With the Nintendo turning 125 years old recently, all eyes are on games consoles as gamers around the world look to celebrate the exciting milestone.
The birthday will be particularly poignant in Japan, where the console began its life as a hobby store in Kyoto in 1889. Today, fans of Nintendo would more likely recognise the Nintendo Wii rather than a card game as the a symbol of Nintendo’s products, and the company has gone from from strength to strength as it continues to battle it out with its competitors, Microsoft and Sony.
While Microsoft’s XBox One continues to prosper – manufacturers are now preparing for its release in China – there is one key element of modern gaming that has seemingly bypassed games console developers. As online gaming continues to grow, so too does online gambling, and yet, while smartphone and tablet users have enjoyed the benefits of this potentially lucrative venture, console gamers do not.
The case for the Xbox One is particularly notable in this scenario. The product is just getting ready to be launched in a country where gambling is restricted to just one region – Macau. For a Chinese audience alone, there is no practical incentive for Microsoft to offer its customers the chance to gamble online.
Moreover, for American audiences, there is little sense in today’s consoles offering customers online gambling. While people can have a flutter on sports and play online casino games with casino bonus packages here in the United Kingdom, over the pond, gambling online is restricted to just three states – Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
There is also the ethical issue to consider. With approximately 29 per cent of games consoles users aged under 18, an online gambling element would be an ethical concern for parents. The media has been awash with stories in recent years of young children getting hold of their parents’ online payment details and spending thousands on gaming facilities such as XBox Live.
With these concerns in mind, the future looks bleak for the possibility of consoles and online gambling marrying up. At present, the only games manufacturer who has attempted the feat is Atari, who recently tried their hand at making a comeback via the medium of ‘social gambling.’ The practice involved letting players use their consoles to gamble with virtual currency, rather than letting them win large amounts by playing in online casinos or placing sports bets.
It’s an ambitious move for Atari, but while the XBox continues to see gross revenues of $20.4 billion, there’s no reason why the biggest names in the industry would want to branch out into this field.