Aussie pokie manufacturers look set to release a new wave of skill-based games aimed at enticing a new generation of gamers.

 Australian pokies.

Developers are looking to shift their focus away from older players with new skilled-based pokies. (image Kill Phil Poker)

According to information obtained by Fairfax Media, regulators in Victoria and New South Wales have received licence applications from developer Wymac. Working as part of a joint venture with Crown Casino, the company is developing a new style of game where skill has a bearing on a player’s results.

A Game of Luck and Skill

As per the Sunday Morning Herald’s September 1 report, the games will “look and feel more similar to video games” and payouts will be based on a player’s “ability” as well as “chance.” The news comes as pokie spending in Australia tops AU$12 billion per year.

From government statistics released at the end of 2017, pokie losses between 2015 and 2016 increased by 4.2 percent. As well as being double the rate of inflation, the increase took the amount spent on pokies beyond that of sports betting, casinos and lottery gaming combined.

With the country playing these games more than ever, developers are looking to increase their stake in the market with games designed for millennials.

Outside of the betting sector, the video games market is worth US$137.9 billion/AU$192 billion. Detailed inside Newzoo’s 2018 Global Games Market Report, revenue for the industry is up by 13.3 percent on last year thanks to more than 2.3 billion gamers worldwide.

Control vs. Illusion of Control

Within the video gaming sector, competitive gaming is seen as a rising star. Otherwise known as eSports, international competitions feature professional players competing in various skilled-based video games.

Initially big in parts of Asia, including South Korea, eSports is now becoming a global pastime with revenue expected to top US$1.6 billion/AU$2.2 billion by 2020.

Due to the increased popularity in video gaming and, in particular, skilled-based games, pokies could be set to move in a new direction. Although Wymac looks to be the first company in Australia seeking permission to launch their new games, others will follow.

For players, this will mean a whole new experience where luck isn’t the only deciding factor. However, for anti-gambling groups, introducing a skill element could have a harmful effect on players.

For its part, Liquor & Gaming NSW has said more research needs to be done before a decision can be made.

We need to better understand issues such as risks around illusion of control and game returns for players with varying skills before any decisions are made on skills-based electronic gaming machine applications,” a spokesperson for the regulator told the Sunday Morning Herald.

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