Slots are games of chance that are the gambling industry’s cash-cows. That goes for both of its segments, land-based and digital. Their name derives from the openings in physical machines used for inserting and retrieving coins.
In 1891, Sittman and Pitt of New York came out with the device that started this genre, a poker-based contraption that utilized five drums, held fifty cards, and featured no direct payouts. In 1895, Charles Fey of San Francisco devised a more straightforward mechanism with only three reels and five symbols. He called his invention the Liberty Bell, and it went on to become the most established gaming product on casino floors worldwide. Particularly since the development of the first fully electromechanical machine by Bally Industries in 1963, titled Money Honey.
In 1994, online casinos became a thing, and Isle of Man’s Microgaming was the first to enter this field, with other competitors quickly following suit. Today, the list of the best slots casinos is vast, with developers constantly looking for ways to push the envelope and meet rising player expectations. Below we look at some recent innovations in this game genre.
Virtual Reality Slots
In 2016, everyone thought that VR technology was going to take the video game sector by storm. At that time, Facebook came out with the Oculus Rift headset, and HTC put out the VIVE, which it co-developed with the Valve Corporation. In the interactive gaming space, Microgaming again proved itself a pioneer by creating VR roulette. Nevertheless, it did not find mass distribution, and VR gaming never took off as predicted. Thus, everyone thought that the use of technology in iGaming was dead for the foreseeable future.
Now, Swedish juggernaut NetEnt is attempting to incorporate VR into its arsenal by pairing it up with one of its most established releases ever, Gonzo’s Quest. The VR Edition of this ever-green will hit gambling platforms on the 25th of April and provide a blend of old-school slot gameplay fused with new graphics and 3D environments. Some analysts expect that if this experiment proves successful, it could kick start a slew of VR iterations of popular slot titles from other top providers.
According to polls, young people have little interest in playing games where they have no control over the outcome. Thus, casino-style gambling remains an older persons’ activity. Since operators know this, they are now trying everything they can to entice new demographics to set sail on their gambling adventure.
Their most notable experiment in this endeavor is the introduction of skill-based slots. Titles, where expertise leads to better results, are nothing new on the land-based side. Nevada and New Jersey introduced legislation to regulate such products at brick-and-mortar venues in 2016. However, it took four years for developer GameCo to receive approval to feature its products online to New Jersey residents.
Offshore sites have hosted skill-based slots for years. These games are not your classic reel-spinners, as they do not feature any reels at all. Instead, they usually utilize shooting mechanics. Betsoft’s Max Quest series is the most known example of this genre in the digital sphere, as are fish table simulators, such as RTG’s Fish Catch.
Given recent developments, it is reasonable to expect that most developers will look to take the skill-based plunge. The 25-34 demographic is crucial, and people that fall into this age-range have grown up playing complex video games. Thus, pressing a button and watching symbol combos form does little to appeal to them.
Slots on Wearable Devices
According to info available on Statista, the number of connected wearable devices will cross the one billion mark in 2022. Grand View Research projects that the US market alone should almost double in size by 2027, growing at a rate of 15.9% per year. The consultancy firm lists the popularity of the Internet of Things and rising concerns for chronic illnesses as the two leading causes for this occurrence.
Smartwatch casinos do exist. They first got unveiled in 2014 at the Mobile World Congress. Yet, since then, these devices were in their infancy, the experience on them was less than stellar, and the number of such platforms was non-existent. In the coming years, the industry expects to expand into this sector, allowing users even more ways to access their sites and enjoy reel-spinning action.
To Wrap Up
Slots are simple-to-play games that provide attractive payouts. They are responsible for over 70% of all casino revenues and are the preferred gaming option for most newbies. Even though their format is quite restrictive, developers are expanding it by introducing new technologies and gameplay mechanics to the genre. Soon, VR slots should become more commonplace. Also, expect to see more female-oriented titles and ones where skill plays a factor.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.