When the industry thinks of slots, the first thing that comes to mind is gamification, RTP and volatility. Yet, there’s an aspect of slot engagement which can constantly be overlooked but is a historical – and critical – part of its entertainment…sound.
With the industry witnessing an influx in evolving features and mechanics, such as Megaways and cluster titles, it’s the sound of the reels spinning and jackpots ringing which has remained consistent.
In SlotBeats’ new video series, Now That’s What I Call Slots, we will put sound in the spotlight as we showcase the ways in which the music, background noise, scores and sound effects impact the player’s experience and elevate the overall engagement with the title.
In our first episode, James Ross, reporter for SlotBeats, was joined by Henry McLean – co-founder & commercial and marketing director at 4ThePlayer – as he discusses the company’s most recent title, 12 Trojan Mysteries.
“Normally when we’re looking at the slots and sound design we take a thematic approach to the audio but this time we thought we’d try something slightly different,” he began. “The beauty of 12 Trojan Mysteries is that it’s more Vegasy and a classic sound. It’s a sound that conjures up instant excitement.
“We put a bell in our first game with Six Wild Sharks and the players actually really enjoyed it. Streamers were like ‘woohoo the bell!’ and it instantly connected with them. We think it’s because it’s instantly recognisable. They know that when they hear it, they’re in for a good time. It also goes back to when you’re in a casino and the bell goes off. It’s that kind of excitement that’s creating the game.”
“This is also our first attempt at generic win sounds. We wanted to create something which the player would instantly recognise was ours. Others do it really well! I’m sure during lockdown people would recognise the Netflix ‘duh-dun’ sound effect a million times and straight away you instantly think about entertainment and fun and that you will be watching something good.
“We wanted to get that connection at 4ThePlayer that when you hear these sounds you instantly think this is from 4ThePlayer.”
Looking at the potential for innovation within sound, McLean expressed that it’s “actually quite hard to innovate in sound”. However, he believes that sound is a “really important element” which developers “don’t spend enough time looking at”.
When pressed on how 4ThePlayer tailors its sound to the players, McLean instantly responded: “It must not be annoying!
“The amount of times you open a game and it looks awesome, you’re excited about the themes and features and then you start spinning and instantly like ‘oh my god what is that sound’.
“I always play with sound on and if I don’t like the music, I will close that game. The first thing we do when developing the sound is we play it in isolation. We play the audio over and over again and think ‘does this grate on us or is it a positive earworm?’”
Rounding off the interview, Ross quizzed McLean on the ways that audio can move forward within slots, with the 4ThePlayer co-founder noting the advancements in technology being a key contributor in innovation.
He concluded: “One really good thing with audio and the future is that file size is becoming less of an issue. With 4G and mobile, and hopefully 5G penetration coming out, we can worry less about sound file sizes and increase the quality.
“The biggest thing with audio is the smaller the file size, the lesser quality.”