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Insights | A Decade of Delicious Software

9 March 2009

By Emily D. Swoboda
Online gaming software is an ever-evolving technological phenomenon.

Long gone are the days of Pong and the Magnavox Odyssey console -- today's interactive gaming experience is about total customer immersion. With the natural progression of Internet technology came the natural maturation of the online gaming industry: Broadband Internet, branded slots, multi-player poker technology -- remember ASF Software Inc.? -- and browser-based technology have replaced relics like the CD-ROM and 28.8 kbps modem.

In this installment of Insights, IGamingNews asked the experts for their respective views on the last decade in online gambling software development.

Peter Boyle: Personalization was one of the areas we focused on quite a few years ago and I guess personalization was the big thing probably about four years ago.

A lot of the Web sites were trying to do personalization of the content. But I think what we found, and what our customers found, is that while personalization is good, if you do it to too much extent then the customer might see what they are interested in but they don't get to see all of the other new stuff that's going on around them.

So, I guess what we've seen is a huge change. Instead of just being the static Web sites from 10 years ago, we've gone from static to personal to the whole step further now, which is just a lot more in terms of dynamic content.

For instance, rather than driving casinos through download clients these days, everyone would rather go with games you can launch instantly in your browser and not have to download and use a separate application.

Also, on the sports side of things, we've gone from static to simple things like being able to register your favorite team and getting SMS alerts on odds for your teams to now where it's a lot more about the in-running side of things -- the real-time active content. The content is being pushed to your browser every five seconds. If you're into horse racing, you're actually watching the race through your browser as well, so the actual TV content that previously you would have gone to the TV for is now being streamed through the Internet to the punter.

So, the whole Web site is a very rich experience now.

Mr. Boyle is the chief technology officer for Orbis Technology.

Bryan Bailey: I would say that it has evolved in the sense that it brings us brands that we are familiar with: Microgaming has its "Hitman," "Tombraider" and "The Osbournes" (brands). Playtech has "Gladiator;" Cryptologic has introduced the Marvel Comics and DC Comics' superheroes, including Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and Casinomeister. Wager Works has many of its most popular land-based games online like Cleopatra, Monopoly, and Elvis slots. By bringing these trustworthy brands online, players have a better sense of trust, comfort, and security via the familiarity that is involved.

Mr. Bailey runs the online gaming portal

Alex Czajkowski: Slots have appropriately received perhaps the most attention. Bonus rounds on slot machines have come a long way from nothing or nearly nothing at the turn of the century.

The continuing trend to license entertainment brands for slots is an encouraging play to expand the market by attracting more "outer-directed" players than dedicated (and "inner-directed") slots players, fair play to the operators making those investments (but not really ground breaking innovation, eh?).

Microgaming and their "My Slots" marks a natural evolution in slots in the Web 2.0 age, although they have yet to implement the key Web 2.0 component of a personalized slot: the ability to easily share my personalized slot machine with others.

Dr. Ho's "live dealers," originally brought to market by the late Adam Anhang can be money makers despite relatively slow play and the down-market feel of most of the operators.

Poker has seen at least one innovative step up from the initial model laid down by the dearly-departed Paradise Poker: PKR. Soon the PKR-like "3-D sims in the casino" model will launch stand-alone (having been shut down in their natural home of Second Life); this too will have some appeal to a niche of players who don't mind a fat download and somewhat slower action.

Where are the big boys in all of this? Looking at the back-end primarily, from both a product integration strategy (esp.'s architecture initiative enabling faster integration of 3rd party products) and from a back-office perspective, giving operators better tools to mine databases and increase customer lifetime value.

Racing has been in a long, slow decline for years as the players die off and the sport is not made more attractive to a new generation by the tracks.

Innovation, in sites and products specifically designed for a new market and the "new" way this market uses the web, is essential to keep our industry growing and thriving.

Mr. Czajkowski is the chief executive of eGaming 2.0.

Johan Öhman: There has been an increasing focus on providing more entertainment value in the games through better graphics, sounds and animations. As competition for the players intensifies those operators that can offer the best gaming experience will no doubt be one step ahead of competition.

In the beginning most vendors focused on download solutions whereas there has been a shift toward browser-based solutions in recent years. This (has been the) result of technological advances that enable the development of first-rate, browser-based games, which many times even offer a better gaming experience than the download games. In addition, the operator's entire business has come to evolve around cross-sale -- offering a range of different products which hinges on the idea that the players spend time on the site, not in a downloaded client.

Mr. Öhman is the president and chief executive of Net Entertainment.

Steve Quintin: It has evolved from a narrow product selection with limited features to a much more innovative and entertaining player experience.

Mr. Quintin is the director of product management casino and poker at Toronto-based CryptoLogic.

Insights | A Decade of Delicious Software is republished from

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Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda