Fri Feb 22th / Valentin Stanga / games


While the classic reels and lines have been described by some as passé, gambling is not likely to go anywhere. What’s more, help is on its way!

Whether you’re a casual gamer looking to have a good time or a serious esport fanatic, the iGaming industry has a slot for you.

If you started following the progress of the iGaming industry, you’ll know that there have been quite a few changes, upgrades, introductions and alterations to the sector. Simple retro slots were once the coolest of the cool until real life game play crashed the party. We’re spoilt for choice here on the world wide web, with optimum games delivered on a whim and increased user experience at the top of everyone’s list; we’ve got it good.

The game industry is alive and constantly adapting to change in crowd preferences; a factor affected by demographic and age gaps in entertainment forms and content. Due to this, slots developers’ gameplans have always been to keep evolving and updating the slots themes and gameplay. This way they stay attractive generation after generation, from baby boomers to ‘echo- boomers, and passing by generation X that we almost forgot.

Oldies but Goodies

For decades slot aficionados have had the luxury of choice. With themes, storylines and well-known characters flocking to the reels to entertain their avid followers in hopes of bagging a few extra coins – the selection of genres to try out are amazing!

Miss Kitty GameTwo slot themes that will probably never go out of fashion – Gems and Retro slots that appeal to older demographics, mostly because of the nostalgic tone they possess. If you’re looking for your next big obsession; give Juicy Ninja by 1×2 Gaming a try!

There are so many slot themes to look out for, from Animals and Wildlife to Arctic and Safari; all animal lovers flock to such slots with great anticipation and an eager goal to roll in some coin. Some Animal and Wildlife slots include Next Gen’s Gorilla Go Wilder while super Safari themed Stampede by BetSoft make for excellent escapes from the mundane city life.

Ancient History and Historical Figures featured in slots such as Viking Runecraft by Playn Go, together with Adventure and Explorer themes are great for the Indiana Jones lovers who fancy themselves some sort of Tomb Raider. IGT’s. Other themes appealing to a great range of gamers include the Fairytale and Fantasy slots where mythical creatures such as leprechauns or dragons swarm to the reels to entertain the players, as takes place in Playn Go’s Prissy Princess – a 96% RTP rated slot machine that tackles fantasy and medieval themes. This theme is mostly popular with female gamers who are living their fantasy through the princesses and knights on screen.

Generation X Factor

If we look at the stats, it’s pretty clear that revenue from traditional online slot machines is diminishing and as a result we are getting a glimpse of what the future of gaming has in store for us. In addition the demographic analytics show that the target market for slots is of an older age group – either because of the simplicity in ‘try your luck’ games or on the other hand, this might simply boil down to customer loyalty.

This is probably why the iGaming industry has given their slot interfaces a well-deserved facelift to help attract the younger adults to the world of slots. This was done by incorporating popular characters, themes and storylines to high res slots.

Pop culture has been on the tip of everyone’s tongues for eons now – the craze and appeal has only grown stronger in time. With commercial figures seen in popular TV Shows such as the Microgaming creating of Game of Thrones, fans can follow their favourite characters from their TV screen to their preferred gaming device. Other popular online slot machines that have taken inspiration from Hollywood include Reality TV themed slot, Judge Judy, brought to you by IGT as well as the Aliens Video Slot created by NetEnt. Some of these themes appeal to all demographics and help to create a bridge between the young and the old. Some others help game creators to appeal to more specific demographics, based on their cultural preferences, age and genre.

Figures like those from Movies and Comics, like Batman vs Superman from PlayTech, also find themselves as the main inspiration for themed slot machines – bringing superheroes to life with every spin of the reels. Let’s face it, everyone wants to have a superhero in their life; whether it’s an updated Clarke Kent or the the Man of Steel himself; comic book heros are universal.

Storytelling is also one very important aspect of the mass media pop culture that has made its way into slots. It has become a major factors in helping to attract a good fan base, allowing player to experience a degree of personal and emotional involvement. Jungle Jim: El Dorado by Microgaming has quite an interesting storytelling perspective where the explorer and adventure theme is exhausted throughout game play. This catches players’ attention and keeps them hungry for the big cash payout at the end of the game. We owe this devotion to home gaming consoles, where games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are blurring the lines between gaming and cinema.

It’s fair to say that gaming consoles also triggered an increased focus on the quality of graphics displayed on online slot machines. Here special effects developers work tirelessly to create seamlessly integrated features into the basic game play, while vibrant neon colours are added by game designers. Some legendary games with great graphics include Green Tube’s Gangster Paradise, NetEnt’s Jungle Spirit Call and Strolling Staxx as well as Everi Game’s Shark Week – a quasi-real life slot based on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week theme.

Millennials welcome

It is also clear that new industries will rise and soar, especially with the younger generations who are more inclined towards skill-based online games. The massive success of the esports scene did not go unseen by an iGaming industry looking at bringing Gen Y back into their games. Slowly but surely, some winning recipes from the newest launches in the gaming world are finding their place into slots.

Gone are the days of pure luck in spinning the wheel of fortune; new gamers are eager to show off their stuff in the new tactical slots where actual talent translates into higher ranking levels that of course help story development in the game progress according to user capabilities. Scores, rankings and other forms of gamification are also key points that new age gamers will take into consideration when choosing which online games to play. This is identical to home console game play where games unravel according to how far along you advance in the story. This leads us now to personalisation; another key when it comes to snatching younger gamers. They are used to altering their game character’s appearance, props and routes whenever the desire arises. Giving gamers the option to choose what happens in the game, even if it’s a slight alteration, means that their interaction with the game is further increased and highly anticipated.

Gamer playing at Game Championship

Gamers might even wonder where these changes influenced by the esports and the gaming scene might take the slots’ future gameplay. Green Jade Games Managing Director Benedict McDonagh can be seens as an advocate for a complete radical change. In a recent interview he commented, “I’m not saying we need to change the mathematical profile, of the hit frequency, but we absolutely need to get away from – for a specific audience – win lines and reels”. If you are curious to where this might be heading, Luckbox Chief Product Officer Boris Mihov’s recent interview on esports betting offers insights into what is cooking into the hashes of the now massively extinguished skin-betting scene.

All these top slots deliver high res graphics, seamless user play and an even deeper appreciation for user experience and return to player. Times are changing, so are expectations and rewards. So there you have it! There’s bound to be something to tickle your fancy; whether you’re an old-school gamer looking to line up some jewels or a straight outta The International Dota 2 esport champ aiming to score the winning shoot, there’s something out there for you.

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WRITTEN BY:Valentin Stanga