- Legal States
Fiona Simmons December 20, 2022 6 min read
Mkodo’s Tom Atfield on the Digital Trends in iGaming in 2022 and 2023
Technology is ever-evolving and plays such an important part in the iGaming industry, enabling innovation and providing elevated and more engaging player experiences.
In this piece, GamblingNews speaks to Tom Atfield, Creative Director at mkodo, a B2B supplier of mobile and front-end technology, about digital trends in 2022 and what we can expect in the space next year.
Q: For you, what are the major digital trends to remember from 2022 in the iGaming sector?
There are three major things for me that are notable from this year. A bigger focus on accessibility is the first one, as iGaming operators realize the importance of ensuring their digital products are usable for all. Our clients are definitely more interested in accessibility and not just from a design perspective, but when it comes to implementation too – both are very important.
The accessibility mindset isn’t something that’s just coming from our clients. Our own internal teams are continuously questioning things from an accessibility perspective, and we have been working hard to improve this element across our iGaming apps. Accessibility must be part of the whole development process and should no longer be something that’s an afterthought.
Secondly, user experience (UX) has become even more important as companies look to reduce any friction in user journeys to be able to meet their goals, not just from a usability point of view, but also from a business perspective. I can’t emphasize enough how important UX is to ensure the retention of players and encourage more downloads.
Finally, native game content has been a hot topic since Apple introduced new guidelines requiring games to be built natively or to be embedded into their application code. We have spent a lot of time in 2022 converting games from web use to native and continuing to build out the native offering is going to be crucial for providers going into 2023.
Q: What are some of the emerging trends iGaming operators should be looking out for or preparing for in 2023?
It’s always hard to predict what is going to happen but I do think we will continue to see cryptocurrencies being talked about in the iGaming space. There are already player wallets for crypto payments, but there are some challenges about the anonymity of it and the risk of fraud – but I don’t think we should turn our backs on the opportunity just yet.
Personally, I love live dealer content. We have found that generally, a live casino is something that is seemingly more trustworthy than a random number generator, and trust is such an important part of the iGaming industry. I think that there will be a bit of a twist and a mix-up in the live dealer arena, and potentially some other ways that these streaming services can be used to help operators drive revenue. I think it’s a really interesting space.
I would also love to see wearable tech being used more in iGaming as we head into the New Year. We have started to produce a couple of ideas for our clients regarding Apple and Android Watches to enhance the experience of their apps. Wearables have been around for quite a while now and I think that there are a lot of opportunities there that haven’t been tapped into by the industry.
There will also be annual updates announced by Android and iOS that will impact the industry. Although there can be challenges from these updates, we always see them as an opportunity for innovation in iGaming, as it forces the industry to think outside the box. The updates are something our in-house experts follow closely, and they share their thoughts and the opportunities with the industry when updates are released.
Q: iGaming operators must differentiate themselves by offering an optimal user experience. How will this translate in terms of app and website interface and journeys throughout 2023?
It is such a competitive marketplace with so many operators all needing to stand out. Having a USP is essential. iGaming operators should have something to attract players – whether that’s an amazing brand, exclusive games content, or attractive bonuses and rewards. Again, UX here is super important, making it easy for customers to use the app and place bets or play games, ensuring they will continue to come back.
You want to make sure people don’t forget about the app they have on their phone but instead, revisit it. The goal is for it to become a utility that they keep coming back to rather than just something they browse every now and then.
Q: Do you predict we’ll see even more of a focus on player experience from a digital perspective in 2023? And how can mkodo help iGaming operators to innovate?
I believe so. Again, the UX is crucial here and something that operators really need to focus on. The player experience is everything as it ensures users are interested in the product, keeps them playing, and drives return visits. Technology does change very quickly, however, and a company like ours stays on top of these developments and can offer expert support and insight to our customers.
As front-end experts, we can also provide some quick wins to our clients. By focusing on the front end rather than involving the back, we ensure the player experience is improved swiftly and without too much work. As an example, we recently implemented a solution to enable the players of some of our lottery clients to save their digital lottery tickets in their Apple Wallet. This technology already exists on the phone and doesn’t require us to do work to the back end, so it quickly and significantly improves the player’s experience.
Q: Is there anything else in 2023 or beyond that you’re excited to see from a digital iGaming perspective?
I’m excited about the use of VR and AR in iGaming – although I think it’s still quite a way off. From a design angle, the challenge is very interesting – it is a completely different way to envisage something. It’s an area I would love to get into, but I still think it’s far too early. We have seen some attempts in the iGaming industry to incorporate this, but it hasn’t yet translated into the RMG space.