How Digital Art Is Changing Graphics in Online Casino Games

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A person drawing a cactus with a window and a door using a stylus on a digital art tablet.
BetMGM Jul 17, 2023, 7:23 AM

Regardless of whether you use a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, when you play your favorite online casino games, you get to enjoy games with gorgeous graphics. These incredible images and animations are a vital part of the modern iGaming experience and have had a major impact on players’ enjoyment. But these games haven’t always looked this good. Digital art, and its transformation through technology, are now allowing game developers to create much more engaging visual experiences. 

Read on to learn more about the journey of digital art and its influence on graphics in online casino games.

A Brief History of Digital Art and iGaming Graphics

Today, many online casino games are crafted with high-fidelity graphics that are incredibly eye-catching. However, casino game graphics haven’t always looked this way. One of the first online gambling experiences was called IRC Poker, and it didn’t even have any graphics. It was hosted on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) chat network in the early 1990s, and was entirely text-based. Even centuries-old slot machines had pictures for their symbols, but this text-based gambling experience found its niche amongst IRC users.

While there were game consoles and computers capable of producing simple but engaging graphics in games, the technology had not yet caught up to make this possible online. By the mid-1990s, the first online casinos and online poker rooms had launched and offered players a way to play their favorite casino games online. However, the visual experiences of these virtual casinos and poker sites were still very basic. Not only was graphical computing power quite limited, but internet connection speed was also incapable of providing the bandwidth needed to run more visually engaging online casino games.

However, this wouldn’t be the case for long. New and increasingly powerful computer processors and graphics cards started to be released at a rapid rate. As computer and internet hardware improved, so did digital art tools like Adobe Photoshop, Blender, and Autodesk Maya. Digital artists and game developers embraced the potential of new hardware and software, and used it to provide gamblers with even more visually engaging experiences that rivaled the graphics in the traditional gaming industry. 

But none of this would have mattered if internet connections couldn’t keep up. Thankfully, advancements were also being made on this front. By the early 2000s, broadband connectivity started to become more affordable and accessible, and when the early 2010s rolled along, internet speeds that people could only dream of a decade earlier became commonplace.

The combination of computing, internet, and software advancements freed casino game developers from the restrictions that had previously held them back. These new technologies allowed them to craft digital art that didn’t just abstractly represent certain objects or items but allowed them to create new worlds and new experiences for online gamblers to enjoy. These advancements completely changed the role of digital art in online casino games.

The Role of Digital Art in Modern Online Casino Games

Today, digital art offers more than just graphics for you to interact with. Digital art creates visuals that serve multiple purposes:

1. Catches a Player’s Attention

The first image of an online casino game that you will often see is a thumbnail illustration with the name of the game. While it might be tempting for an artist to just churn out any piece of digital art for a thumbnail, these images are shown alongside dozens, if not hundreds, of other online casino game thumbnails. This highly competitive space highlights how important it is for the digital artist to craft an eye-catching thumbnail that stands out. 

The idea that digital art is also important for catching a player’s attention is just as important to other game-related images, such as banners, posters, and even in-game visuals. Before you ever tap the Spin button or place a bet in an online casino game, digital artists at casino game development studios have to make sure that you choose their game over all the other options. 

2. Gives an Impression of the Identity and Quality of the Game

The digital art and graphics of a game also give an impression of what it has to offer. For example, a game with visuals of rhinos or buffalos is likely to offer an adventure experience. The digital art and graphics can also give you an idea of the quality of the game. If a visual from a game is of poor quality, you might assume that the game experience is of poor quality as well. Even though you’ve likely heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the reality is that many people do exactly that. Or in the case of casino games, they judge it by its thumbnail or banner image. 

3. Helps Create the Game’s World

As previously touched on, a casino game’s visuals can give you an impression of its identity. If a thumbnail has a werewolf on it, you’d expect the game to have a horror setting. If a banner has a pirate, you’re likely going on a seafaring slot adventure. Or if a poster has a famous character from a movie, the game is likely to be based on that movie. 

But once you get beyond your initial impression, digital art helps define the entire world of your game. Background graphics show the setting, while symbols, animations, and even interface elements all contribute to the metaphorical space in which the game exists.

4. Tells a Story That Enhances Player Immersion

The graphics created by digital artists can also play an important part in telling a casino game’s story. While this might be in subtle ways, for example, through animations or even background design, it can also be in more overt ways.

For example, some online slots have included introductory video sequences that tell a story that draws you into the world of the game. This might be a short sequence with a panda warrior leaving a bamboo forest and discovering a village, or a brave explorer navigating a dangerous jungle while searching for ancient ruins. Whatever the actual content is, when used well, it can help players better connect to the game.

5. Creates Fun and Excitement

Digital art can also be used to elevate the experience of an online slot. Well-designed symbols and artfully animated game elements will boost overall player enjoyment. 

Imagine for a moment that you land a winning combination in an online slot. A simple message could appear telling you what you’ve won. Or you could be treated to fireworks and bright lights while numbers rapidly spin until they finally come to a screeching halt on your total prize value. This is just one example, but the art in a game can be used in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to enhance the atmosphere of a game and ensure you have a good time.

The Future of Digital Art in Online Casino Games

While modern art tools have removed constraints on digital artists, new technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), is once again changing the way casino game development studios create art.

While AI has been quietly working in the background in online gambling for many years, new AI art tools have exploded onto the scene. These tools enable artists to create visual assets that would normally take them hours, in mere seconds. Even though some have responded negatively to these computer-created images, there’s no denying that, for better or worse, AI will completely change the way digital art is created for the online gambling industry.

Play Online Casino Games With the Best Graphics

While talking about the best graphics in slot games and other iGaming experiences is one thing, getting to experience it is another. At BetMGM Casino, you can find a wide range of casino games that offer amazing visuals, thanks to the masterful use of digital art. Some of these titles include:

Enjoy Great Game Graphics and More at BetMGM Casino

When you play casino games online at BetMGM Casino, you won’t only find gambling experiences with the best visuals but also games that offer incredible thrills and the possibility of big wins. When you sign up to play, you can try your luck with online slots, table games, variety games, live dealer experiences, and many other great games of chance. 

Not only that, but you’ll also have the chance to take advantage of great bonuses, such as the Welcome Bonus, as well as the BetMGM Rewards loyalty program, which rewards you with points that can be redeemed for various benefits online and at MGM-affiliated resorts and casinos.

If you’re ready to enjoy the best that iGaming has to offer in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia, then it’s time to register at BetMGM Casino.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.