This is a guest contribution by Sergiy Logvynenko, Account Manager at Sigma Software. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
The casino game world is very conservative. This conservativeness is apparent from all sides, beginning with game titles, which have not changed in decades. However, although conservative, it is time for the casino games to adapt to modern technological devices. One exciting way is a topic I’d like to share some of my ideas on casino game play in portrait mode.
Most casino games are created following a landscape-first approach. There are currently games that follow a portrait-first approach, but not many. In fact, just a few years ago, there were almost no casino games in portrait mode at all. However, as technology is always progressing, you can now find portrait mode slot games. Is this a good sign? Yes! Is it enough? Unfortunately, no, because having interacted with most of these games, it is apparent that designers just scale landscape mode and put a “spin” button at the bottom of the screen. The look turns out to be very simplistic, resembling what looks like an unsuccessful version of landscape mode.
Yes, doubling design and development efforts to create a great game in both portrait and landscape modes might be too much. And yes, this may increase development time for about a week or so. But on the other hand, I’m convinced that a game provider can and should spend the money on these advances.
Furthermore, maybe we should be designing games based on one approach: the portrait-first approach. There are operators that target computers, laptops, and tablets (although tablets have few problems in this case). At the same time, there are many operators that target only smartphones. According to the statistics, more and more people play games, including casino games, on their smartphones. Why do companies still create games in landscape mode? And, why don’t they force game providers to design games in portrait mode-first? I would say this is because of conservatism.
Just a few years ago, there was a lot of criticism of those who recorded videos in portrait mode. “How are we going to watch the video on a TV or laptop?” they would ask. Today, many videos are recorded in portrait mode, and are also completely acceptable on social media platforms. For example, new platforms, like TikTok, are built around portrait mode. Believe it or not, it is probably more of a problem to record a video in landscape mode nowadays because of the need to turn the phone in order to watch it. A lot of people skip such videos because they are too lazy to turn their phone to the side. Of course, movies and lengthy videos are still played in landscape mode on a TV or laptop, but short videos have very quickly moved to portrait mode.
The same ideas are true for smartphone games. If, for example, a PlayStation or Xbox game is to be played for more than 3.8 minutes per round, the game should be played in landscape mode. However, if a game is short, like a slot game, is there really a reason to force a player to turn their phone to play in landscape mode?
Many of you will accept the idea of portrait mode being used for slot games, but then question its use when playing table games like Poker, Blackjack, and Roulette. However, that it is not a problem to design these kinds of games in portrait mode. All you need to do is to hire the right talent, and they will get the job done easily, and in no time.
To sum up, portrait mode will prevail in a blink of an eye. The reasons for this are quite obvious. First off, operators want to have a new, young and dynamic target audience on board. Secondly, young people do everything they possibly can on their smartphones – socialize, entertain, track their health, listen to music, etc. In fact, if it can’t be done on a smartphone, it probably doesn’t exist on their usual list of activities. And finally, if casino operators stay reluctant and continue to take the same, familiar path, revenue from new players will not show up on their accounts.