The online gambling industry has seen a huge increase in popularity in just a few short years. A number of factors have helped with this, from the end of the global recession, with more money now in the pockets of potential players, to the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, which has made online gambling more accessible and more enjoyable. Because of these increasing numbers, the industry has also moved forwards, doing its best to offer new technologies, new games and more. Online gambling is on the rise and the foundation of all online casinos, the slot machine, is receiving some of the most attention.
With that in mind, what does the future of online slot machines look like? What will these machines look like in a few years from now?
Multiplayer Slot Machines
There was a time when the only multiplayer you could find was split-screen, played with a friend or sibling. It wasn’t as good as single-player, but the competitiveness made up for it. This changed in the internet age, and soon companies realized just how big the multiplayer market was. These days, video games like Call of Duty, which are fairly cheaply made and are rushed out at a rate of 1 per year, make considerably more money by focusing on an online multiplayer model than single player games like The Witcher 3, which took years to make and cost a small fortune.
Everything seems to be going down the multiplayer route these days, and there is no doubt that slot machines will follow. In fact, the Playboy slot already offers multiplayer slot machine action. This game lets 5 players play at the same time, and if one of them triggers the bonus round, then they all enter it. The difference with this game and the direction that this industry is sure to take, is that there is no competition and no communication between those players. The slot machines of the future will likely pit player against player, offering scoring systems, chat dialogs and more, all of which will increase the competitive nature and will therefore get more people playing.
If the industry can work out how to setup a multiplayer system, whilst still raking in the cash and ensuring that everything is automated, then they will. They are probably already working on something like this and it will surely just be a matter of time before the first true online multiplayer slot comes into existence.
One of the issues with the current line of slot machines is that there is nothing there to keep players coming back time after time, and there is no incentive for those players to play for hours on end. This is not good for the casinos or the developers, because they want people playing their games for hours, rather than switching from one slot to another, and even from one casino to another, in a matter of minutes.
There are already games out there that offer some incentives. Monopoly Gold does this, offering Monopoly tokens and Monopoly money the more you play. This doesn’t mean a lot in the end, but there are other games that have opened up bigger and better bonus rounds to players that have played a lot. This is where the future lies.
Imagine a game where you build your own character, giving him a name, a look and even some abilities, much like you would in an RPG. Once that character is ready, then you can take him into the slot, unlocking bonus rounds and features as you go. The luckier you are and the more you play, the more you unlock and the better chance you have to win big. With a scoring system implemented, as well as a story woven through, slot machines could essentially become like console games. This is the sort of thing that casinos and developers dream of, because players could be playing and losing without even realizing it, and with no desire to stop.
As gambling becomes more open and widespread, online casinos will find their way into many sites, formats and devices. They are already available on mobile devices, but imagine real money slots on social media sites, imagine them integrated into standard apps and games. If you have money in your Apple or Google account and you encounter a slot machine as an advert in a game or app, then you could instantly pay to play. This sort of impulsive playing is exactly what the developers and casinos crave, and the systems are currently in place to make it happen. With Apple and Google being US companies, and with gambling so tightly restricted in the States, there will be some roadblocks, but if those are shifted then this industry will change overnight.
Imagine setting up your own online slot machine and making money every time someone plays it. This would be a huge step for the industry, but it is one that could happen soon. It could mimic the betting exchanges, whereby there are betters and layers, people betting money and people taking it. You could offer your own payout percentage or jackpots on a pre-defined slot, before waiting for other players to come along and play.
There could also be an app or a website that allows people to create their own slots, with their own designs and their own rules. From here they can setup these slots on a gambling community or even on their own website, raking in a little extra money on the side. This would be the online equivalent of sticking a slot machine in your pub, bar or hotel and earning a few bucks on the side, but it would require the online gambling laws to be a little more relaxed all over the world, and it might be some time before that happens.