titles as low as 5%, so clearly there is work left to be done.
In fairness, some publishers have recognised this and have put in work towards better catering to female demographics.
It could be argued that esports was once a subset of sports culture, although it can now be classed as a full industry in its own right. This has been made possible due in part to endorsements from high-profile celebrities including Michael Jordan and Drake. Add this to the fact that esports now attract large TV audiences, with huge broadcasters like ESPN paying money to show big events.
When designing a game or a website, the customer experience is crucial, and there are several aspects to consider if an operator is going to make any money from their business venture.
There’s a lot of money at stake, and customers want to know that the operator is being responsible with their personal data and financial details and that they can play safely on the website. Operators know this all too well and will employ the same data encryption methods that banks use to ensure that transactions on the website are safe. The data encryption technology scrambles the details of any transactions made on the website so that only the customer and the operator can view them.
Another way many operators have been able to protect their customers is by providing the option of payment via PayPal and other financial technologies that don’t require the player to give the operator financial information. The player can simply provide an email address linked to their PayPal account and use this to both make and receive payments.
Access is important, which is why online casino operators make their websites mobile responsive and have apps created for their customers. This allows players to keep on gaming wherever they are without needing to use a desktop computer. Any operator who doesn’t take mobile technology into account when designing their site or games is an operator who the industry will leave behind.
Accessibility extends to loading and streaming as well. Sites and games should load as quickly as possible to prevent the player from becoming frustrated. The longer it takes, the more likely they are to click away and play on a different site. This is something to consider when it comes to streaming live games. If the screen freezes constantly during a game, the player isn’t going to be in a hurry to play again there.
Visuals are important and should remain simple and elegant. The design shouldn’t distract the player from the game itself. The layout should be uncluttered so that the player can navigate the site and play the game easily. The easier it is for them to focus on using the site and playing the games, the better their experience will be.
A lot of work goes into programming an iGaming site or one of the world’s most popular competitive games. It’s certainly not something that can be done overnight. Thinking about user experience and working with the right service providers is the way to ensure that customers get value for their money and time spent.