Experts in Australia and around the world feel that while 2012 was a great year for fans of mobile casino gaming, developments were relatively minor compared to what 2013 has in store. More and more Aussie players are taking to their iPhones and iPads to enjoy the latest and greatest pokies together with first class renditions of some of the best casino classics, and fans of smartphone casino gaming likely have a lot to look forward to over the coming months. While it is impossible to predict just how important mobile gaming will become in 2013, news from a variety of sources regarding what they have lined up for a demanding player base has allowed us to make a few predictions as to what will be the driving force behind mobile growth.
- A range of new mobile devices that give mobile casino software developers the opportunity to really push the limits of what is possible. Naturally, the product life cycle of mobile devices changes every year, but 2012 foreshadowed the likely direction that the industry would be taking thanks to many software providers, such as Playtech and Microgaming, focusing almost exclusively on developing new titles using the HTML5 scripting language. This allows them to create games that offer unprecedented gameplay and graphics on mobiles, regardless of the player’s handset of choice. The two most popular handsets in Australia, Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy, will undoubtedly receive new hardware updates alongside their related tablets, the iPad and Galaxy tab. They are likely to be joined by new models from a range of international manufacturers that use the Android platform, something particularly pertinent in the Australian locale with recent figures suggesting that the operating system is now responsible for more than 50% of the mobile market in the country. Microsoft will no doubt also begin pushing the latest Window phones with greater degrees of marketing power and more and more casino operators will likely reciprocate the effort with new games for the platform. Either way, the new handsets and tablets will pack the latest powerful processors and even dedicated graphics chips, allowing those at the leading edge of technology to enjoy some of the best mobile casino games ever seen.
- Some big international names in the industry will be expanding their offerings into new markets, with Australia seen as one of the biggest opportunities for growth in the world. William Hill’s recent acquisition of SportingBet was carried out primarily with an eye on the Aussie market, and it may well be the first of many deals of its type. While the Aussie market remains complex, particularly for international casino brands, many have already opened themselves up to players in the country. The likes of Ladbrokes, which do not yet have a significant presence in Australia, recently attempted a takeover of Betdaq which was ultimately cancelled following the latter company’s withdrawal from the Australian market. Nevertheless, many companies are keen to draw on the gambling traditions in the country through mobile casinos and other revenue streams and it is something that may well come to fruition in 2013 based on ongoing debates over Australia’s interactive gaming laws.
- New mobile casino gaming opportunities for players in Australia and beyond due to an increased focus on a combination of social games with a gambling twist. There came a point in 2012 when even the market leaders in social gaming came to a point where they figured out that massive user bases do not necessarily translate into profits. Zynga, a name synonymous with social gaming titles and the company behind the likes of Farmville and Cityville, recently applied for a real money gaming licence in Nevada, indicating that they wish to combine their expertise and brand appeal with the opportunity to provide large scale online and mobile casino gaming as part of their overall service. If their experiments work, then it will no doubt lead to more traditional mobile casino operators adapting to a social style of play, something that will be a dramatic shift in the industry based on the fact that many mobile casino games are traditionally solo pursuits. Currently, the closest that mobile casino games come to any form of multiplayer action are the progressive pokie jackpots available on the likes of Mega Moolah. However, various casino companies are working on mobile versions of their live dealer games, and this development could well appeal to Aussie players who like the idea of enjoying the pokies with their friends.
- The gradual decline of single software operators. Traditionally, online and mobile casinos have been places where players play in part due to the software on offer. In the same way that All Slots and Royal Vegas Casinos are mainly associated with Microgaming, the mobile versions of their games have tended to follow suit. However, the recent influx of mobile players has given many operators the opportunity to start afresh in terms of customer acquisition, meaning that they want to differentiate themselves as much as possible. Some pokies are simply so good that if a player cannot play it at a certain casino, they will not even become a member. This also coincides with the increasingly aggressive online and mobile developments from the likes of IGT and Aristocrat, two favourites among Aussie players. Their games are distributed on a licenced basis and many mobile casinos will be looking to snap up the rights in order to offer more rounded game selections.
- An increasing number of dedicated casino apps on both Apple and Android platforms. Casino operators have been able to add apps to the various Android marketplaces for some time, but the ability to launch real money casino apps on the Apple App Store has taken somewhat longer and only recently come to fruition. This has led to more operators taking the app possibilities seriously as they can effectively reach the majority of the Australian gaming population with a single software development. Some operators have already packaged their mobile casino operations into standalone apps with many more likely to follow in 2013. Some have even taken the opportunity to release single games that have been created for the specific purpose of app consumption, increasing their mobile gaming reputations and revenues at the same time.
The mobile casino industry in Australia is firmly in the middle of a growth period, and new developments will undoubtedly be great news for players, whether that entails more rewards and bonuses or the conversion of leading pokies for mobile use. Players can already take advantage of the mobile revolution at any of our recommended mobile casinos for Australian players and will find that more content is becoming available on an almost monthly basis. Naturally, you will always find the latest developments in mobile gaming throughout 2013 and beyond here at Online Casino Australia.