Console game developers have covered pretty much every genre imaginable, with varying success in each. Ever since the early days of video games, studios have attempted to bring casino games to life. However, these titles have rarely managed to take off and have usually faded into obscurity. This is surprising, though, as the bustling online casino sector shows how popular these games are. Developers need to figure out the key reason they’ve failed to address this issue if they are ever to come up with a worthy console casino game.
Classic Casino Games Are Huge Online
People who are interested in casino games have a right to be perplexed as to why they’ve never been popular on consoles. The online casino industry is one of the greatest success stories of the internet, and it is now worth more than $60 billion. The astonishing thing is that it’s still growing at a fast rate and is projected to be worth $153.6 billion by 2030. Part of the appeal of the online casino sector is that classic games such as blackjack have been reinvented for digital audiences. There are now countless newfangled iterations of the archetypal card game, including Lightning Blackjack and Quantum Blackjack Plus.
Along with digitally rendered types of blackjack, there are live streaming options featuring real-life dealers. Players can feel as if they are sitting at the casino table playing the games, with the main difference being that they are viewing through the screen of their device. Facebook made live streaming mainstream in 2017 and, since then, millions of players have flocked to this form of play. Therefore, developers are putting a great deal of focus into making their live casino options as spectacular as possible.
To anyone looking at the numbers surrounding the online casino industry, it would be reasonable for them to assume that the games have blown up on consoles as well. After all, people who play blackjack and other classic table games log on from a variety of devices such as mobile and desktop, so why not consoles as well? The main point to consider here is that there haven’t been any partnerships between online casino operators and console companies. The only casino games that have been available on the likes of PlayStation and Xbox have existed as standalone titles or within larger games like Red Dead Redemption 2.
Caption: Blackjack in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Many Console Casino Games Failed to Attract Interest
There has never been a shortage of casino games on consoles, as developers through the ages have tried to capitalize on the popularity of the gambling industry. You can trace back the attempts to make successful console casino games all the way back to the early 1990s. Atari released Lynx Casino on their Lynx handheld device in 1992, and Nintendo brought out Vegas Stakes the following year. Both titles offered digital renditions of the main casino classics, including blackjack, roulette, craps, and slots. Nintendo continued the idea with Vegas Dream on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega also dabbled with casino-inspired levels in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
These early casino games attracted some interest from players, perhaps because the level of the other games was not that high at the time. Over the years, though, as console games became increasingly advanced, it was clear that casino offerings were being left behind. By the time The Four Kings Casino and Slots was released on the PlayStation 4, the titles available on consoles had come a long way. Digital Leisure tried to piggyback on the rise of the online casino industry, but found that its title couldn’t compete with the advanced games being released for the Sony device throughout the 2010s.
The Four Kings Casino and Slots tried to provide an immersive casino experience in which players could walk around and play different games, but its scope was limited. It could have benefited from attempting to tap into the rise of role-playing games, offering players choices and opportunities for progression. Because it didn’t include any of this, the game didn’t have much longevity.
Caption: A trailer for The Four Kings Casino and Slots.
Aside from trying to compete with constantly evolving console offerings, there’s one key reason why console casino games have failed to garner much interest. This is because players can’t use real money within them, and without there being anything at stake it takes away some of the interest associated with the likes of blackjack and roulette.
Is There a Future for Console Casino Games?
Console games have existed for three decades and not even one casino-themed title has blown up and become a must-buy for players. Therefore, it’s hard to say whether there is a future for gambling offerings on these devices. For the genre to grow and attract players on consoles, there should be a few major developments.
The first key thing that would need to happen would be for online casinos to forge partnerships with consoles, allowing their offerings to be played on the devices. This would then mean that people could play games for real money. Alternatively, the developer of a console casino game could partner up with an existing online casino operator to connect payment options to their game.
Another major development that could help boost the fortunes of console casino games is the emergence of virtual reality. This technology would expand on the ideas presented in games like The Four Kings Casino and Slots, effectively upping the immersion levels and providing a more engaging experience. This could act as a social setting where players can meet other like-minded individuals, and that factor could help attract a lot of interest.
Console casino games have notoriously failed to attract interest from players, and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. When players have advanced and detailed online casinos to play at for real money, it doesn’t make sense for them to turn to free-play titles on consoles that usually aren’t as good. It would be wise to assume that gambling will never be a big genre on consoles.