With so many exciting titles available for the PlayStation, it is easy to forget that there are a lot of different casino games that can be played on the platform as well.
Poker might seem like an unusual choice for a video game but there are a few good options for those who want to test out their skills on their favourite games console.
Pure Hold'em World Poker Championships is arguably the best known poker game on the PlayStation, with alternatives including Prominence Poker. There are general casino games available to buy as well, with The Four Kings Casino and Slots probably the most famous.
But there has been criticism of such titles, with some people claiming that having casino games available on the PlayStation could act as a gateway to real gambling and even addiction issues.
So should casino games be removed from PlayStation?
Casino games are increasingly a part of major titles
Banning casino games fails to take into account that a lot of big-name titles for consoles like the PlayStation have games like blackjack and roulette incorporated into them these days.
As an example, headlines were made around the world relatively recently when GTA Online added a casino into the game, even though players in many different nations were unable to access it due to local restrictions. The addition of the GTA casino was particularly controversial as it allowed players to use real money to play their favourite games. However, if they won, they only got the money back in virtual dollars and could not convert that back into cold hard cash.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 is another game that has a casino add-on that is popular with a lot of players. The addition of casinos into games such as this is seen as adding more realism and it is unlikely game producers would welcome any attempt to ban casino games from their titles.
The focus on casino games on PlayStation also appears to be misplaced. A bigger issue that the industry is going to have to get to grips with quickly concerns the use of loot boxes.
Belgium has become one of the first countries to ban loot boxes, which are often used in video games nowadays. The FIFA football video game series, as an example, is heavily dependent on loot boxes in its Ultimate Team game mode, which makes producers EA a huge amount of cash. It is not out of the question that loot boxes could be banned globally before too long.
Opening loot boxes - which can be purchased with real money - is essentially a form of gambling. Players who opt to buy them are gambling that they will receive an item that will be useful to help them progress or get better at the game.
What would removing casino games from PlayStation achieve?
On paper, removing casino games from PlayStation seems a sensible idea. Though titles based on gambling have age restrictions, there are no guarantees children will not get access to them and most would agree preventing young people from playing casino games is a good thing.
But the idea does not appear to be remotely workable in practice. Banning casino games from PlayStation would be considered a form of censorship that would be unpopular with the public. Controlling what type of games people can and cannot buy would likely be met with protests.
Removing casino games from PlayStation is also a very difficult thing to do considering the fact there are a number of titles that have been available to buy for a long time. Not to mention the games such as GTA Online and Test Drive Unlimited 2 that also include casino elements.
In all likelihood, all that it would achieve would be to annoy a large group of people from game producers to players and many others in between.
Reasons not to remove casino games from PlayStation
If casino games were to be banned from PlayStation, which does not seem to be on the cards, it feels unlikely that this would make any impact at all.
Even if Sony decided to remove games involving gambling it won't make a big of a difference considering an online casino is one click away on almost any platform. Many people like to play at online casinos as a hobby and banning similar games from PlayStation will not stop them. Indeed, the browser on PlayStation can even be used to play your favourite casino games.
In fact, an argument could be made that having casino games on PlayStation is actually a good thing. These games allow people to play their favourite games like poker or try out casino classics such as blackjack and roulette, without having to risk losing any real-life money.
With land-based casinos around the world also shut at this time due to the coronavirus crisis, PlayStation casino games offer an excellent alternative for people who cannot visit them. Games like Prominence Poker offer more than a chance to gamble virtual cash as well, with an immersive storyline taking players through the criminal underworld at the same time.
The Four Kings Casino and Slots is also free to download from the PS Store, so players who want to give it a go do not even have to pay any money to play their favourite casino games.
Removing casino games from PlayStation is unrealistic and the idea simply would not work.