The gaming industry has come a way too far since the days of playing Pong in your friend’s living room. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, newly transformed graphics, and a commitment to storytelling have made the games of today more enfolding and interesting than ever before. One of such developments to take the gaming industry to the next level has been the Internet of Things (IoT).

As the Internet of Things, the online gaming industry has seen incredible year-over-year growth with the proliferation of the Internet and mobile computing. In the past decade, the worldwide market has nearly tripled from $14 billion in 2005 to $41 billion in 2015. Mobile casino games, in particular, have seen explosive growth with the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets.

By 2018, annual wagers on mobile devices were to exceed approximately $62 billion globally. Games that are free-to-play, while different from traditional online gaming platforms are among today’s highest grossing games on Apple’s App Store. These games differ in their use of in-app purchases and virtual currencies to drive player engagement and build revenue.

Game operators are already dependent on analytics to track player involvement and keep players interested. Loyalty programs have historically managed this by rewarding plaCyers and provide incentives for continuing to play, while still allowing the operator to maximize returns. This requires a lot of decision making and data processing: to accomplish this, physical casinos rely heavily on cameras, sensors, and feedback from dealers to provide the data needed to make these decisions. With IoT and online gaming, much of this process can be automated.

How Will the IoT Impact Online Gaming?

The IoT has the potential to revolutionize online gaming in one of two ways: by bridging the physical gap between the platform and the player, and by integrating online platforms with physical casinos.

Bridging the Gap Between Platform and Player

The IoT is spearheaded in part by the increased use of mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets contain an array of sensors – cameras, accelerometers, touch and pressure sensors, and even heart rate monitors – that mobile apps can tap into to collect and report data about the user’s experience. We’re seeing a new market appear in fitness bands and smartwatches, which communicate with mobile devices to display notifications, track health and activity, and even manage calls and SMS messages right from the user’s wrist.