Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Casinos may be the next IT growth target

For several years now, the gaming industry has kicked around the idea of "server-based gaming." In a nutshell, it means replacing the video slot machines with more of a dumb terminal, which is connected to a powerful server in the back room. A customer would then have a choice of games to play on the single machine. Industry leaders see this as a opportunity to compete for younger visitors, who are used to virtually limitless variety in entertainment choices.

Personally, I find the gaming industry morally reprehensible. And I find it unconscionable that state and local governments target the poorest of their populations in lotteries, which are truly a voluntary tax on those who do not understand statistics.

Putting those feelings aside, this change represents an opportunity for software developers and network engineers in the coming 2-4 years. For the network engineers, the opportunity lies in the wiring of old buildings and the build-out of special purpose data centers. For software developers who have specialized in game design, there will be plenty of new work to do.

The change will be slow, because the industry is highly conservative and risk-averse. They will want to be absolutely sure that the games are protected from cheating, that they can be monitored, and that they will be highly reliable. Nevertheless, the change will come. The casinos have been playing around with CRM systems and data mining for almost a decade, now, and those guys know -- if they know nothing else -- how to take exploit an opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. I could see this change coming slowly. The casinos have very long design times for new machines and are, understandably, very cautious about security issues. Typical design times for gaming machines are 5-8 years. But having multiple games on one machine would be a nice change. @jesseluna on Twitter