Online and land-based convergence, blockchain, and disruptive technologies are buzz words frequently deployed to describe the next best thing in gaming, though to date there are few practical examples of companies successfully challenging the existing order.
Most are taking one element of the new technologies available to create waves in the gaming industry, such as server-based gaming to open up electronic gaming machines to a wider variety of developers, but few are proposing an overall ecosystem.
Hong Kong-based Alphaslot, which is currently in the middle of their pre-sale token offering, may have a model that can link the online and offline worlds and it has piqued the interest of Macau’s biggest gaming families. Mario Ho, son of casino legend Stanley Ho, Nathan Lui, of the family behind Galaxy Entertainment and Pak Chau, who is the son of high-profile junket operator Alvin Chau are among the company’s advisers.
Alphaslot plans to link the casino floor, the offline video gaming world and food, beverage and retail operations, through the blockchain. It believes its use of a SLOT token based on the ethereum system will help to drive player engagement, both on and offline and reduce the need for expensive customer loyalty programs, at least among the younger generation.
Joji Kokuryo of the Alphaslot Foundation notes that “the introduction of blockchain and cryptocurrencies brings new opportunities for gaming content, social interaction, and integrated economies.”
“The core of the Alphaslot Platform project is the SLOT token, the currency used in our ecosystem. Starting from the point of incentivizing players to play Alphaslot games, SLOT can be used to enhance game play with extra play options, traded with other tokens in an exchange, and be redeemed for non-gaming services and products,” Kokuryo says.
“One of the biggest blind spots for crypto token usage in land-based casinos is that people tend to think exchanging tokens into game credits or casino chips is the route to go. The ecosystem that Alphaslot is creating brings benefits to all the parties involved, without having to any of that.”
Players mine for tokens as they play on an Alphaslot-supported electronic gaming machines. More will be generated depending on the amount spent and time played, thereby encouraging greater player engagement. The SLOTS can be stored in the Alphaslot wallet.
In addition, players of online games at home can continue to earn the tokens, thus adding a further incentive to return to the casino to spend.
The project is an attempt to broaden the casino audience and appeal to the millennial gamer.
The global casino market is expected to reach $200 billion in 2022, from $129 billion in 2016. Though despite the strong projected growth, there is still concern that land-based casinos are failing to capture the imagination of the younger generation, who prefer games involving more social interaction and skill.
A key element of these types of games has been the personal avatar. According to intelligence firm SuperData, players of the popular game Fortnite have generated revenue of more than $1 billion through in-game purchases of “skins,” or even dance moves for their avatars.
Alphaslot has taken note and is introducing an Alphabot avatar that will be unique to individual players and can be customized and trained to help in games.
“We are creating an Alphabot avatar, which players can buy and equip using SLOT. These avatars can be used as collectables and also as a gaming side-kick that can provide extra boosts and take part in Alphaslot jackpot events aside from the game they are playing,” said Kokuryo.
“Social interaction such as rankings, avatar battles, and even beauty pageants, make for interactive gaming. When you consider that blockchain technology can allow for avatars from other ecosystems to enter the Alphaslot gaming world, the possibilities become limitless.”
The technology behind most of these blockchain gaming projects is new, but the basic goal has always been the same; make fun and innovating games to engage players and bring more business to land-based and online casinos.
“The most consistently successful projects will be the ones that apply tokenization aspects to already thriving business models, with an added bonus when integrating various economies that can feed off each other,” he said.
“There is no reason why the tokens of a gaming ecosystem cannot spread to have uses in major resort services like hospitality and F&B, but the most exciting part is how use cases of these tokens will be able to connect gaming with whole new economies outside the resorts.”
The company has partnered with Takara Gaming Group, which is deployed in casinos in 10 countries, and is in talks with further potential partners. The project is also open to mobile gaming, e-sports and console-based games.
To be sure, it’s not the first company to harness blockchain technology in the gambling industry. Online gaming companies were quick to embrace the possibilities of crypto-currencies to improve security and trust in gaming, though most have been limited to the online world only.
RealCasino, which launched in January 2016, has a similar ethereum-based token system to ease play between land-based casinos and the online world, though does not have a slot mining feature embedded into games on the casino floor. It is also planning an ICO in September this year, with the pre-sale beginning in late May.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has taken the lead when it comes to how cryptocurrencies in gaming can be regulated. It has introduced written guidelines on how distributed ledger technology (DLT) is applied to gaming. DLT is a broader grouping of decentralized data management, with the now famous “blockchain” being a sub-group of this technology.