One thing is constant and that is change – and the Gaming Industry like every industry is challenged by it. One of the recurrent themes of this World Game Expo conference is how to be pro-active in the face of what could be, in fact “will be”, rapid changes in what people want when they visit Casino destinations or are gaming online – as the clientele changes and the proportion of millennials in the gaming clientele increases rapidly.
Currently as much as fifty per cent of demand on-line is driven by this growing group of 18 to 35 year olds. In the future, more and more people will have grown up, virtually from the age of four years old, playing games on their iPhones. They play games rich in video content and where their skills are tested in various ways. These are the customers of the future for the gaming industry and a question raised at this Expo is “do we know enough about what they want when they seek to gamble”.
And how about on the Industry players themselves, what changes are afoot there. Currently the Gaming Industry is dominated by people whose primary expertise is in Casinos or on-line gaming. To secure their position for the future the on-line gaming companies, at least, will have to keep ahead of the video-game industry players and the high-tech companies whose primary expertise is not gaming. Just given a market opportunity, these dynamic global corporations who have deep pockets will seize the opportunity to ramp up their gambling expertise, attracted by the millennials willingness to spend on gambling variations of their skill-oriented high-tech games.
HelloMonaco talked to Gaming Industry innovators and gambling consultants who were visiting Monaco for the first time. Monte-Carlo impressed them as being pre-eminent in its branding. When you think of a luxury resort experience and Casinos what name immediately jumps into the front of one‘s mind “Monte-Carlo”.
So in this digital world the challenge for Monte Carlo is seen as a different one than for the on-line gaming industry who faces almost immediate disruptive technological change on the very services they provide. If the video-game industry starts to add a financial gambling element to their video-games (“monetize” them – to coin a phrase) a powerful and well-funded competing force is perched to move in.
Monaco is already embracing digital marketing and has a Matrix initiative for Smart-City Monaco under the guidance of Minister of State Serge Telle. This mastery of digital marketing is a vital skill needed to attract the growing sector of affluent millennials who will want to make Monaco their premier choice for a luxury experience that will be part of Monte-Carlo’s future success – this and the attraction of international visitors. For example, thirst for gambling is unabated in the Asian culture, and Monaco has initiatives underway with Asian partners such as Galaxy and is adapting its Casino experience to delight its Chinese and Asian visitors.
And now back to on-line gaming and the other major disruptive force for change on the immediate horizon. HelloMonaco talked to WGE Exhibitors and Software Developers DAO – experts in Blockchain Technology (Alexandra Fetisova and Alex Namgaladze). They launched one of the most successful ICOs (independent coin offerings) this year and are well funded and readying to provide their software platform (they prefer to call it “protocol”) for free to any Casino operator or gaming company. The advantage to the Gaming Company is it reduces the cost of operating and if they want a separate “banker” to share any losses to pay winnings, that is easily integrated into the system.
Cute! – the more things change the more they stay the same. Georgina Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire in the 18th century used to entertain gamblers and have a separate financial backer to pay out winners!
Back to DAO. You have heard of Bitcoin – well the DAO “token” is called BET. Everyone on the system will gamble with their tokens. So DAO’s “gamble” is the price of BET tokens will rise just like Bitcoin as it becomes the digital playing currency of choice. Watch for it in 2018.
This new software has the potential to accelerate another change that millennials are embracing – the social experience of playing with others on-line and changing the role of the Gaming operator who fades more into the background and provides a service to these “social gamers”. The changing role of the middle-man, even the disappearance of the traditional Gaming operator’s role as “middle man” in favour of customers themselves controlling and maintaining the software – that is a possible part of what the future holds!
And what significance does all this digital innovation have for Monaco. The opportunity is there to be hub for digital entrepreneurs. There is already an initiative aided by Xavier Neil to expand Monaco’s entrepreneurial sector. The world loves to come to Monte Carlo to watch tournaments. There is an exploding digital sports sector called “eSports”. eSports is a form of competition using video games. These are the cream of the cream of video game players. Most commonly, eSports take the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. Hordes of fans will queue outside arenas eagerly awaiting a glimpse of their heroes.
Also, there are evolving now virtual horse races and virtual soccer games of skill where you can play challenging roles as managers and trainers. See the best experts in playing these virtual games duel it out in future Monte-Carlo. Conventions play an important role in Monaco’s tourism – and growth in the digital industry will fuel the demand for conventions in every facet of the area of high-tech; and could it be that more and more of these convention visitors want to experience a flutter at the Casino.
WGE attendees were participating in 15 workshops and panels over two and a half days on such topics as “Blockchain revolution In On-Line gaming” or “Sports and eSports Betting Platform Optimization” and were being treated to entertaining cameo descriptions of gambling history by Steve Donoughue, veteran moderator and Gambling Consultant.
Visitors were also delighted by celebrity appearances of Patrick Antonius, the biggest winner in the history of on-line poker and Hassan N’Dam, boxing, triple world champion.
Whatever the future – international visitors will want to experience both the future and history in the luxury of “resort Monaco”.