An authentic live gaming experience
Martin Reiner tells eGaming Review how Visionary iGaming's Live Dealer 2.0
will offer gamers the most attractive and satisfying live dealer experience yet
The continued growth of the live gaming industry has led players around the world to expect more from their gaming sessions. Gone are the days when players were content with a random number generator (RNG) and a computerised voice informing them that they had won or lost. Today, they expect a more realistic, more authentic and, as a result of the advent of Web 2.0, more personalised gaming experience.
Drawing upon his substantial experience, Martin Reiner, CEO of Visionary iGaming, explains how, by marrying new technology and social elements, Visionary iGaming has created what he believes to be the most compelling live dealer experience on the internet - Live Dealer 2.0.
eGaming Review (eGR): Will live dealer products replace RNG?
Marty Reiner (MR): Since its introduction to the online gaming market in the mid 2000’s, Live Dealer has grown from a niche offering with only a handful of providers to a mainstream ‘must have’ product that stands on its own as a proper egaming market segment. Large and small gaming portals alike are offering Live Casino as a main nav bar item, alongside their computer generated (RNG) predecessors such as poker, slots, video poker and flash casinos.
A new debate is beginning to rage: will Live Dealer be the death of RNG? In my opinion, I don’t think so. RNG offerings such as sophisticated slots, 3D poker tables with customisable avatars and other clever single player games are getting better every day. Using modern Flash technologies, these products continue to deliver into their core user base – people who enjoy playing ‘machines’, a large percentage of both land based and internet players. However, for the major table games: roulette, blackjack, baccarat and casino poker, Live Dealer products can provide both compelling graphic user interfaces delivered in Flash with integrated streaming video and audio with the reality and authenticity not possible with RNG table games. This appeals to live table game players who were formally uninterested in playing against a ‘computer’.
Live Dealer’s market share versus RNG games in the table games segment is growing at a dramatic pace and may, in fact, one day overtake RNG games. One key factor that is accelerating this trend is the advent of clever ‘one-to-many’ games that can be operationally efficient to produce and fast to play while providing individual choices for its players (like RNG games do). A good example is Visionary iGaming’s new proprietary game debuting this autumn, Blackjack Early Payout v2.0, where players can experience a very fast blackjack game, always get a seat at the table and make individual player decisions on every card dealt.
eGR: Will Web 2.0 affect the online gaming market?
MR: Web 2.0 affects the online gaming market as much or more than most other online businesses. Web 2.0 ideas and concepts provide online players with a comparable experience to that of a live casino and in many ways a more intimate and fun experience. Users can meet each other online from multiple physical locations while simultaneously enjoying a gaming experience and chatting with each other in real time. Internet users today are hungry for collaborative, real time, multimedia experiences. Live dealer providers must embrace Web 2.0 concepts, using these ideas and technologies as an opportunity to improve the entertainment value of its offering.
eGR: How does Visionary iGaming leverage Web 2.0 ideas?
MR: ViG’s Live Dealer 2.0 platform is a combination of second generation live dealer technologies with the integration of Web 2.0 social collaboration, including our friendly live dealers. Early live dealer offerings were simply about trust and replacing RNG engines with real dealers. However, Live Dealer 2.0 goes well beyond this. Of course, ViG’s results are authentic and verifiable; however multimedia digital mixing combined with Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies and professional, engaging dealers enables a much more compelling and entertaining experience.
On our games, there is always a rich community at each table, including the dealer and players from around the world, engaging in real time conversation about the game or anything else. Sometimes, we have concurrent chat in many languages as users from different countries try to communicate (and usually succeed!) with each other and our dealers. Players tip from their PC and dealers thank them on live video/audio, usually performing their individual ‘tip dance’. Players can communicate with dealers away from the game, too, on blogs and message boards, further strengthening the bond between the players and the casino – a major contributor to player retention.
eGR: How is Visionary iGaming different from other Live Dealer providers?
MR: ViG’s Live Dealer 2.0 games stand apart from its competitors on several fronts. In addition to emphasis on community and a fun playing environment, the enthusiasm and professionalism of our dealers are second to none. While our dealers enjoy interacting with our players, we train our dealers to deal mistake free games dealt to 100% live casino standards and methods. Secondly, we use only the highest quality live casino hardware such as Shufflemaster optical scanning card shoes, Cammegh roulette wheels and standard playing cards used in the finest casinos that are shuffled live, on camera.
Finally, we use fully digitised hardware which is seamlessly integrated into our games, thus avoiding the need for dealers to enter results or events with a mouse or keyboard allowing our video mixing to occur fully automated and synchronised with game events and eliminating costly mistakes of errors that can occur when entering results by hand. Compared to other live dealer providers who use over-sized cards, roulette wheels without table layouts, keyboard and mouse entry and other non-standard casino processes and equipment, our games stand out as the authentic product – because they are!
eGR: How does ViG Plan to use play to further enhance the Live Dealer experience?
The evolving technological landscape offers virtually limitless expansion opportunities. The changes we see fall largely into two categories: expansion and improvement of the internet infrastructure and broadband, worldwide and improvements in video encoding and distribution for real-time broadcasts. The first category will enable us to expand our reach to a greater number of clients – particularly in regions developing rapidly such as Eastern Europe, and Asia.
With respect to real time video broadcast, we are presently pushing the envelope of what Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) can cope with. Most video downloads today are not real time, such as those found on YouTube. However, with live broadcast via the internet increasing every day, we will be able to piggyback on that trend with ever increasing video quality and timeliness. And most all, users will come to expect this type of real time experience and their computer hardware and internet access will improve to further optimize this experience.
eGR: What challenges and opportunities do you see in the future?
MR: Now that Live Dealer products have gone main stream, there will no doubt be more and more competitors coming into the market. At Visionary iGaming, we aim to become and stay a market leader in Live Dealer products with a combination of superior technology and superior games, dealt by the most professional and engaging live dealers in the world. Additionally, we plan to form alliances with other high quality vendors who offer poker and Flash casino products.
By developing integrated front end and back end solutions, we will meet the broader demands of our clients who are continuously looking for best-of-breed products to offer their players. In particular, we see a real synergy between Live Dealer table games and peer to peer Poker, as many players will choose to play both games at the same time. To further this alliance, you can expect ViG to offer Live Dealer poker for select high stakes and large tournament games in 2010. Finally, we expect big things to develop with our Live Baccarat product, where we plan to offer extremely high stakes games to appeal to VIPs who currently must go to Macau to get this kind of action.