Online gaming is slowly taking over, with more people than ever gaming online via console, mobile, tablet or PC. The global gaming industry is projected to top $109 billion this year, creating a phenomenon that has seen millions of players globally competing against each other over the internet and building thriving online communities in the process. This astonishing growth in gaming has also spilled onto mobile, with gaming apps a staple on most mobile phones and people from all ages and walks of life enjoying gaming.
One particular industry which has been providing gaming for years has seen a particular boom over the last decade or so. Casinos have evolved from specialised facilities for dedicated gamblers to online games that anyone over 18 with a bank account and an internet connection can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online casino games have evolved from simple 2D offerings designed for function over look to engaging 3D virtual environments where players can interact with opponents from all over the world.
There are now plenty of gambling operators that offer high quality 3D environments and even live video-streamed croupiers as part of their online experience. Sites like 888 Poker get the mix of gameplay and looks and audio just right, even on mobile and tablet.
This craze for online gaming has seen some crossover between genres, with console games receiving mobile editions and mobile games slotting nicely into console stores alongside the Indie titles. Thanks to the explosive resurgence of poker in the late 2000s and renewed interest in shiny new online casino games, console game developers that have spotted a niche and there are now several casino games that have made their way to the Xbox One.
One of the best so far has been the Pure Hold’Em series. Players are dropped into a stunning 3D environment, beginning on the joker table. Gameplay is of course based around Texas Hold’Em, with players required to earn enough currency to progress onto the tougher themed tables as the game progresses. For an easy to pick up poker game, Pure Hold’em is great but the AI gameplay gets limited after a while. The online games are where the real action happens, with players from all over the world providing a real challenge.
Prominence Poker is the other big poker title that has drawn attention in the Xbox community. Created by Indie game studio 505 Games, Prominence is a ‘Poker RPG’, with players choosing a customisable avatar before playing through different environments and opponents to earn in-game currency and ‘reputation, the game’s reputation system. Prominence is a great idea, but falls short on gameplay, with the AI becoming predictable after several games. The online aspect fares better, but again players with more currency can easily bully others out of the game.
Four Kings Casino and Slots plays on the same RPG idea, but has more games on offer with blackjack, roulette, bingo, Keno, slots and of course Texas Hold’Em available throughout the game. Alongside virtual currency, players have the opportunity to win or buy luxury clothes for their virtual characters.
Although these Xbox releases are great for passing time, they lack a key element that makes gambling fun in the first place; the chance to make some real money. No matter how good the graphics, audio or gameplay, nothing beats the rush of taking the pot in a tough game of online poker.
Until Microsoft give the green light for gambling games to hit the Xbox marketplace, you can still get your gambling kicks via console; by logging onto your online gambling account via the web browser!