According to Julian Jarvis, chief executive officer at Pragmatic Play, “we’re entering a new era” within the slot industry where, “for many players, there will be a focus on time on the device and creating entertainment through the duration of play.”
In the third episode of our SlotBeats Spotlight series looking into the year ahead, we asked our experts what we can expect to see in the slot industry in regard to innovation within slot features.
Julian Jarvis, Pragmatic Play: I think there will be more ‘metagame’ features at play outside of the basic slot gameplay. This will include things like tournaments, prize drops, achievements, races etc. Essentially, things to keep players engaged and entertained but that exist outside of the realm of each spin and their balance at the bottom of the screen.
This gamification of slot play will play an important role, and you can see the success it has in other spheres like console gaming or in-app gaming. Usually, the only metric of ‘success’ of a player’s time on the slot is the balance, but I feel this will change.
Lady Luck Games, CEO and founder, Mads Jørgensen: There’s a strong appetite from players, particularly streamers, for games that allow them to jump right into the action, bypassing the need to wait for a bonus feature to trigger.
Suppliers are sometimes challenged by rules and regulations where these ‘bypass’ features aren’t permitted, of course. But I think we’ll see a lot of studios finding creative new ways to bypass the bonus round without actually using the buy feature, whilst still keeping regulators happy.
I think we’ll also see the introduction of new mechanics and other features that make slots more exciting and closer to video games. Players now expect slot features to tie directly into the game’s story, furthering the narrative and giving them a sense of achievement and progression. It’s no longer enough to throw in a free spins bonus and leave it at that.
Vladimir Malakchi, CCO at Evoplay: In the world of entertainment, it’s always about gamification in all its forms as players seek a holistic gaming adventure within the same title.
Modern players are no longer surprised by classic free spins or combinations of symbols, therefore, they choose games that are rich in features so they can see the return on the slot and options for interaction, rather than just pressing the spin button and seeing the same screen.
Therefore, gamification methods such as tournaments, leaderboards, competitions, where players can compete and receive prizes outside the game itself, are a good solution.
Habanero’s head of business development, Arcangelo Lonoce: We can expect to see a few things happen in the industry in 2022, mainly thanks to the new regulations associated with responsible gambling. Requirements from regulators around the world are helping a natural transition towards slots operating in different ways to their predecessors.
Investing in the peripherals of slot products, such as the storytelling aspects and community features that help players to interact with each other, such as leader boards and competitions, often results in the creation of a healthy business model that can retain a healthy audience.
Mark Claxton, head of games at iSoftBet: With so many games being released weekly, providers are trying to find new ways to compete and attract more of the market share.
There will always be a core group of players who prefer the more traditional games, with well-known, popular themes and features, so taking these styles and building on them slightly is an attractive proposition.
There is always plenty of room for brand new concepts and innovations and I think we can expect to see plenty during the coming year, including some neat twists on the most popular mechanics.