How Online Gambling's rise could bring console-bound benefits

The gaming industry, like any other, is in a constant state of flux. Every six months it seems like some new innovation, trend or revelation sweeps its way through the business; musical instrument games, then skating titles, then role playing games, then a never-ending tirade of first person shooters – it’s a sign of a blossoming and productive industry that’s in step with fans. One of the biggest changes to the gaming industry in recent years however, has been the huge rise in online gambling. What’s behind this new genre? What does its huge popularity mean for consoles?

Online gambling, where players log on to sites or apps and enjoy games that one would only otherwise find in a casino, wagering their own money and winning sums in the process, can trace its popularity to the spread of mobile devices. As smartphones and tablets have become widespread and accepted by the mainstream, online gaming apps have moved into this adult-filled niche. People simply don’t regard gaming as an underground or youthful endeavour any more, and as such there are droves of people who enjoy casual gaming that don’t bat an eyelid at spending a few pennies every now and again for a casino-like thrill. These games are, down to their very essence, built for casual play. Whether you’re on the bus, on a break, or having a quick game before bedtime, online gambling lets you do it.

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Now of course alongside all of this growth there has been a similarly big explosion of big money business deals, and it’s here that we can see possible effects of the trend on those old gaming workhorses, consoles. Take Gamesys and Intertain, for instance. In early 2015 Gamesys, a UK-based operator behind a number of the genre’s huge brands – Jackpotjoy, Bingo Friendzy, Virgin Games, to name but a few – sold Jackpotjoy to Intertain, a Canadian developer, for a massive £425.8 million. In the deal, Gamesys‘ Noel Hayden became Intertain’s biggest shareholder, whilst the company is providing support and marketing for over ten years into the future.

This is an enormous amount of cash, such a sum reflecting the state of the industry right now. Across the world in 2013, the industry was earning up to $30 billion, a stratospheric sum by all accounts, and thus one can safely imagine that console manufacturers and developers will be watching the industry with baited breath. Consoles have been kept out of the gambling game for a long time, but with such growth and falling player numbers thanks to the spread of the mobile, one could safely imagine paying for games via your PSN or Xbox Live wallets pretty darn soon. With such powerful processing power, amazing gaming experiences could be made, and it’s likely that the likes of Intertain and Gamesys would be at least partly behind such developments.

Do you think console gambling is a good idea or a bad one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.