ICE 2019: Five things to look forward to for casino players
One of the world's biggest iGaming exhibitions and conferences hits London in early February. Here are the games and innovations in store.
ICE (International Casino Exhibition) London 2019 is set to be the biggest gambling expo ever held. Running at London's ExCeL, over 8,000 operators will be jostling for space.
But for the keen online casino games player, ICE is about looking forward to the major developers' new releases.
ICE is an opportunity for providers to showcase new slots and games before they hit your friendly casino lobby.
With ICE just around the corner, let's take a sneak peek at what we might expect.
Multi-player arcade games
Multi-player slots like Mermaids Millions are already popular with Betway Casino customers. Multi-player technology allows more than one person to join in a game, with everyone sharing in the spoils if a bonus round is hit.
More recently, land-based multi-player video slots have been emerging. And in 2019, the growing popularity of arcade games in casinos will continue.
Gamblit's PAC-MAN Battle Casino will take the classic Atari game and give it a casino twist.
In the game, up to four players will take part in a familiar game of Pac-Man on Gamblit's Model G tablets. Whoever emerges the winner will win the largest portion of the prize cash.
The skill casino game element has been rolled out by developers like Konami in recent years.
But with the likes of GameCo's 3D basketball title, Nothin' but Net 2, and Bandai's Soulcalibur Multi-Player Challenge game hitting the market, this could be the year when gambling and arcade games really hit the 21st century.
New technology and going big on VR
A few years ago, NetEnt unveiled a rough version of Jack & the Beanstalk VR, a totally virtual reality version of the popular slot.
Using a VR headset, players were able to spin the reels using their hands and scan the fairytale environment in 360 degrees.
US giants IGT are always a big presence at ICE, and 2019 is no exception.
IGT fans may catch a glimpse of the upcoming Sex and the City Ultra video slot at this year's expo. Based on the long-running TV series, IGT's Sex and the City Ultra utilises the latest PowerSight technology.
Players are able to use their eyes to control certain elements of the slot.
Expect to see the new wave of Ultra HD slots too.
Konami's KX43 range uses the latest 4K Ultra HD resolution on slots and games. These land-based slots will also feature USB charging ports for players.
More big branded releases
Slots developers will continue their big brand tie-ins in 2019. And one developer tying up one of the biggest names on the planet is Aristocrat.
Aristocrat are one of the long-running slot developers who love to embrace ICE. A big new release for 2019 is Madonna, a land-based slot based on the pop icon.
As well as a selection of the singer's hits like Borderline and Into the Groove, Madonna will include an interactive karaoke feature. In keeping with the big technology theme, Aristocrat's new slot will feature LCD screens.
Microgaming, meanwhile, will be unveiling their new Tomb Raider slot.
Produced in conjunction with Square Enix, the release marks 15 years since the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider slot was brought out. A licensed sequel, Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword, followed in 2008.
This will be the latest development from Triple Edge Studios, an innovative independent studio providing exclusive games for Microgaming.
Expect more good things from Triple Edge at future ICE exhibitions.
NetEnt and Microgaming prepare new slots
Microgaming always uses ICE to unveil a big release or two. Whether it's Jurassic Park or Terminator 2, the leading developer usually saves its major news for ICE.
As well as the new Tomb Raider slot, Microgaming will be announcing details on Agent Jane Blonde Returns.
The long-awaited follow-up to Agent Jane Blonde is set for a March 2019 release but there could be a sneak preview for ICE visitors to try out.
New Microgaming games like Zombie Hoard, Shogun of Time, and Arctic Valor, all big February releases, should get a decent outing.
Scandinavian giants, NetEnt, meanwhile, generally saves one major announcement for ICE. This spring's big NetEnt slot release is Turn Your Fortune.
Inspired by Art Nouveau, Turn Your Fortune is a new 5-reel slot for desktop and tablet with a unique coin win ladder.
The Fortune wins free spins bonus can pay players up to 2,000x their stake and should attract a crowd at the giant NetEnt stand.
Games to look forward to in 2019
ICE is one of the world's biggest gambling B2B exhibitions. But amid the networking, there are interesting game developments for regular punters to enjoy.
ICE is a good indicator of what will be hitting your local and online casinos in the coming months. ICE 2019 could be a great mix of big branded releases, new technology, and more immersive multi-player experiences.