Online bingo has never been better. Since the first online bingo platforms tentatively emerged, blinking at the sun, back in 1996, the industry has gone through a myriad of changes to get it to the high quality experience of today. Limited features and basic user interface designs gave way to more sophisticated graphics, better game engines, and more engaging social and community features like chat rooms, leaderboards and other promotions. As the world has moved on, so too has online bingo.
The emergence of mobile bingo introduced yet another shift in technology. It’s never been more convenient to enjoy bingo on the go, or from the comforts of home. The evolution of bingo technology from those early days to today shows no sign of abating, with the pace of technological change only set to get faster in the coming years.
With a stage by stage evolutionary journey already behind it, what does the future look like for online bingo, and how might the industry continue to evolve in the face of an ever-shifting tech landscape?
From Early Days of Online
Picture the scene. It’s 1996, and the world’s first bingo site, Bingo Zone, has just launched in the US. The internet was in its infancy, and even the most visited websites in the world at the time were laughably poor by today’s standards. User experience research was a pipe dream, and even the best designers in the world struggled to develop anything that looked good by today’s standards. In its simplest form, online bingo can be served by simple number generators and a basic interface, played through downloaded desktop games. With a couple of hours spare to run through the download and installation process, it was possible for the first time to engage in playing bingo online – albeit in a much less engaging, much less fun way than today.
Fast forward to now, and it’s a whole different ball game. Online bingo now has reached an impressively high level, in terms of the gameplay, the graphics, the community spirit, and the general experience. Online bingo now more than rivals its offline counterpart, as emptying bingo halls across the country will testify.
As broadband became more widespread, players were better able to enjoy the convenience and accessibility of playing from home online – a lifeline for the socially isolated and tech-savvy elderly, as well as an emerging new form of gambling entertainment for people of all ages and stages of life. It was with the mobile revolution that things were to step up another gear.
The Mobile Years
As mobile phones started to improve and smartphones became ubiquitous, online bingo would move through yet another stage of development, at least as monumental as its debut in the online arena. Mobile bingo for the first time broke the shackles of the desktop, and allowed for an even more convenient way to play. Downloadable apps and even in-browser play has become steadily better over a number of years, to the point where now, players can take advantage of playing bingo through visually stunning sites with user-friendly interfaces and navigation, and even social features.
Add-ons like chat rooms, tournaments and leaderboards have made it all the more engaging, and with more reputable bingo sites than ever before, players are now increasingly discerning about where they choose to play.
Reputable bingo review sites such as bestbingowebsites.co.uk are now helping bingo fans find their way to bingo sites with the best player experience on mobile, in much the same way as players used to look for reviews for desktop sites. The availability of cross-platform experiences, which now allow players to flick between desktop and mobile play, with the same account and payment details (as well as features like pay by phone) make it even easier than ever before to enjoy playing bingo remotely.
The Future is Bright
With mobile and online bingo now all the rage, the industry has weathered the changes of the technological tide over several decades. But technology grows exponentially, and the pace of change is set to continue to speed up, bringing with it more new challenges for bingo sites, and more new ways to engage with online bingo for players.
With increasing access to 5G mobile data networks and beyond, the scope for delivering more realistic, more personalised experiences has never been greater. The future could be more social, and could ultimately lead to a virtual return to the physical bingo halls of old – a sort of hybrid of online bingo and physical bingo, thanks to technologies like live streaming and VR.
Advancements in mobile technology and digital security generally are already paving the way for more innovation, and bingo sites are unlikely to stand still as these technologies continue to become more widespread.
However the future pans out for online bingo, it looks to be bright. As we look back today on the origins of early bingo websites, the industry has already come a very long way. Looking back in another 25 years will no doubt reflect the same.