From the nineties of the 19th century to the nineties of the 20th century the slot machine hasn’t changed much. It stormed right through a century of remarkable technological progress without batting an eye. Slots remained mechanical, it kept its arm and reels spinning. But then came the internet and the slot industry woke up to life and achieved a remarkable feat of adaptation and transformation.
Slot games were among the first to appear online, already in 1996. And this is nothing to belittle. Think about it – for more than 100 years the slot industry had a sure thing going on. Everything was dandy, they had a firm grasp of light gambling in casinos and parlors, airports and bars. They were doing fine, thank you very much.
They could have easily missed the “internet thing”. Nokia has so missed the “smartphone thing” and they were the undisputed kings of mobile phones. The slot industry jumped on the internet like they’ve been waiting for it for the last 100 years. And their transformation to the online universe was extremely successful.
A New Era Of Slots Online
The move online freed the slot industry from the mechanical constraints. So many things in the game itself have evolved online.
First, the pay line. Online slots can have multiple pay lines, dozens if not hundreds of them, which makes the game so much more engaging. No longer you need to wait for the three cherries to align in the center. Now, with multiple pay lines, you can win simultaneously across different pay lines.
The second thing to change is the bonus round. Bonus rounds became a game-inside-a-game, with whole new graphics and settings, breaking the main Achilles hill of the slot game – the monotony. Now when you get a bonus round you also get a refreshing experience.
The third major development the internet enabled is the sheer volume and variation of games. Online slot sites are bursting with options. PrimeSlots, a leading casino slots site, hosts more than 250 slots games from leading game makers like NetEnt, NeoGames and more. Giving players such an immense selection to choose from is unusual in the online gaming universe.
The Power Of Community
One more thing the slot industry has smartly applied to its move online was realizing that beyond the actual games and platforms, what really drives success online is amassing a supporting network of websites that attract the community.
Such sites where players can get information, read reviews, interact with other players and sometimes even vent about site operators. Such sites have sprung all over and are now a major growth force for the online casinos. Take for example SlotSpinners, a site devoted to reviewing online slot games. A few years back you couldn’t even imagine a site that thrived just from dealing with online slots, but now SlotSpinners is a content hub for slot enthusiasts.
Slots Will Keep Evolving
So what the slot industry has in store for us for the early part of the 21st century? Two major developments are currently in the pipeline of the leading game developers.
One is skill-based slots. After realizing that it is failing to attract millennials, slot game developers tried to figure out why and came back with a definitive answer – the younger generation isn’t into chance, they want to have control over the outcome of the game.
Skill-based slots won’t abandon the element of chance altogether, they will integrate skill into the basic concept of slot. Players will need to demonstrate a skill like they do in “normal” gaming or fantasy sport games, which is de facto gambling though in disguise. This will take slots to a whole new level of interest and engagement, especially for the younger generation that is looking to be challenged in their gaming.
The Reality Of Slots In A Virtual World
The other major path the slot industry is taking right now is one of VR. It’s only logical, considering that the entire gaming and computing worlds are heading in that direction.
A virtual reality slot can go in any number of ways. It can create the casino experience, allowing players to “be” inside a casino while playing the slot game, either as part of a complete casino experience (where players can switch between the different games) or just single-game experience.
But a more imaginative direction can be to break down the slot experience and allow players more innovative ways of playing, like needing to spin the reels “by hand” or becoming a character within the gameplay itself, needing to jump from one reel to another in order to complete a pay line, or engaging in the storyline of the bonus round.
Either way, the slot industry is about to take another major leap. Would be interesting to see where it will land.