The rise of online slots has been based entirely on the rise of the technology which powers those slots. From the earliest days of mechanical slot machines to the latest Virtual Reality developments, the developers of slot machines have always taken advantage of the latest technological developments in order to push the entertainment value of what was being offered.
It’s this entertainment factor which marks the key difference between slots and other forms of online gambling, and in the use, which is made of cutting-edge technology. When it comes to online casino offerings such as poker or roulette, the technology is used purely to deliver as lifelike an experience as possible. In many cases, this means actually facilitating players joining live, real time casinos with flesh and blood dealers from the comfort of their own sofas via laptops, smartphones or tablets. The experience the player is looking for is routed strictly in the gameplay, and in the degree to which it enables players to utilise the skill they can bring to the game in question. In the case of online slots, on the other hand, the entertainment factor is very much the key to the experience. Put simply, online slots are designed to be fun to play, and any notion of having a strategy via which to take on the random number generator powering an individual slot is actually somewhat far-fetched. By all means, read up on the terms and phrases you’ll be faced with when you start playing slots, but anything more complex in strategy terms is pretty much a waste of time.
There are exceptions to the notion of online slots being purely entertainment-based, of course, with progressive slots offering the chance for players to try and win life-changing amounts of money. Even in the realm of non-progressive slots it is possible to win sizeable jackpots, but the design and gameplay of most online slots merely underlines the fact that they are designed to be entertaining to play. Themed slots based on favourite films and TV shows are common, as are those which spin off from comic book characters, rock groups or ancient mythology. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a theme or setting which hasn’t been used as the basis for an online slots game, and that’s because many people are attracted as much by the gameplay and theming as by anything else. Recent innovations include the addition of video game factors such as levels, leader boards and in-game maps in online slots, and another example of the degree to which slots embrace the latest technological developments is the role which the Internet of Things (IoT) has played in their development.
The IoT explained
The IoT refers to the way in which increasing numbers of electronic devices communicate with each other across local and even global networks. The classic example which probably springs most easily to mind when considering the IoT is the fridge which orders some more milk from the supermarket when it notices you’re about to run out. The key to the development of the IoT is that it removes a level of human interaction from the equation. In the example given above – the fridge and the supermarket – one machine is communicating with another without a human being having to intervene at all.
The latest advances in the IoT are driven by the increasing computing power of even the smallest devices and the faster broadband connections becoming available as newer and more efficient systems are introduced on an on-going basis. Think about the fact that you can now turn your heating on using your smartphone on the way home, or access health and diet statistics uploaded to a server from the fit bit you wear around your wrist and you’re thinking about the IoT in action.
The same advances in technology which have driven the rise of the IoT have helped to drive the growth seen in the online gambling sector in recent years. According to a report published by Zion Market Research in 2018, the global market in online gambling was worth $45.8 billion in 2017, and this figure was predicted to rise to $94.4 billion by 2024, a predicted growth rate of 10.9% per annum. The sheer size and pace of this growth has been driven, more than anything else, by the increasing ease of mobile access and the way in which game developers have been able to gather analytic data to help shape the gaming experience to make it more attractive to players. The technology behind the IoT has already had a major role to play in this growth and, as machine to machine communication grows in scope, depth and complexity in the next few years, it can be assumed that IoT factors will come to be even more influential in the slots that developers create.
One of the more easily predictable outcomes of the intersection of the IoT and slots is the personalisation of the slots experience. Every device a player uses to access mobile slots – from smartphones to tablets and laptops – is packed with sensors capable of tracking how the player interacts with the game they’re playing. There is, of course, a balance to be struck between the privacy of a player and the chance to enjoy a personalised experience, but experience has taught us that consumers of all types are willing to forgo a certain amount of privacy in return for a better experience. A recent report by researchers Vanson Bourne found that 71% of 22 to 35 year olds would be willing to share personal data in return for better TV content, while other research by Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association reported that 63% of consumers were willing to share their data in return for benefits such as exclusive deals and offers targeted at their personal interests. The same logic will apply to the development and marketing of online slots, with the technology of the IoT used to gather the data needed to shape an ever more personal offer. Given sufficient transparency on the part of online casinos and game developers, it’s easy to foresee a future in which the version of a game which a player enjoys is unique to them, with everything from the theme of the game to the style of graphics and the type of bet they can place. All of that and you can even turn your central heating down in between spins of the reels, thanks to the impact of the Internet of Things.