Anyone old enough to remember the days when getting online with Compuserve cost you nearly £10 an hour – just let that sink in – will occasionally experience a frisson of excitement over the possibilities of the internet today.
Online gaming has often driven the technology forward, via the demands of keeping thousands of people playing against each other.
Online casino gaming is one of the most powerful sectors of the market, with millions of people logging on to play poker, roulette and blackjack every day, and billions of pounds changing hands in the process. Here’s a look at some of the innovations that are currently making waves.
There’s a huge amount of data generated by online poker players, and several data management software tools, including Poker Tracker and Hold ‘Em Manager exist to allow hardcore players to use it to their benefit.
Now there’s a way for players of other games as well as poker to access their data and even replay recent games – without downloading software, and free of charge.
Gaming software firm PureMicrogaming has created PlayCheck, a tool that creates a “bank statement” of gaming activity, accessible via an icon at compatible online casinos. It should prove to be a useful tool for people who enjoy a range of casino games but don’t want to fork out for specialist software packages.
Way back in those Compuserve days, moving a few online pixels on a screen could take ten seconds.
Now, connectivity has advanced to the stage that we can play several different casino games with live dealers. Although many people prefer to play online poker, for example, rather than visiting a live casino, it can be a slighty soulless pursuit.
Many large casino firms including William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes now offer real, live dealers for blackjack, poker and roulette games. Live online dealers in reputable casinos receive the same training as land-based staff, and of course players get the option not to use
Finally, an innovation that gets recycled approximately once every generation – 3D. The first big boom for 3D tech was in cinemas in the 1950’s, with a resurgence in the mid-80’s.
Now we’re on the third wave, and the technology has undeniably improved, though some people still find it distracting.
It’s a natural step forward for online casinos, with the “top-down” view of card tables looking a little dated to many people; though the simplicity of traditional graphics may make 2D more attractive to the hardcore player who just wants to concentrate on grinding out wins.