GTA V Casino: How a DLC Could Change the Industry
Whenever DLC (downloadable content) speculation hits the online airwaves it often causes a state of mild hysteria among gaming fans. The latest news filtering through about Grand Theft Auto (GTA) has done exactly that. At the end of March, it was widely reported that a new update pack for GTA V Online is imminent.
Despite the eagerly anticipated Online Heists DLC hitting the virtual shelves at the start of March, talk among gaming enthusiasts quickly turned to another potential update which was dubbed Online Casino. Although unconfirmed, it has long been suspected that a casino element to the game would be created thanks to a glitch in the game.
The GTA V Casino Glitch
Discovered by some players soon after the release of GTA V, the unexpected opening allowed players to enter a Los Santos casino and walk around. Although the room is bare, the presence of a casino complex started adding fuel to the speculation that the players would soon be able to gamble in order to increase their in-game bankroll.
In fact, according to super gamer and GTA expert, ‘Funmw2’, the new DLC will include four mini-games which will give players the ability to ante-up at the blackjack table and play poker as well as take a spin on the roulette wheel and slots. If the word on the grapevine is true, and weight of public opinion suggests it is, then GTA appears to have captured the current zeitgeist for social gaming. Although so-called “play money” and real money games differ in a number of ways, many of the leading online gambling operators have increasingly used the former to attract people to the latter.
In an effort to connect with new audiences, poker providers such as Full Tilt have offered a more “social” form of playing through various mediums such as Facebook. This decision to focus on casual players rather than hardcore poker players is part of an industry wide movement. But are the players that enjoy casino mini-games in titles such as GTA the type of people who also enjoy playing poker and casino games online?
From Gaming to Gambling and Back Again
The common answer to this question in the past was a resounding “no”. However, in recent years the division between online gamers and gamblers has been blurred thanks to innovations on both sides of the divide. In addition to game developers using casino and poker games to add new dimensions to their products, gambling operators have tapped into elements of the gaming world to bolster their
One of the most striking examples of gambling and gaming merging in recent months is the advent of Twitch streams for popular poker players. Although the live streaming site has a number of daily broadcasts, the site has become a hub for gamers who have used the system to connect with peers and show off their skills. In 2015, Twitch announced a new initiative to place more emphasis on poker and since then a number of high-profile players, including Jason Somerville, have started using the site to broadcast their games.
Play for Fun and for Real
This dynamic has not only given new options for poker enthusiasts, but opened up the industry to a host of new users. Pro gamers are now migrating over to poker and that is pushing traditional gaming fans to consider new options. However, the worlds of gaming casinos and dedicated online gambling platforms are still separate entities. Playing for virtual chips does not carry the same risks as playing for real cash. If GTA V’s latest DLC does contain a casino element, the process of staking $1,000 chips within the game is not the same as risking that much in real life. In essence, the former could be construed as “fun”, while the latter is a serious investment.
— snapmatic (@snapmatic1) April 6, 2015
However, despite the differences between reality and virtual reality, there is a crossover between the two industries. All online platforms, including Full Tilt, have “play money” rooms which allow users to experience everything the site has to offer but for fake cash. This facility is something game developers have utilized to create casino options within their products. Although in-game casinos might not turn GTA V players into world-class gamblers, they would certainly give novices a great introduction into the industry.
DFS: Sport, Gaming and Gambling
While the latest chatter about a new GTA V casino has prompted people to draw comparisons between online gambling sites and gaming providers, there has also been some crossover between sport, gambling and gaming in recent months.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has given sports fans a chance to become virtual coaches and win some money at the same time. Thanks to a number of sites, including DraftKings and DraftDay, lovers of football, baseball and a range of other sports can pay a small fee and use a virtual bankroll to construct a dream team.
Based on individual and team performances, players earn points and the higher their total the greater their chance of scooping a major prize. Since hitting the mainstream in 2014, DFS has now become a booming enterprise with NFL teams and major companies supporting the industry.
Although it is not as well-established as online casino and poker, DFS could easily be a new venture for GTA V developers in the near future. With a stake in both the gaming world and the gambling industry, DFS would slot easily into a DLC if the developers decided to expand the casino aspect of GTA V.
GTA V’s New Market Appeal
Regardless of whether DFS makes a move into the gaming world, the crossover between the casino community and gaming world is one that is growing. Although GTA V fans may not start out as gamblers, they may soon decide to test their skills for real money if the DLC comes to fruition. Moreover, it could be possible for GTA V to host a real money casino as some fans have suggested.
Similarly, poker and casino fans could easily find a new hobby in the gaming world if GTA V does offer gambling options in the future. In fact, if success at the poker table is directly linked to success in GTA V, then traditional players may be forced to learn some new skills in order to thrive in the game.