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The world of iGaming was not immediately connected to what we might consider as the domain of Geekdom.
Initially, online casinos and slots seemed to be more in line with fast-talking chancers, perhaps influenced heavily by the film Rounders at the turn of the century. Starring Matt Damon, it prompted the poker boom, and when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP a couple of years later, hoards of players flocked online to try to replicate his success. It was not immediately the sort of industry that might draw out groups of young people wearing Vans trainers and clutching the latest DC comic book.
Online casinos and iGaming have come a long way since then, and in recent years there has been more of a coming together of geekdom and iGaming. The evolution of the two worlds may have been slow, but the roots for today’s environment lay way back in the eighties. That is when we first saw video games claiming what might be considered the rather niche comic book market. Home computers were all the rage back then, with titles such as 1989’s Batman and the 1990 release Judge Dredd emerging as big-name releases embracing the world and canon of comic books.
Over time, video games have developed and fed into the thirst we have for comic book heroes, notably the 2017 release Spider-Man which raised the bar for official licenses. Fueled by blockbuster films, the characters from the games have become a firm part of pop culture, bringing geekdom to the masses. Indeed, thanks to films such as Avengers: End Game, one might even say that finally, being a geek was an alternative form of cool.
So, how has iGaming brought that onto their online platforms? The development of this multi-million-dollar industry has demanded that providers innovate, using popular brands and imagery within their games. No longer is it enough to give the consumer the thrill of a reel spin, instead, a provider must entertain, and grow along with its ever-expanding customer base.
Yohan Leon, who is Head of Marketing at Kensho Media, revealed that the iGaming industry is constantly evolving and developing, creating new content for consumers to enjoy: “I believe we are in a very dynamic and fast-paced industry which constantly creates new content with the objective to entertain more and more. I like the fact that most gaming companies are now starting to position themselves as entertainment companies, which is what we always had in mind since we started.”
When a gaming company positions itself as an entertainment company, that creates the perfect environment for popular characters and imagery to be used within their industry to entertain and with that the merging of geekdom and iGaming. Many providers now boast titles that draw from popular characters, with Thor and Wonder Woman two characters that have had recent slot interpretations. They are not alone and much the same as having a Batman-themed slot machine in your local arcade 15 years ago, your online slot provider is likely to have something that appeals to comic-book fans as well as those looking for an iGaming experience.
Online providers are vying for a slice of a market that is estimated to be worth $127bn by 2027, and in doing so they must attempt to capture as broad a spectrum of consumers as possible. That means simply putting on a few poker tables, or a slot machine on which three cherries wins the jackpot is no longer viable. They must react to current trends, movie releases and even find new niches which have yet to be explored. That race for unique content and interesting games means everything us geeks hold dear, from superheroes to retro gaming and from cult movies to niche TV shows, might just show up on an online slot experience near you soon.