It is no secret that the online world has gone through massive changes since it first became accessible in homes. This has also led to multiple changes where online gambling businesses are concerned as well. From their first appearances in the 90s through to today’s much more polished and technologically advanced variations, casino sites have gone through their own revolution. The first online casinos were actually available as download-only options, before they became accessible in much easier instant play web-based options.
Do people still utilise download casinos for their favourite games? Most platforms today seem to be available in instant play mode rather than being downloadable. As it happens, the only downloadable parts of many casinos today are mobile apps to allow gaming to take place anywhere from a home screen icon. This is something altogether different though, when compared with the traditional download casinos of yesterday. Join us as we take a closer look at the traditional online casinos and look into whether or not they are still being used by gamers.
The History of Online Casinos and Download Clients
Online casinos first began appearing back in the 90s when the internet first started taking off commercially. At this time, many land-based industries opted to involve themselves in the online scene, being one of the first sectors of business to benefit from the internet. The popular Microgaming software developer lays claim to creating the world’s first online casino back in 1994. This operated as a download gaming site, requiring its players to download software to their PC desktop to enjoy their favourite casino games.
While the Microgaming claim to fame is not something that can be verified 100%, it certainly helped pave the way for other brands to launch their online options. The casino, which saw Microgaming unite with Cryptologic, became available in the same year that the first offshore licensing jurisdictions began operating. Antigua and Barbuda passed its Free Trade & Processing Act, and this allowed for online gambling sites to apply for a licence and open their offices in the country. However, this licensing jurisdiction is today associated with rogue operations.
It took just one year, between 1996 and 1997, for the number of online gambling sites to increase from 15 to 200 altogether. The popularity of such sites has been on an upward trajectory ever since then.
But why were download-only casinos created in the first instance instead of instant play web-based platforms? Well, back in the 90s, people were not able to connect to the online world as swiftly as they can today. Originally, computers had to use a dial-up connection to even access the internet, and connections could often be difficult to maintain for long periods of time from home. Furthermore, once connected, it was common for the speeds and bandwidth to be very low. Accessing an instant play casino as is common today would never have worked with such speeds. Even downloading a casino game lobby to your desktop computer would have taken a period of time to complete.
However, once the lobby was installed on your desktop, you could enjoy the games involved within. As a result of the fact that connections couldn’t support huge file sizes back then, the casino games created for this time were also of a lower graphical capability and far simpler than those available today. This catered to both the internet connection and the memory of computers back in the day. Essentially, download casinos were the best that you could get at the time and provided a high level of entertainment for the 90s.
Of course, as technology advanced, so too did the capabilities of online casino sites. Therefore, operators began incorporating instant play, web-based games to their lobbies. At first, players were given the choice of playing via their web browser or downloading the game lobby. Naturally, as with all things that transition, it takes time for the process to be taken up by everyone. With both options being available, those with stronger, broadband connections were able to enjoy instant play games, while those who still hadn’t changed to this format could continue with gaming via their download version.
New operators began to appear in the 2000s and 2010s, leading to competition growing significantly. As more people wanted to play games as speedily as possible, it became commonplace to find online casinos utilise instant play versions of games, rather than offering a downloadable lobby. At the same time, while the initial download casino lobbies featured software from a sole provider, instant play lobbies were able to feature games from a wide range of such instead. This introduced much more incentive for players to enjoy instant play lobbies as an alternative to download ones.
How Download Casinos Work Differently to Instant Play
Download casinos are exactly as their name suggests. Players are required to download the casino’s game lobby to their desktop and then install the software. This would integrate the lobby into your computer and also take up space on the machine as well. From there, users would click on the desktop icon to load the lobby up and continue with registering for an account. Everything would essentially take place from your computer desktop where download casinos are concerned.
It doesn’t really take much knowledge to know how to download and install files to your computer. As long as there is space on the hard drive and a semi-modern operating system, the ability to do this is quite simple. The internet is required for the initial download and any updates to the lobby would require a connection to the online world, too. Of course, once the file is downloaded to your desktop, you would be able to access the games involved in it whenever you wanted. The information is being read from your computer in this respect, rather than through the internet.
In stark comparison, instant play casinos require you to load the casino up through your computer’s web browser. From there, you join the site by entering your details into the registration form in order to create your account. Then, you make a deposit, and you can start playing the games within the lobby as you like.
There is no download necessary at all when you want to play the games at an instant play casino. Every game on offer at such a site is essentially streamed to your computer or mobile device when you load it up. Most people have great casino connections these days, resulting in high-quality graphics and smooth gameplay this way. As long as you have a casino account, you can engage in real money gameplay through instant play casinos. Obviously, this is great for mobile casino users, as there is no need for space-stealing file sizes to be installed on your handset.
While mobile apps do exist, these are usually of a smaller file size than what was used for download casino lobbies. Today, it is almost unheard of for a casino to not offer an instant play portal, and more so, a mobile version of their site.
There are fewer and fewer scenarios today where you would favour using a download casino over an instant play one. Many people don’t like playing casino games from their home computer for example, and find their work life provides a better opportunity to engage in a few spins of a slot or hands of blackjack. Obviously, downloading casino software to such work computers wouldn’t be looked on so favourably by management.
Do People Still Use Download Casinos Today?
Despite the fact that their availability has dropped considerably since the 90s and 2000s, download casinos can still be found operating online. In most cases though, these will be offered alongside an instant play version of the site, allowing fans of both versions to enjoy their preferred way of playing. It is prominent to note that it is often the case that download casinos do not feature the same number of games as instant play casinos.
Sometimes, the downloadable lobbies have a larger range of games built into them than the instant play versions and other times, it is a vice versa situation. Generally speaking though, it is the download casino lobbies that feature a higher ratio of games. Whether or not this determines which version of such a player will access is another question.
It can also be the case that some games are a lot better when played in download mode as opposed to instant play mode. To be sure that you’re accessing the largest range of such, why not check out both versions of an online casino lobby? See how many games are available in the download version as opposed to the web-based version. It’s our opinion that a larger collection of games to choose from is always better.
The Demand for Quality and Speed Takes Centre Stage
Many years ago, there was quite the stark contrast between the quality and speed of download casinos and instant play gaming sites. Yet, thanks to the increase in website technology, instant play casino sites have closed up the gap somewhat. A decade ago, it may have been more advisable to opt for a download casino rather than an instant play one, primarily due to quality differences.
However, since then, casino instant play sites have come quite a long way. And it is for this reason that most gamers tend to select instant play sites more so than download ones. They tend to be a lot more convenient.
The case remains that most casinos today remain active as instant play platforms. The majority of them have moved away from offering their lobbies in download format, simply due to the ease, speed and quality they can provide. And this is especially true when it comes to those who enjoy mobile gaming.
Poker Clients Remain Active in the Download Scene
Online poker rooms still provide downloadable clients for players to utilise in many cases, though. While this has little to do with casino gaming, poker players still have to go through the download of a client to their computer so as to engage in their favourite poker tables. There could be a huge reason behind this, though.
Poker games can frequently enter into the higher monetary levels. While playing on slot games may see a gamer place a bet of £2 for a spin, poker tables can experience bets of £20, £50 and so on, as the ante is upped. Imagine being in the middle of a game and seeing the instant play connection drop. Download poker clients tend to be a little bit more stable for players to access, and this is most likely why sites continue offering them to gamers. Whether or not the instant play versions of such will take over the downloadable sites in the future remains to be seen.
And clearly, if online casinos continue to offer downloadable versions of their lobbies, then someone must be using them. Potentially, these will also disappear into obscurity in due course, because instant play sites are just more convenient overall.