The MMORPG segment of the gaming world is hugely popular. The biggest title – Blizzard’s World of Warcraft – currently has more than 10 million paying subscribers. It even got a whole episode of South Park dedicated to it!
Whether you play with friends or with strangers on the other side of the world, MMORPGs offer a uniquely social way to play video games. It should be no surprise, then, to note that Facebook has tapped into the popularity of these games by offering freemium MMORPG’s to tempt casual fans and boost profits.
Facebook’s social games offering is largely based around fantasy and sci-fi, but another increasingly popular MMMORPG niche is that of the casino.
The Four Kings Casino and Slots game is available on the PS4 platform and is proving very popular among fans. Players create their own pimped-up avatar and head into a virtual casino where they compete against the house and other online players. Current games include poker, blackjack and bingo. Although the money isn’t real, as players progress they get rewarded with more elaborate clothing. Once they work their way up to a VIP level, they get to play for high stakes.
In a similar vein, the Steam store has recently unleashed its own casino MMORPG. This Vegas-themed MMORPG takes a more Sims-based approach to the social casino, merging role-playing, city-building and organizing casino games. You start off as a janitor in the casino, and use your winnings in games like slots, poker, blackjack and roulette to rise to the position of tycoon and casino owner. The game is a heck of a lot of fun, and if you ever wanted to play the role of real-life mogul Sheldon Adelson, or even Robert de Niro in the film Casino, then give it a try.
Lastly, it would be remiss of us not to mention the Grand Theft Auto franchise, which has featured several casinos in its time. The latest one is the Vinewood casino in GTA V, which is sadly inaccessible – and we should know, as we have tried every way possible to bust our way in. However, rumours have persisted for years that there would be a dedicated casino DLC released which would allow people to walk through the door of the Vinewood, and play poker for a chance to win virtual cash to use in the game. So far, this hasn’t got off the ground, but if any video game can make a casino work, then surely, it’s the dark and edgy and adult-rated GTA.
The concept of putting the casino experience online is of course not a new one, and any search of the internet will throw up a ton of internet-based casinos. We think that the inevitable next step in casino games development will be to use technological advances in virtual reality to make playing in real-money casinos a social activity that you can enjoy with friends.
Imagine playing a World of Warcraft-style game that allows you and your friends to explore a virtual reality version of Las Vegas. You could enter the best casinos like Caesar’s Palace or the Luxor, and join thousands of others in playing poker, baccarat, roulette and slots. We could see it being possible to play for free, or for real money.
Who would make the first move to offering real-money MMORPG casino games? We can easily imagine that one of the existing Vegas casinos might well be tempted to open up their market to new audiences. Not everyone can fly to Vegas, but why can’t Europeans (where online casinos are legal) play in a virtual Wynn or MGM, and enjoy the thrills without the jet lag?
The future of casino MMORPGs looks good to us, and we will be following developments closely.