The new slot machines are becoming more and more like video games. Over the years, in fact, developers have made a firm commitment to updating these games and have understood that the only way to survive was to renew themselves. Thus was born the new technological era of the old “machines”.
What has contributed to the popularisation of online slots has been the increasing sophistication of the games, with greatly improved graphics, sound effects or the adaptation of famous TV series or Hollywood films.
Indeed, a game may be liked at the beginning, but in order to keep the user’s interest over time, it is necessary to provide it with new attractive features or functions.
What has changed in slot machines?
The realisation of significantly higher quality graphics is one of the trends that has transformed the world of online slots. In fact, much of the success of slots is due to the graphics component that distinguishes them and many slots make graphics their strong point. Moreover, from classic style to the most modern inspiration, there is a great thematic diversity in this world of gaming. All this translates into greater playability and reliability for players.
Take for example the bonus slots developed by casino games provider Microgaming who created and launched the “Tomb Raider” saga. The slot was so successful that it allowed the development of several chapters dedicated to Lara Croft.
Combining gambling with a passion for video games seems to be the best way to retain users and keep them active.
But what drives the gambler to prefer this type of slot machine to others? The psychological mechanism that drives players is called gamification. The application of gamification has been a real novelty in the world of online casinos and its impact and acceptance has been such that players have made it a favourite feature of their favourite game.
In particular, gamification in slot machines makes them even more attractive than they have traditionally been, as players can create users and avatars through this innovative process, and modify the different options offered by the game to suit their needs and tastes. Added to all this is the possibility of winning different prizes.
How a new generation online slot machine is designed
Online casino game providers, such as Novomatic, Netent or Playn-go, are constantly improving their slot machines and are introducing new products every now and then.
Modern slot machines, while retaining the basis of Fey’s invention, include a number of elements and features that make them a source of visual and auditory stimuli. Developers of the new digital machines try to theme them to suit players’ tastes with state-of-the-art graphics and jaw-dropping animations.
Building a slot machine today is no easy task. Several factors have to be taken into account and firstly, a budget has to be established to carry out the machine development project. Secondly, it is necessary to find the brand or theme from which the slot machine should be inspired. As mentioned above, software houses generally move away from the abstraction of the first models and try to prioritise the needs and preferences of the players by offering themes in line with their tastes. Sometimes, in order to find the most suitable theme, some manufacturers go so far as to partner with famous brands or film producers.
Once the theme has been chosen, it is necessary to think about graphics, game mechanics and mathematical algorithms. By mathematical algorithm we mean the Random Generator Number, a software programme used in both online slots and traditional slot machines, which is processed by the machine in order to generate the numbers at a particular time.
The technology that characterises modern slot machines has been greatly advanced by the random number generator. The RNG is considered to be the brain of the slot machine as it acts as a microprocessor quite similar to the one running in home computers.
Through this mechanism the producers set both the payout ratio and the hit frequency that will remain active over a long period of time.
They also set the near-misses or partial-hits, the number of free spins and the bonus payouts.
The case of Book of Ra
Book of Ra from Novomatic software is one of the most popular ancient Egyptian-inspired slots in the world. The deluxe version was created specifically for online players and for this reason it has been graphically enhanced. This slot comes equipped with 5 reels and 9 paylines and its main symbol is represented by the Book of Ra: besides acting as a wild symbol to substitute for all other symbols in the game, it activates the Free Spins bonus with free spins and expanding symbols.
The Book of Ra slot was especially successful due to the fact that it has been created to suit any type of player, whether beginner or expert. It also includes an “Autoplay” mode that allows a predetermined number of spins to be triggered automatically, without having to lift a finger. For users who want a more exciting gaming experience, a “Risk” option has been included through which the player will risk everything to double their winnings.
Book of Dead Slots
Book of Dead is another of the many slots inspired by the myths of ancient Egypt. Created by Play’n Go with a game system full of special features, it allows you to win prizes of up to 5,000 times the bet placed. It comes equipped with 5 reels and 10 paylines and winning combinations are achieved by lining up at least 3 identical symbols on adjacent reels from left to right, and on a single active payline.
It also includes special Wild and Scatter symbols. The former acts as a wild symbol to substitute for any symbol in the game and help the player make winning combinations. The Scatter activates the Free Spins bonus with free spins when it appears at least 3 times in any position on the reels.
In the meantime, it seems that the sector will continue to grow and the major casino game providers will continue to innovate and create new slot titles.