The gaming industry has taken amazing strides in the last couple of decades. The games of today look nothing like their ancestors of the happy-go-lucky 90’s. One might argue, with a pinch of reason, that they aren’t even related; they look completely different, they feature utterly different game scenarios and storylines and the graphics are like oil and water. True, there is very little in common between the pixelated, ultra-simple, no-plot games of the past and the mega-HD, mad graphics, multiple insanely complicated storylines that the gaming industry is producing these days in blazing speed and proficiency.

What is the common ground? Both, in their respective times, fascinate the players, capture their imaginations and engage them for every ounce of ion in them. Are today’s games more engaging than their flat-graphics ancestors? That’s a really difficult question. Considering the fact that back in the day that was the highest echelon of technology, one can only imagine that gamers back then were going berserk with excitement for every single giant pixel moving across the screen.  

When The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, a 50-second long, silent, black & white documentary was first shown in 1895, people screamed and fainted in the movie theatre when the train, filmed from the station, arrived. They have never seen a moving image of such size and clarity, and when the train continued to get closer and closer, well, one can only imagine they feared it would burst out of the screen and run them over. Go ahead and laugh, but you don’t fool me - I was sitting right behind you in the last IMAX 3D Experience and heard you scream and bounce in your seat all through the film.

Something At Stake For The World Of Gaming
All things considered though, I’m gonna take a guess here and say that today’s game are more engaging, and more exciting. As awesome as Pac-Man was, and as explosive the chases were between the Man and the Ghost, I think it couldn’t hold the attention of a player for the very, very long stretches of time GTA or League of Legends keep gamers now at the edge of their seats.

Another proposition would be: soon enough, as the past suggests, our enthusiasm will deflate, we’ll get used to the graphics and Oculus Rift considered, even the hyper-real virtual insanity will become ‘hmmm, that’s nice’. So what is the solution? What is the thing that can keep players engaged, and wanting more?

As is clear from the incredible surge ahead of the eSports / Fantasy Sports arena, when you have a little something at stake, some small cash on the table, everything all of sudden becomes a whole lot interesting-er. It is the oldest truth in the world of gaming: put your money where your mouth is; in our case, quite literally.

Coins Make The Game Go On
All you have to do is walk into a casino near you, keep walking straight, turn left and look at all those Slot Spinners - they are happy, happy campers, even though you might find the game they are playing a bit on the dull side. Well it isn’t. Go ahead, put coins into a slot machine, pull the handle or press the button, do it a few more times and now tell me - are you not entertained? Sure you are.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching to ‘put it all on red’; on the contrary. I’m all for small-time betting, just a taste, just enough to make it interesting. About a month ago I watched the livestream of Total Game: Arena first live game. It was insane. Two teams, 10 players each, went head to head in a massive battle like nothing I’ve seen before in strategy games. It was epic, and I can’t wait for the official release. But as I was watching it, and I was very much engaged, I couldn’t help thinking that putting some money on this game, would make it so much more fun. 

There’s no way around it - in gaming, you add a few coins to the mix and you got the most exciting experience. Online slot machine games wouldn’t be that big of a deal if they ran a money-less version. Same as scratch cards - scratch these online cards for free and you wouldn’t feel any excitement. It would just be a very simple, unattractive game. When you win, even small change, you are much more appreciative of the ride. What about when you lose? As I said, we are not betting our car here. You only bet what you can easily lose, that’s the secret.

Betting On The Future Of Online Gaming 
Next year, when all predictions say eSports will become legal online in the States as well, the future of gaming will become clearer. In our living rooms we will continue to have fun with friends while eating nachos, but online gaming, where skilled players do their magic, the real deal will be small-time-money driven. The massive crowds that already attend live eSports tournaments, in person and streamed online, are a sound proof of that.

This piece of content was written by Johan Larsson, Head of Content for PrimeGaming