2018 ICE London Recap: What Does the Future of Gaming Look Like?Monday, Mar 26, 2018 08:29
The areas that the ICE London chose to highlight are widely perceived as the ones that everyone should be paying attention to – in other words, they reflect the future of iGaming.
The attendees that filled the 43,500 square meters of ExCeL London, the impressive venue near the London City Airport, were promised a comprehensive three-day event, running from February 5 to 7, which brings together leading stakeholders and developers to discuss the latest trends in the gaming and gambling industry. And ICE London did deliver: those in attendance had the chance to listen to over 100 speakers in a series of tailored events that focused on different parts of the industry. The conference also brought back the popular ICE VOX event, aptly described as a 64-hour learning exchange by ICE organizers. It consists of eight tracks comprising of lectures by leading authorities inside the gaming industry and at its periphery, ranging from regulatory requirements and the International Casino Conference to Data Science to Cybercrime and Security.
It was the sixth year in a row that the event was held – and, every year, its impact seems to grow. The 2017 ICE London, in particular, made its mark, as organizers estimate that 30,213 people attended the event, from over 150 countries around the globe. More than 8,500 of them were operators and an impressive 70% stated that they would return in 2018 for the next instalment of the event series. In this B2B event, producers, operators, regulators and sponsors can network, exhibit and review products and services. New developments are revealed and new solutions launched every day of the event, while attendees also gain premium access to some of London’s top gaming venues. But most importantly, they get to stay on top of the latest news in the field.
Perhaps the single most important development that is already taking the iGaming industry by storm is the tremendous success of eSports. As the Financial Times extensively reported on November 5, 2017, out of the $100 billion that was estimated to flow into the gaming industry in 2017 as revenue, $693 million would be generated by the eSports sector – and that number is projected to rise to $1.5 billion by 2020. Asia, rather than the West, is leading the way in the genre, with South Korea and China home to most of its audience and player base.
In 2016, over 11 billion relevant videos were streamed in China, compared to 2.7 billion in North America. There are plans to integrate eSports arenas in two Las Vegas casinos and Japanese students at the Tokyo College of Anime can take courses to become officially recognised eSports commentators and professional gamers. The International eSports Federation is even pushing for the genre to be an Olympic event come 2024 – what more is there to say about the success trajectory of eSports?
Slots have for a long time now been one of the most attractive games in a casino setting – along with roulette and blackjack. The sheer diversity and variety of slots in both themes and gameplay is evidence of their widespread appeal: nowadays, slots range from old-school Golden Rush themes to the latest pop culture references like slots based on the HBO hit TV series Game of Thrones or Marvel superheroes.
The latest trend in this well-established sector is known as skill-based slots. As the name implies, chance is not enough to win in this type of slots, where players are usually pitched against each other and rely on their skill at playing the specific slot. As Betway Casino explains, in any type of slots, there is a specific strategy that can carry you a long way – focusing on understanding the specifics of the slot you play, from reels and bonuses to paylines, as well as knowing your limits and how much to bet each time. Strategies are also employed by players in other chance games like roulette, and legislators in Las Vegas, Nevada, have already passed rules on skill-based slots.
Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you most probably will have heard of Bitcoin by now, the ultimate cryptocurrency, and the technology behind it, called blockchain. The potential uses of this technology were discussed at a dedicated panel at ICE London, as developers are coming up with ways to incorporate blockchain into the gaming experience. Options range from rewarding gamers in blockchain-powered in-game cryptocurrencies, to using the technology to keep track of gameplay and verify stored data like high scores.
How to securely and smoothly process online payments for gaming is among the top headaches in the industry. Online banking payments company Trustly from Sweden, founded in 2008, made a splash in that regard as it introduced its new Pay ‘N’ Play solution for gamers. Their system does away with lengthy and tiresome registration procedures by allowing users to deposit money from their bank account through the Trustly system. Thus, they can start gaming right away while still remaining protected.
The ICE London organizers are now excited for the 2019 edition, which will be held next February – and they are hoping to see even more attendees return.