How Slots are Being Designed for New Generations

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3D image of a slot machine with a lever and the word ‘future’ spelled out on the reels.
BetMGM Nov 10, 2021, 2:27 PM

It’s no secret that the world has changed rapidly over the past year or so, including when it comes to the development of online casino games. Historically, slot machines have driven the most revenue on land-based casino floors, but the growth of gaming technologies means that online slots can also bring more variety and accessibility. 

There have been many innovations in graphics, paylines and bonus features, but research suggests that there’s still room for growth when appealing to new generations of players. In this article, we investigate some of the ways developers are approaching how they create these types of games. This includes appealing to a broader audience, moving towards skill-based games and embracing technology.  

Appealing to a wider audience

According to a study by San Diego-based Game Changing Technologies (“GCT,”) slots are typically played by an older demographic who prefer the predictability and simplicity of the types of games you’d normally find on a casino floor.

However, this research shows that the up-and-coming market is underserved, namely Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z players. This study didn’t include online slot machines, but we can surmise that, in general, there is room for expansion when it comes to creating the best online slots for a wider demographic too. 

Moving towards skill-based games

You only have to look at the growing success of video games and esports to know that gaming is an integral part of many people’s lives. Technology has evolved to the point where players can feel like they are taking part in a story, where they have a chance to test their skills, compete with others and perform tasks within a team.

If you like to play slots online, you might prefer to sit back and relax, rather than shoot your way through an RPG. Nevertheless, casino gaming is no longer a passive experience where players have no agency in the outcome of the gameplay. This desire is even evident in casino slot games, where the outcomes are designed to be random (except in pick-me bonus features and other gamified features in specific titles.)

So to capture an emerging market’s attention, there needs to be a shift in how these kinds of games are designed. While there’s an understandable concern that these games might not be fair if the outcomes aren’t entirely random, there are creative ways to introduce fully interactive features to engage more users in the long term by introducing elements of skill. 

Examples of skills-based games include the slot version of Pong, which Bally Technologies developed in agreement with Atari. This game brings all of the interactive elements of the successful arcade game to the reels (with a chance to win real money!)

Embracing technology

We’ve already seen a significant shift in how land-based and online slot machines are designed, with the introduction of more skill-based and video game-type elements (which we’ve touched on above.)

But apart from adding interactive elements to games, the evolution of audiovisual technologies, like VR, means that the entire experience of all types of casino games could be different in the years ahead. This could attract players looking to do more than just sit (or stand) and stare at a screen, even if they get to do it from the comfort of their own home or while lying on the couch. 

Most video slots have been optimized for mobile, making them more accessible to a wider market. But what if you could put on a VR headset and step right into a theme from one of your favorite slot games, and interact with all of the elements in a more “real” way? 

If you look at the popularity of live dealer games, it doesn’t seem that hard to imagine that it could be possible to develop live experiences for slots and other casino-inspired games too. For example, imagine being able to venture into the jungles in NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest, or take a seat next to IGT’s Cleopatra while overlooking the pyramids? 

It might seem a bit far-fetched, but it’s exciting to think about all of the possibilities that could come from interacting in a virtual environment and having some agency in directing the outcome of a game. It’s undoubtedly a giant leap from sitting passively pushing buttons behind a screen!

Enjoy the latest slot games at BetMGM

Whether you prefer to keep it simple or like the idea of taking a leap into fantastical or historic landscapes when you spin the reels, we have all kinds of casino slot games on offer at BetMGM. 

While we might not be able to take you virtually into the South American jungles, or to ancient cities along the Nile (just yet,) we can offer you an immersive experience with our range of real online slots — which include all kinds of mesmerizing bonus features. We can’t say precisely how games will evolve in the years ahead, but we know that interactive gameplay is the future. All you need to do to join us on the journey is register to play!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.