February 1st, 2007
Note: This is a guest post.
There are old-school games and there are old-school games. No, we’re not talking about coin-operated arcade classics like Pac-Man or Space Invaders here; what’s being referred to here are traditional games of chance like poker, blackjack, roulettes, slots, and bingo – the ones that existed long before the first attempts at developing electronic gaming tech produced the Cathode-Ray Tube Entertainment Device during the post-World War II era.
Why the focus on what seems to be an unrelated area of gaming, as far as readers of this site are concerned? For those who haven’t heard of the developments happening on this particular side of the gaming fence being referred to, traditional games are already starting to show signs of impending demise – at least as far as the future operations of their traditional venues are concerned. All across the world, bingo halls and poker rooms are, in fact, experiencing substantial growth in terms of new player numbers, but there’s a catch: the growth is happening online.
From online poker rooms providing satellite qualifiers to tournaments like the World Series of Poker to virtual bingo halls capturing an erstwhile unthinkable demographic to the RPG-infused gaming mechanics of virtual Betfair Arcade slots and casino games, the surfacing trend seems quite clear: more and more players from the newer generations are trooping to these online portals, much to the chagrin of traditional venue operators.
It seems surprising, then, when publications like the Las Vegas Weekly came out with reports on traditional casino venues in Las Vegas (of all places) scaling down operations or closing shop altogether as a result. As for traditional bingo, venues are also following suit as more and more new players continue to gravitate towards online versions of the game. The bingo “Exodus” is even starting to dispel the stereotypical perspective that views bingo as a game for the elderly, especially when one considers the statistics shown in a popular Bingo Infographic that was released just a couple of years ago online.
Of course, there isn’t any threat of these franchises being driven to extinction anytime soon. The growth of the online platforms has actually done much to strengthen the traditional franchises, with only the traditional venues experiencing relatively unexpected adverse effects.
Still, the key issue is how technological developments are now starting to encroach on the territories of even traditional casino and parlor games. Multi-core processors, advanced GPUs, and blazing fast clock speeds may be welcome developments in the race for modern gaming supremacy, but one can’t avoid going into the age-old debate regarding the loss of face-to-face social opportunities that abound in live venues.
Those who grew up on the arcade games of the 70s and the 80s would know about this, so it’s going to be interesting to see how high-tech will eventually substitute for those missing socialization aspects characteristic of the old school gaming experience.