Why the Smartwatch Casino Sector Never Caught On
Many people have wondered why smartwatch casino games never really became as popular as many individuals predicted they would. A combination of several factors led to the current situation where they are totally dead in the water in spite of major casino software juggernauts like Microgaming trying to build out the sub-genre.
The Emergence and Failure of Smartwatch Casinos
Many individuals have probably noticed that smartphone manufacturers have a hard time coming up with much that’s new these days. The phones got smaller for a while, and now they are getting bigger, but other than removing ports to try to make the devices thinner, there haven’t really been any major innovations in the mobile device space for quite some time.
Smartwatches were an attempt to strive for the “next big thing,” and in the online casino industry, they never became anywhere near as popular for playing games as many people assumed they would.
The failure of the smartwatch slot and casino game market is really interesting for a variety of reasons, and most players actually have no idea why or how it all happened. In what follows, we’ll break down everything you need to know about why this sector of the online gambling industry never really got off of the ground and why mobile casino titles in their current form are here to stay for a long time.
Understanding How Smartwatch Casino Titles Work
For those who may not be familiar, a smartwatch is a device worn on your wrist that links to the phone or tablet that you carry with you to make it more convenient to perform certain tasks. They can help you to keep up with notifications, and some limited typing and other types of touchscreen input are available as well.
It’s worth noting that these were created primarily for health and fitness purposes, and most other attempted uses of these watches have not seen much success.
All of this sounds great in theory. They can be very convenient for a handful of key purposes, and they most certainly do make it easier to see which notifcations are coming your way by just glancing at your wrist instead of having to pull a device out of your jacket or pants pocket.
While they are great at sending the user information, they are not so great at taking input themselves because the screens are so small. With that having been said, the screen size issue is the main limitation for casino play because the overwhelming majority of popular titles (slots in particular) only require a very limited amount of input that usually just consists of a tap after the main settings have been set the way the player wants them.
For slots and other titles like smartwatch blackjack that have very limited numbers of input options, the limited ability to give input was not so much of an issue, but the smaller screen size was still a problem.
Regardless, these titles would work by linking to your phone (or tablet) and allowing you to play a version of a game that you would otherwise need to use your mobile device for.
Where the Smartwatch Casino Problems Began
When smartwatches started becoming popular in media in terms of being reviewed and seen as a new tech item that might be the next “big thing,” online casino software developers like Microgaming, leading from the front and pushing the envelope on new technologies like they always do, came out with a handful of games for the platform.
If Microgaming and other casino software giants create titles for a new technology, they almost always catch on. However, smartwatches were the exception.
Despite a tremendous media push and new games from some of the best providers in the industry, nothing really happened. The technology did not catch on like they thought it would in the general sense, and it most certainly did not catch on in the online gambling space in particular.
There are a variety of reasons why, but here are some facts to consider:
- At the time and for quite a while, the smartwatches themselves would cost as much as or even more than the smartphone or tablet they were supposed to be attached to.
- You can’t wear a smartwatch out on its own as a separate device. You must always keep your phone nearby for it to stay “docked” to wirelessly, for lack of a better word, because its main functions involve communicating notifications and other information from the “mothership” device.
- Not many people had smartwatches to begin with, and since they only really caught up with the heavily devoted fitness crowd for the most part, there was not much of an audience that already had the devices who wanted to play smartwatch online slots and other titles with them.
These are some practical points as for why they never caught on as a part of the overall tech industry. However, there were some particular issues that were specific to the online casino sector that left games for these devices dead in the water pretty much from the time they first emerged as well.
The Death of the Smartwatch Online Slot
Slots were thought to be the perfect fit for smartwatches as far as casino games go because they only required one button for an input (the betting options would be set on your phone or tablet), and you could play a few spins when you got a moment before continuing to be on your way without having to pull out your main device.
Perhaps unfortunately, the concept didn’t make it very far. One of the reasons for this is that the screen real estate, despite being impressive for its size, is entirely too small for modern modern slots to run effectively. This is because there simply aren’t enough pixels or enough room on the screen to bring high-quality graphics across a minimum of five reels and three rows of action.
As a result, the slots for smartwatches that did come out were essentially inferior versions of the games available on the device that would be in your pocket the entire time. This was a particularly hard sell to players who have come to be super familiar with how great the quality of graphics and gameplay can be for mobile slots in today’s modern era.
What it basically amounted to was that the hardware was too specialized to be flexible enough to really work for any type of online gambling in a way that wasn’t self-defeating. As a result, after a handful of titles were released, even by the top software developers in the industry, it never went anywhere and soon faded into obscurity.
A Better Alternative to Smartwatch Online Casino Play
If you really want to get into some of your favorite casino games while you’re out and about, you’ll be much better off playing on traditional mobile devices as opposed to a smartwatch. The game quality of mobile slots in particular is exceptional, and you can even play live dealer games straight from your smartphone or tablet.
There are certain emerging technologies that work really well for the online casino world. HTML5 and how it completely made Flash obsolete is a great example of the type of advancement that we can see from this sort of thing. However, smartwatches were the exception in that they simply had too many things working against them to be a viable option in the hyper-competitive market that the online casino industry has.