By definition, skill-based games are games in which the outcome is determined by the player’s physical ability (for example, fast reaction or dexterity) or mental ability (such as logic skills, strategic thinking, trivia knowledge) and learned capacity. In these kinds of games, players must make decisions which will affect the outcome of the game, that is, whether they will win or lose. That said, no matter your level of skill, chance still plays a significant role in the determining the outcome of the game. Let’s take Blackjack as an example; if you learn and study the strategies of the game, you’ll certainly improve your decision-making skills and increase your chances of winning. However, you can’t control the hand you’re dealt. Knowing when to fold is what makes a good player great. Other games that fall into this category include sports betting and card games like Poker and online Poker.
The year 2017 has brought with it a wave of change with manufacturers and casino operators seeking games with a greater appeal to the younger generation of players who have grown up more accustomed to gaming on their PlayStations and Wii consoles than casino floors. And with table games outperforming slots in many of the U.S. markets, something needs to be done to bring back the popularity of slots machines. What better way to do so than with the concept of skill-based video game gambling machines which combine elements of skill with wagering.
Casinos in Vegas are, in fact, turning their attention to drawing millennials into their establishments. They are turning to eSports (also known as electronic sports) to do the trick. eSports are competitive tournaments of video games, particularly among professional gamers. This form of sport is definitely rising in popularity, and it’s well-known that competitions among professional video game players attract throngs of people. Call of Duty, Counterstrike and League of Legends are just a few of the most popular games followed by eSports enthusiasts. The MGM Grand has even created a space for millennials with beer pong tables, touch screen table TV’s, cell phone chargers and a giant Pac-man. They predict that the next generation of skill-based games will involve winning money playing games younger players have grown up with.
Caesars Entertainment is also jumping on the integrated skill-based gaming train, but have gone about it in a different way. The group has joined forces with Gamblit Gaming to launch two new fast paced skill-based card games. They are Cannonbeard’s Treasure and Gamblit Poker. Cannonbeard’s Treasure is a naval warfare game. It resembles Blackjack as it challenges players to fill their hand without winning or going bust, which will lead to a burndown. At this point, more cards are dealt and the player closest to the objective, without going over the mark, wins a chest of gold. Gamblit Poker tests players’ skill and speed while allowing them to win up to 240x their bet in a single hand. Each player begins with a pair of cards, followed by a single deck of cards shown in rapid succession in the middle of the table. Players have to quickly virtually grab the cards they need to complete the best possible Poker hand.
The video game casino, GameCo also launched their flagship product called Danger Arena, which is the first skill-based video game gambling machine, or VGM, into U.S. casinos towards the end of 2016. It’s a slot machine or arcade cabinet that features a game controller specifically built for the casino environment which allows players to play a video game and receive a payout based on their skill. It’s a single player game with a great narrative and characters; you can play as Baz or Thyme to conquer the Danger Arena. The game features a fixed paytable with an RTP of approximately 90% for all betting levels and a huge 10,000 maps of achievability. The aim of the game is to take out as many robots as you can in 45 seconds. Your payout varies according to how many robots you shoot down – six or more Danger Bots and you’re in the money if you eliminate ten you’re awarded the top payout! You can even win prizes like shields to protect you from the Danger Bots as you go about your mission. Players can also find this VGM at Caesars, Bally and Atlantic City, but guaranteed it would spread across the U.S. like wildfire.
Earlier this year, ICE Totally Gaming at the Excel in London saw the launch of a fabulous skill-based game by IGT, one of the biggest names in the world of casino gaming. Race Ace is an exhilarating game which combines racing and gambling. The game consists of three screens with full views of the racing track ahead of you, a steering wheel, a race car seat, gas and break pedals. It has a 4D feel as the chair allows you to feel all the bumps when you crash and moves with you as you turn the wheel – the sharper your turns, the more you almost fall out of your seat! It’s a multiplayer game, but you can also choose to play solo, and you can even win money from your opponent in Challenge Mode. The objective of the game is to race cute animated characters like rabbits around a track while collecting playing cards symbols and other prizes along the way. If you manage to pick up three of a kind, you also get a prize! In fact, there are several bonuses to be won, such as cash, weapons like fireworks to shoot at the other racers and a glue gun which slows your competitors down by sticking them to the road. If you lose the race, you’re given a consolation prize in the form of a wheel of fortune game wherein you can win a cash prize. You can surge past your opponents during the race using Turbo Mode which can be activated for 50 credits, but it can only be reactivated after ten seconds of using it. The game on show was just a demo, but a very promising one at that, and we’re just itching to give the complete version a go!
It seems like skill-based gaming is becoming a thing in the United States. We’re super excited for what’s to come and hope Europe and the rest of the world will catch on very quickly!