iGaming Industry: The Biggest iGaming Achievement in 2021 and What to Expect in 2022

January 12, 2022

The iGaming industry is growing, and both publishers and game dev companies have good perspectives on revenue boost. Now is a good time to invest in more initiatives to issue top titles and grow further.

At Innovecs Gaming, we keep track of the industry trends and try not to miss hot news around iGaming. In the blog, we provide you with 2021 achievements in the iGaming industry and outline what to expect in 2022.

Overall, the global iGaming market is anticipated to grow to $92.9 billion in 2023, according to Statista. Currently, it’s estimated to be worth $52 billion. The Researchandmarkets.com platform identifies penetration of the casino online gaming as the main driver for the US iGaming industry growth. The site explains that iGaming’s market boost is led by customers’ increasing spending and the possibility and ease of governmental regulations.

Projected U.S. iGaming GGR 2020-2025

iGaming in 2021: What was iGaming like?

SiGMA 2021 was a quintessential gaming tech event outlining a lot of gaming market insights. Through this platform, iGaming industry leaders shared the following industry facts of 2021:

  • Virtual reality burst into the mainstream due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The global gaming industry registered a 12% CAGR in 2021.
  • Gaming is “an exciting sector to be in,” but there are some gaming styles that are really booming (casino slots, NTFs).
  • The eSports sector is growing fast: game publishers are releasing more eSport compatible titles (e.g., MOBA, which stands for the multiplayer online battle arena).

Esports revenue growth

  • Progress in cloud-based gaming: covert gaming platform representatives specified: “Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda has given its Xbox Game Pass subscription service a huge boost, with games such as DOOM, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls being added to the lineup. As a result, Sony has been forced to take its PS Plus much more seriously than it has in the past.”
  • Publishers alternate the ways to finance iGames releases (2021 crowdfunding boom).

Yahoo analyzed the key drivers of the gaming market and concluded that gamification had penetrated even business fields. Interactions with real-world objects have become a natural gaming experience. For example, Mossland grants real-estate owners with the unique possibility to trade the property and play at the same time.

Publishers utilized non-fungible tokens to make gaming assets easier to share and less dependent on financial institutions and their limitations. This granted more freedom and privacy to the players, boosting their ability to retain.

Rise of the Online Gambling Legalization

Forbes recently shared the opinion of Wizard Slots CEO, Scott Manford, saying that it is an “extremely exciting time for the gamblers in the US.” More and more states have legalized sports betting. Sportsbooks operate at a lower margin, so more people are willing to make bets, boosting the revenues of the companies.

US states provide legal betting in three different situations: only tribal premises having a license, legal betting exists but not live yet, or only through state-owned operators. Regardless, game developers should know that positive legalization dynamics appeared in 2021, and will continue in 2022. If you have an interest in investing in iGaming, casino slots seem to be a good choice.

With the rise in online gambling across the world, more brands are building new strategies for the expansion of new gaming markets. This trend enables the attraction of the vaster target audiences and generates more profits for game launchers.

Casino Slots 2021 Boom

The online casino sector continued to grow in 2021 due to new technology inclusion (VR and crypto payments). Fast Offshore, a Costa Rica corporate services advisory, stressed an opportunity to earn more by issuing multiple versions of popular games (e.g., keno, craps, baccarat) with different themes. They say it will keep customers happy to play an accustomed game but with a new slightly different appearance.

Online casinos stay on the edge of popularity because they issue more titles for the younger generation. For example, Red Tiger’s casino platform provides more than 40 games with a fresh appearance and in high quality. Games combine usual slot features such as reels, paylines, and free spins, but at the same time, they present new gameplay (Chinese mythology and Asian cultural symbols).

Considering the above, any publisher has the chance to earn more by issuing new slots based on standard game mechanics but with new art. Taiwan news stated that 1.6 billion of the world’s population gamble and around 4.2 billion gamble online at least once a year. That is an extra potential target audience for new online casino titles issued.

Slots are attractive due to the pandemic’s impact on life routines and new tech development (5G, cloud-based gaming, crypto payments). And developers can use this trend to create more fresh titles to gain market share.

NFTs Boost Gaming Initiatives Providing High-level Monetization and Earnings

The NFT phenomena also influenced the boost in online gaming. NFTs are collectible digital assets that hold value. It can be any digital file that can be easily reproduced. Gaming analytics treat non-fungible tokens as a new way to possess property, perform in-game trading, and own personal game assets in an authentic secure way.

NFT is so popular for in-game activities, because, as CNN explains, they transform any digital work-of-art into one-of-a-kind assets “that are easy to trade on the blockchain.” This makes the gaming experience unique and exciting as well as bringing money to game publishers.

NFT trading volumes

Thus, for example, in 2021, Rollbit, an online casino platform, integrated the idea of NFTs into gaming. They issued a 10K NFTs collection called Rollbots. These robots are Pixar-style art pieces on the Ethereum blockchain that players use to signify their VIP casino status. Evolution Gaming presented NFTs in their “The six-reel seven row NFT Megaways” slot game, creating a “crypto pixelated world” of CryptoPunks.

NFTs have become a mainstream and a way to monetize iGames. Visa bought $20 million worth of CryptoPunks (Evolution Gaming). Even the auction house, Sotheby’s, took an iconic and unique step of presenting CryptoPunks. They were selling them printed on paper and with a sealed envelope containing “private keys.”

This news proves the fact that NFTs have a gambling future and potential. And the iGaming market can capitalize on NFTs by designing the games to be aimed specifically at the casino or sports enthusiasts.

What Is the iGaming Industry Offering in 2022: Technologies and Trends to Watch

The iGaming industry is always evolving and catching up with technological trends, evidenced by how

  • blockchain enabled NFTs gaming experience;
  • the world keeps legalizing casino slots because they consider people’s needs;
  • cryptocurrency utilization boosted the new stage of private and secure iGaming experience;
  • and market leaders capitalized on gaming immersion and earned money having issued iconic NFTs.

Nowadays, game publishers and developers are seeking to upgrade gaming video quality and apply wearable devices to ensure a brighter player’s experience. They expect a forecasted $565 billion for the entire gambling industry. Gaming trends, challenges, and high-tech technologies will shape iGaming in 2022.

Trends in the iGaming market in 2022

More Artificial Intelligence In iGaming 2022

On many online gambling platforms, tech is already used on websites. Chatbots sound natural and are able to offer quick substantial solutions. In 2022, IoT (Internet of Things) and IoB (Internet of Behaviors) enable companies to track players’ habits better, consuming large amounts of data without human-to-human or human-to-computer interactions.

For example, Big Time Gaming, a leading slots developer, proved they will still cooperate with data science specialist, Data Anthem, to improve the integration of the player’s behavioral modeling. They collect data, interpret it, and issue new game update features to design an engaging and responsible user experience.

Cloud Technologies Will Revolutionize Playing Experience

Cloud technologies will also help to excite players and boost revenues in online gambling. Gaming as a service is a concept under which players do not need any hardware nearby and can enjoy gambling adventures, and 4G and 5G make sure players will have access to fast networking. In 2022, this number will surely grow, and by 2024, it will comprise 40% of the world population using cloud services.

Considering gaming specifically, cloud technologies will shape the market, and according to JuniperResearch, cloud services will bring about 25% of the revenue of the subscription game market (which is $8 billion). NewZoo, an analyst gaming company, shared that the cloud gaming industry would earn $5.14 billion because the industry is not so ready “to change the rules.”

Regardless, there are key “game as a service” concept issues increasing the demand for cloud gaming:

  1. Social community around the game (the feature attracting players to return being committed to his or her social group)
  2. Catchy and exciting updates on a regular basis (e.g., Epic Games releases “new season” once every three months)
  3. Micro purchases of extra content (including NFTs) can make the gaming experience smoother and more exciting

Extended Reality (XR) Will Boost Players’ Immersion

In 2022, XR will amount to $209 billion, which is 8 times more than in 2019. The trend started in 2021 when XR Casino announced the launch of a cross-platform gambling experience. They allowed players via VR and AR devices to bet real money on blackjack, roulette, slots.

In 2022, the trend of featuring multiplayer games, public and private rooms, voice and text chats will increase, and more gambling XR platforms will appear. They will be compatible with the major VR and AR devices (HTC Vive, Oculus Quest 2, Microsoft Hololens). XR platforms with enabled cryptocurrencies payment methods and possibilities of social virtual gambling will make visiting casinos easier.

For game publishers, XR technologies mean eliminating the need for expensive equipment. They will change the way players interact with each other, and make spending money more pleasant. Publishers expect that the XR feature will enable the competitive advantage, attracting new Generation X, Y, and Z players worldwide.

eSports Will Keep Growing

As Varsity.com in the UK predicts, land “brick-and-mortar” casinos and eSports betting brokers will become “less and less popular.” eSports weathered economic difficulties caused by the pandemic in 2021, and analysts expect the industry will surpass the $2.5 billion mark in revenue.

Asian Games 2022 announced that eSports were a medaled discipline for the participants. And this fact proves the growing popularity of this sector as well as the growing fans’ audience worldwide.

eSports Audience Growth

To recap, the iGaming industry in the coming year will focus on a smooth, responsible, and legal gambling experience for players. Developers will utilize new tech solutions to personalize (via AI) online gaming, make it more private and secure (using blockchain), and add user-generated content to empower players’ commitment.

At the same time, the gaming business is becoming more responsible with a wider legal sector. In Ukraine, the UGC (Ukrainian Gambling Council) even arranged free psychological support for players. An ICE paper also stated that the main gaming 2022 trend is to balance between enabling operators to conduct online gaming legally and profitably while also protecting the players.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you focus on slots game development or VR casino, poker, iLottery, or sports betting platform, we recommend baring in mind that casino slots are still extremely popular, and what you can do for your better financial experience and quick ROI is to:

  • improve game video quality;
  • implement NFTs (specially issued art pieces traded on blockchain bases and attracting money for in-game purchasing);
  • use old gameplay mechanics, but introduce new concept art to enhance game beauty and eye-catching iconic heroes; and
  • outsource an experienced gaming development provider like Innovecs Gaming to incorporate all the emerging trends.

Looking to 2022, it’s worth investing in the iGaming industry and creating iGaming solutions utilizing social elements introduction, cloud technologies, and extended reality. Whatever you choose to design to issue, gaming top titles should address the players to get UGC (user-generated content) ideas, ensure the game meets users’ expectations, and have chances to bring high revenues.

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