The casino industry post-2020 has changed dramatically. Hundreds of brick-and-mortar gambling venues have closed their doors, temporarily or for good, leaving thousands of fans of table games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat longing to play and limited only to the virtual space.
As more and more players took to live casino lobbies online, the operators came to realize that it is time to become creative and to keep software developing studios to higher standards — the type of diversification that the live dealer industry went through in 2020 has been second to none.
From unique titles to exclusive and custom-built studios, pre-recorded clips, and portable gambling — we are taking a look at the 5 trends of the modern live casino developing niche.
Gone are the days when it was enough for a live dealer developer to present a standard portfolio of classic and VIP variations of blackjack and roulette and to expect fast traction from the community.
Today, it is all about taking risks, researching the market, and offering what other studios don’t have. Such a rush for uniqueness costs studios money, and startups take the main hit. “We made a lot of mistakes, moving along it, as a plus, got invaluable experience. As a minus, we spent time and resources,” says Yury Ermantraut, the CEO of the up-and-coming studio Atmosfera.
This Russia-based newbie invested a lot of cash into researching and changing the preferences of the players. As a result, the community got unique live releases, including Battleship and European Bingo Roulette — live games you won’t see in a portfolio of any other studio.
Studios like Ezugi chose a different approach and instead of creating content from scratch, decided to adapt live releases popular in other markets. This is how Ezugi’s versions of live Andar Bahar and Teen Patti — two games extremely popular in Asia — made their way to 100s of European virtual lobbies.
There is barely a live dealer developer nowadays that won’t have a portable adaptation for its games. What is more, the studios strive to create a full-on experience of a live casino in the player’s pocket.
The list of features supported for gambling from smartphones and portable devices includes multiple cameras and angles, chatting with the dealer and other players, leaving tips for croupiers, and saving favorite bets.
In 2021, the team of Pragmatic Play went one step further, proudly presenting its Pragmatic Replay feature — a mechanism that allows reliving the greatest moments of the game. “Players wanted a quick and efficient way to save and share their luckiest and biggest wins, and we made it possible through Replay. It’s a simple yet secure feature that allows players to watch and share their Top 100 wins,” said the studio’s representatives in their exclusive interview to KTC.
Even classic blackjack and roulette can turn into an exclusive gaming experience if a certain pinch of creativity is added to it. This is the thought that many software developers are keeping in focus as they are developing live releases.
So far, the bravest and most ambitious step in this direction was taken by the creators from Real Dealer Studios — they combined pre-recorded clips with random number generators, creating a cinematic and Hollywood-like experience while keeping random outcomes of the game in place.
The company invested in building exclusive rooms for blackjack, roulette, and Mega Wheel and hiring professional actors to present the games. This way, though gambling from the comfort of one’s home, every player gets the chance to experience exclusive and even VIP casino treatment across favorite table games.
The market that’s always been on the outskirts of interest for the live dealer developers — the USA — is gaining more attention than ever.
Just a couple of years ago, we’d say that there are barely a couple of live dealer studios offering content to Americans. Today, the list is growing by the hour. We can name Fresh Deck Studios among some of the most prospective newcomers.
Online casinos for the USA that have been launched years ago and kept their lobbies unchangeable are now adding live portfolios and bonuses. Of course, the realities of the market are still less than optimistic — oftentimes, two different companies will share studios. Plus, the list of live games for America still tends to exclude table pokers and baccarat and have very few variations of blackjack and roulette. But judging by the leap that the niche took towards improvement as of 2020, these concerns can soon be in the past, too.