Themes, mechanics and player choice: Slots 2021

With just over a month to go until the CasinoBeats Summit takes center stage, we take a provisional look at what might happen to us on Day One Slot Machines 2021 Track.

To do this, we contacted three of the event’s sponsors, namely Scientific games, Funfair games, and Synot Games, to experience life after Megaways, an increase in skill game mechanics and the fight against the similarity of themes and features.

Continuing to offer their expertise in concluding a two-part special are Rob procter, content specialist director of SG Digital, Lloyd Purser, COO at FunFair Games, and Michael polak, Product Manager at Synot Games.

CB: We are seeing an increase in player choice and skill-based game mechanics that are being introduced in slots. Do you think it’s the future for developers to target the next generation of gamers?

deputy : Yes of course some games with their volume, features and graphics are very close to some computer games and some slots will offer skill based features so we can allow slots to be played for example by shoo-in. gamblers, poker players and so on. I also think that in the near future slot machine games will be associated with virtual reality.

PR: Being able to control one’s destiny within a slot machine game is a trend that is expected to continue. Players love the ability to determine how their free spins are played. It is increasingly common to have bonus rounds where players can choose their volatility, for example by lowering the number of rounds in favor of a higher payout multiplier.

“… the next generation of gamers has grown up consuming engaging multiplayer and social content”

Lloyd Purser

The betting option to get more free spins is also the favorite of many players, adding another layer of excitement to the proceedings. The developers are well aware that some players respond well to this type of feature and I’m sure we’ll see more concepts introduced in the coming months.

LP: Absolutely, the next generation of gamers have grown up consuming engaging multiplayer and social content. They don’t just expect this in their choice of casino, they demand it. That’s why the cornerstone of every title produced by FunFair Games is our “Active, Simple and Social” promise. We develop games that are simple, but require commitment and active decision-making to play, and with features you would expect from a multiplayer title.

CB: It could be argued that there is a similarity between the themes and functionality of slots, in what way, if any, is this hampering the industry? And what challenges does this pose to the development process?

PR: There’s a lot of repetition when it comes to game themes, no doubt, but that’s because the topics used continue to appeal to the majority of gamers. Classic themed games work best because they can easily be turned into a slot machine game.

For example, Irish folklore-inspired slots provide developers with plenty of opportunities to pass on winnings and build a storyline. The key is how to best advance this theme and make it relevant to today’s online audience.

At Scientific Games, we had a stellar first half of 2021 with several new major game releases, including Cluedo Cash Mystery, Rainbow Riches Race Day and 5 Treasures. These games all incorporate classic themes, but the main difference is that we have introduced new features and mechanics to offer something new.

“… it is very difficult to find a new game concept that has never been used before”

Michael polak

There are countless variations of our Rainbow Riches franchise on the market today, but they are all unique in their own way. The Race Day version is completely new with the inclusion of classic racing arcade mechanics. Evolving an existing theme with a new feature is what keeps the classic genre so engaging with gamers.

deputy : Yes, it is very difficult to come up with a new game concept that has never been used before. There are tens of thousands of slot machines for each commonly used theme. The Egyptian theme is perhaps the best known game for the game “The Book of concept”, which is owned by almost all game providers.

It is even more difficult to design and draw graphics in a unique and different way from the competition. There are so many lookalike games; however, I don’t think it’s bad for the business. A player can always choose what suits him best. We will certainly try to bring very new and original concepts to the market, even if it is very difficult.

LP: As with any form of entertainment, the cost of not providing new experiences can lead to loss of customers. Lack of innovation will hamper the industry and new customers will not be interested in old ones.

The challenge of creating something new is not easy, but those who innovate can reap the rewards with new customers and ultimately more income. However, it can also create more risk as you can’t be sure that a new feature will get customers excited.

Later in the development process, many great ideas had to be scrapped because distribution platforms simply cannot support these new ideas. So the development challenges are twofold, do you risk making a game that is untested and may not work, and the distribution platform itself can support it.

Find out more about the event at CasinoBeats Summit website.

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