Forget everything you thought you knew about slots – well, not quite everything
Slots have been around and a popular facet of casino play since 1887, when Charles Fey adapted a poker-based 50-card chance machine into the version of slots that we know today. That is, it paid out in coins. The fruit symbols came in 1907 and the rest, as they say, is history. But the popularity of slots doesn’t stand the test of time because they kept the machine exactly the same since 1887: as with everything, the only way to keep slots fresh and popular is by modifying them. Slots have had somewhat of a revolution of late, and that’s partly down to the way games developers are approaching the tried and tested favourite. So buckle up for the slots revolution!
Online slots – the increased return to player
Online slots are increasingly more popular because of the increased RTP – or return to player. The introduction of online slots allowed the RTP to rise to between 95% and 98%. That means for all the money taken, the developer only keeps 2-5% as opposed to most land-based casinos, who keep 20%. And due to market saturation, online competitors across the board followed suit and created a precedent across the board.
While classic slots can be played online, slot and casino game developers such as NetEnt and Microgaming have harnessed the power of motion graphics and have adapted the traditional game with animations to brighten up the screen. From dance to celebrate victories to avatars offering commiseration, the videos played alongside the slots gaming add a level of excitement that surpasses the physical world of the casino.
But to think like a successful slots developer, you first have to isolate those you want to play slots into separate groups. Research published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management indicates that there is no stereotypical slots player. There are the diehard fans who adore the format and wouldn’t appreciate too much meddling, there are the fair-weather slots fans who can be tempted into playing by modifications and revolutions, and there are those unfamiliar with slots, who could potentially become massive fans. By appealing to all three groups, the slots revolution remains balanced and each group is kept happy.
Slots aren’t just a game of chance either. For example, choosing multiple paylines to bet on for the jackpot requires logical thinking of how to approach placing the stakes, as this analysis of slots gameplay rules from Betway shows. The paylines can also be affected by scatters, wilds, and multipliers – all of which are necessary to understand in order to ensure the biggest winning combo. So, some skill and strategy is definitely involved (remember I told you not to forget everything you knew about slots!) Research by Gambling Compliance shows that the younger generations of slots fans crave skill in gameplay, so modifying slots to add a touch of skill may appeal to a new cohort of fans. The first wave will feature the standard hallmark of chance, with an added 60+ seconds of skill-based manoeuvring – not unlike the early PC games, as Fox News points out. With younger people on board, slots will continue to be developed into the modern day.
Themed slots and branded content for an enhanced experience
For the fans of slots who have been deemed fair-weather, brands seek to improve their slots journey by enticing them with a combination of slots gameplay and branded content and themes they respond to. A good example comes from game developer Playtech recently obtaining official licensing to develop exclusive DC comics iGaming content, including slots. This strategy can turn from a fair-weather slots player to an all-weather slots player.
Themed slots are increasingly attracting those unfamiliar with the game. These themes can span anything from crime themes – revolving around cops and robbers, beating the bank, or being involved in a heist (think The Italian Job) – to historical themes from Ancient Greece, to Egypt and the pyramids – which provides a great scope for Pharaohs and hidden treasure themes. Even TV and cinema can’t escape the slots treatment. Fans of Game of Thrones, Family Guy, or Jurassic Park – and almost anything in between – can settle down and immerse themselves further in their fandom with a fun game of slots to go with it. And don’t forget about the Motorhead slot we wrote about a little while ago, or
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
But to ensure the diehard slots loyalists are kept happy – the basics of the gameplay have to stay the same. Slots fans are slots fans for a reason and if the winning formula is changed, the game they love will have changed. By ensuring the constancy of the way slots are played, and even offering traditional slots options, diehard fans – the lifeblood of the slots community – will be appeased.
The continued success of slots for the past 130 years has been the fundamentals remaining constant, while the surroundings of the game adapt for whatever the modern day calls for.