Slot gaming now boasts a long and successful history with the first machine being constructed way back in 1894. And the hype shows no signs of slowing, but what form will online slot machines take in the future?
History of Slots
In order to understand where slots are headed, it’s important to grasp their history. A San Franciscan car mechanic, Charles Fey first developed the Liberty Bell gaming machine at the end of the 19th century.
Players could deposit a nickel, pull the lever and wait for the three reels to come to rest. If the same symbol appeared on all three reels, money would be paid out depending on the value of the symbols. The cracked Liberty Bell symbol represented the jackpot and awarded the patron with fifty cents.
The concept was an instant hit and within the decade, thousands of them had been produced and distributed across the country. By the late 1940s, several units derived from the same game were placed in the Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas by mobster owner Bugsy Siegel, initially as a way to entertain the wives and girlfriends of his high roller clients. Within the same year, the machines were turning as large a profit as the table games that the husbands were frequenting next door.
The mechanics of the physical slot machine remain largely unchanged to this day but in the 1970s the introduction of the first video fruit machines would revolutionise the industry. These machines required no moving parts, instead simulated the reels that slot machines enthusiasts had grown to love.
The Slots of Today
Nowadays, when playing slot games online at https://www.virgingames.com/, you’re enjoying a similar, if more sophisticated program as the primitive video slots that first made their appearance fifty years ago. The fact that these games are principally lines of code mean they can be distributed and run on any number of devices.
Your modern smartphones and tablets are more than capable of running dedicated slot gaming apps but often the games are processed on remote servers of gaming providers and accessed via a high speed internet connection – the spread of a reliable mobile data network made this possible.
Not only is there an increasing number of people playing slots, there are more of us that use gaming of some sort as a form of entertainment. The largest growth sector within the industry is that of mobile gaming but PCs and dedicated gaming consoles are also continuing to become more popular.
A large percentage of mobile games are categorised as casual games – ones which require short play sessions and little to no prior knowledge to pick up and enjoy. And as can be demonstrated by their popularity, slots games fit this description to a tee.
Modern slots titles have plenty in common with conventional video games. Hundreds of paylines, crisp graphics, involved animations and immersive sound design combine with exciting bonus features and minigames to create a compelling experience.
The Slots of Tomorrow
- Wearable Tech
One invigorating area of growth predicted to expand even further is the wearable tech phenomenon. Perhaps the most prevalent and easily adoptable example is the smartwatch.
Smartwatch sales continue to break records year on year as more of us see the benefits of being able to check our phones without having to take them out of our bags or pockets. App developers have begun to design software specific for the diminutive screen size of smartwatches but with the same functionality, and smartwatch games are becoming more common.
- AR and VR Technology
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be completely different from the user’s present surroundings. Often using a headset which projects a separate image to each eye, simulating a 3D environment, the experience is totally immersive, especially when combined with built-in headphones.
Some casino providers have already begun creating VR Casino experiences where players can move around a faithful or fantastical casino choosing which games they wish to play. Some have praised the technology for its social potential, patrons being able to interact with each other within the constructed worlds.
Augmented reality (AR) works slightly differently, instead adapting the user’s real world environment and seamlessly integrating virtual objects on top of them. Often the interface with an AR world is a screen or a pair of smart glasses. AR tech could see users installing virtual slot machines into their living rooms or hosting casino nights with their friends.
- Strategy Slots
Of all the traditional casino games, slots seems to have been accepted most willingly as a casual game by the general public. Several video games have adopted the slot machine mechanic into their gameplay, ‘Luck be a Landlord’ by indie developer TrampolineTales and ‘Coin Master’ – which has received over 100 million downloads – are two examples.
This trend is set to continue and developers looking to capitalise on the success of slots games will incorporate more involved strategy based decisions to the genre. A slot machine game in the future might play more like a traditional video game as people hone their skills and attempt to achieve high scores.
Online slots is an area of high research and development investment which often results in innovation. We’re more than excited to keep an eye on how the games will evolve over the next few years.