Artificial Intelligence may present a threat to innovation within the slot sector according to industry experts appearing at CasinoBeats Summit last month.

Host Craig Davies, Senior Media Manager at SBC Media, was joined for a discussion on the topic of slot innovation by Shelley Hannah, CPO at Relax GamingBrett Archer, Director of Games at Ballys and John Romero, Game Director at Romero Games.

On the topic of AI, Archer said that he was concerned about seeing “more games that are the same” with an increasing use of AI from developers.

Archer added: “Everyone is looking into AI in some sort of shape or form. It’s going to be easier for AI to understand existing games and mechanics and potentially the math behind it as well. The concern for me is that we are going to be seeing more games that are the same and more that’s very similar that’s AI created.”

The panellists did not just discuss the negatives of AI and Romero expanded on how the technology can be used to aid player retention.

“AI is going to be great for player retention and trying to predict when a player might stop playing,” explained Romero. “It’s going to be integrated as part of the machines and it’s going to be there to crunch date and try and predict what players are doing and when they might leave, when they might spend.”

The panel then moved on to discussing what slot designers could learn from the video game industry, especially focusing on how the design of games has had to change as consumers begin to prefer to use smaller devices such as phones.

Hannah said: “I think more and more of us are moving away from using desktops and mobiles are getting more and more powerful. I think we can continue to keep up with infrastructure and continue to design more. We’re getting smarter at designing games in a smaller [device]”.

Romero also suggested that there could be scope for slot games to be run from a remote server and streamed to a device rather than the user having to download a large amount of data to play.

Later on in the talk, the trio of panellists turned their attention to jackpots and debated the merits of larger jackpots that pay out less compared to smaller jackpots that fall more regularly.

Hannah started by saying that if you look at the jackpots available you will see “that the most advertised jackpots are the largest jackpots out there” however she questioned whether this was a good thing.

Hannah explained: “Certainly from our point of view, we decided to go for a reasonable-sized jackpot that would fall more often, that players wouldn’t have to wait 12 to 14 months to fall. And it would be hot a good amount of the time and I would say the future in my viewpoint would be that maybe players become less greedy but like the idea of the fallout more regularly.”

Archer agreed and he said from his own experience he would never play a slot that offers a jackpot in the millions if he can win a smaller amount that drops pretty often.

Towards the end of the talk, the panel took questions from the audience and one of the questions asked why they thought VR gaming has struggled to take off and if there is still potential for VR to be incorporated into traditional gaming and slot games.

Romero said: “I didn’t think VR was going to take off at any time. People are all about minimum input for maximum output. VR demands the opposite. It’s like exercise and people just don’t want to do that.”

“You don’t like the fact that you’re in a space that you can’t hear what’s going on in the room and you can’t see anything outside of the view. People feel shut off from the world and people aren’t used to being shut off from the world that way.”

Hannah agreed and said that “slot games are not ready for VR yet” and it’s “not a comfortable setup”.  

Hannah added: “I’ve always said it a bit in the future. Right now the technology isn’t ready and I don’t think the players are ready for that kind of setup just yet.”

You can watch the full panel, titled Tomorrow’s jackpot: the future trends of game/slot design by clicking here.