What Does the Future Hold for Slot Machines?

As technology continues to advance at pace, the online slot machine is enjoying similar innovation. We’re already seeing new ways of playing as game developers and the online casinos themselves recognize the importance of greater player immersion, interactivity and security. Here, we take a look at five trends that will impact the slot machine’s future.

Virtual Reality Changing the Gaming Environment

Virtual reality (VR), as it advances and becomes more readily available to consumers, will bring the live casino environment to customers in a more immersive fashion, moulding the traditional land-based casino with its associated physical interactions and a modern, digital platform that’ll likely become the norm, not the alternative. Already we’re seeing VR bringing casinos closer to gamblers through popular headsets such as PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear.

VR still has some way to go to recreate the live casino environment in an authentic way but as graphics continue to improve and hardware progresses to meet the demands of users wanting to enjoy an experience that realistically brings the physical interaction of traditional casinos to the digital world, gaming in future is likely to encompass such a platform. In fact, analysts believe that by 2021, bets made through VR will surpass $500 million.

Convergence Between Traditional Casinos & Mobile

We’ll see more integration between traditional casinos and online casinos as both experiences become more closely linked. Virtual reality and augmented reality, as a result of advances in affordable consumer technology, will help make casino gaming a more social experience, available at any time, anywhere. Mobile gaming will be more seamlessly introduced to the physical gaming environment through these methods with such things as rewards and mobile payments interlinking the traditional casino with the internet-based alternative.

Land-based casinos, struggling to keep pace with the abundance of new games available on online slot machines and unable to offer the immediacy of exciting bonus offers for new and reoccurring players, are keen to gain from the online boom. They want to expand their offering in new, creative ways because mobile gaming is predicted to dominate the market in the near future. Games will, therefore, need to be developed to take into account various devices, from the physical environment to the virtual reality one with AR and online-only adding to the customers’ choice. In future, a seamless integration across all platforms, combined with optimized big data solutions, will drive convergence.

Unique Opportunity to Revolutionize Through Strategy-Based Games

Casinos make their money because probability favors the house. But costs can be reduced through online platforms that don’t require traditional building rents, energy costs and staffing. That means games, including slots machines, could progress to include strategy as part of the fun, giving something back to the player and making the experience less about luck.

It makes sense that strategy games would be an attractive proposition, particularly for online casinos seeking new customers. That’s in part because would-be gamers may have played gambling games like poker and blackjack that merit the performance of skilled players. Instead of purely relying on luck, gamblers who can plan their moves will enjoy a greater level of immersion which could open up new markets for online casinos while increasing choice for long-time customers.

New Payment Methods

The rise of cryptocurrencies will have an impact on the online casino market. It remains to be seen how this will affect gambling but we’re already seeing casinos dedicated to such digital currencies as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The rise of digital cash is being witnessed all over the globe so it’s understandable that this will create disruption in online gaming because the transfer of money is so vital to its success.

Security will be a big issue and if digital currencies prove to be safer in the future, then online casinos may favor them over traditional payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal. Players who already use cryptocurrency when playing online casinos benefit from quicker withdrawal of winnings which is another benefit. Others prefer the anonymity of cryptocurrencies that, instead of asking for physical addresses, names and other personally identifiable information, allow players to play with far more privacy.

Live Gaming

Fast internet speeds and connected technology have revolutionized traditional video gaming by allowing players to compete with others regardless of their physical location. In the future, this could potentially impact online casinos in the way they attract new customers and the variety of games available. For example, live dealers have already been incorporated into the online casino environment which increases a player’s level of immersion and also brings the traditional land-based casino and online casino closer together.

Live technology continues to advance. Seeing what competitors are doing will encourage casinos to bring trends to market at a quicker pace, providing players with more choice, more quality, and more entertainment value. As the online slots machine swaps mechanical equipment for microprocessors, casinos can better evaluate risk based on a multitude of instant information including bet sizes, frequency of bets, the number of games played and the time a player plays, using such metrics to enhance overall immersion.

Online slot machines will progress in line with player demand and market growth. The future success of this gambling format will come down to how immersive playing will be as technology changes the way we interact with the casino.

Photo by: Lauri Vain

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