So, we’re back from SiGMA 2022.
SiGMA is the premier iGaming summit that brings together the best of the best in the industry. This year, the summit was hosted in Malta, featuring some of the most influential figures, platforms, providers, 22,000 delegates, over 1000 Exhibitors, 400 Speakers, 400 startups and this list goes on! - It was huge. (Also, we got to see legendary Roberto Carlos in the flesh, which was cool).
But we had a mission - to bring home some valuable insights. Here, in this blog, we will sum up our experience of the event and the key takeaways for the industry.
Overall, it's apparent that currently the industry is favoring market penetration, rather than exploring new gaming frontiers. Last several years have spawned some interesting game mechanics and technologies, and it seems that the next few years will see a consolidation of these ideas into more refined and user-friendly products.
One apparent example would be the recent influx of crash games. The birth of crash games in the crypto community caused quite an explosion in FIAT casinos as well. We have seen quite a few traditional casinos adopting this game mechanic, and it is safe to say that it has become one of the go-to games for casino players.
We saw some projects that combined the mechanics of a crash game with an NFT marketplace. The result was a pretty good UI/UX, sophisticated design, and the ability to fly your ship in the game. You could earn experience points, etc. It was beautiful, although it would be nice to see some more innovation in terms of functionality. The first touchpoint with the user is great, but customers will soon outgrow P2E if there is no more development.
We witnessed lots of redesigns - Blackjack & Baccarat got a new set of rules and color divisions. Now, coming up with new Blackjack sounds pretty revolutionary, but the main appeal of card games is their status and tradition. So, when you start redesigning these games, you have to be very careful not to damage their original appeal.
Also, it might be that sentimentality is speaking to us, but one of the highlights at the SiGMA was seeing Pachinko - a Japanese game that's similar to a slot machine, but with a few key differences. For one, it's played with physical balls instead of digital ones. What's more, you can take these balls to a store and exchange them for real money. It was also kind of a reminder that token-based gaming has been around for a long time, even if it's only recently that we've started to see it in a digital form.
But can we name one thing that seems to be the most promising innovation? Yes, we can, and it's VR technology. Although the first WOW-effect of VR has gone, it still seems to preserve original enchanting power. For example, Oskar Borkowski, a programmer from Gdańsk, created an immersive VR casino. And it's pretty good! In general, AR/VR was quite popular at the SiGMA, being utilized by other startups as well, which is understandable - It allows users to have the casino experience at home. This may not sound like a breakthrough, but you get the appeal when you try it. The richness of sensory data combined with level of engagement makes it a "hot medium" for gambling industry. Of course, there is a long way to go for VR to be used on a large scale in casinos. Firstly, we need to tap into the medium specificity and stop utilizing it as a slightly expensive computer screen. Whoever manages to create a more natural interaction will succeed. Secondly, there is a need for more content - right now it's mostly about recreating casino games in VR, but we need to think of how to use this technology to create new experiences. So, what have we learned from SiGM
The iGaming industry is still very much in a state of flux, with lots of projects competing for attention. But at the same time, it's an industry that is very risk-averse and conservative. So, while we see a lot of projects that are trying to be innovative, they are mostly iterating on existing ideas, rather than coming up with completely new ones.
This is not necessarily a bad thing - after all, the goal of most businesses is to generate revenue, and it's hard to do that if you're constantly reinventing the wheel. But it does mean that there is a lot of room for truly innovative projects to make a splash. So, if you're working on something that is truly new and different, now is the time to start promoting it.
In terms of specific areas, we think that 3D gaming and crypto/NFT gaming are two areas that could really use some more exploration. 3D igaming is still in its infancy, and there are lots of opportunities to create new and innovative gameplay experiences. And while crypto and NFT gaming have been getting a lot of attention recently, there is a lot of room for more use cases and better integration with existing games.
In short, the iGaming industry is ripe for innovation, and whoever starts to break the mold and invest in new ideas will be the one to rule the game tomorrow.
Jump Into H2s