As seen on slotbeats.com
Simon Hammon, CPO at Relax Gaming, discusses video game-style slots and whether the novelty of video games/movie-based slot games has worn off. Hammon also asks whether the interests of casual players has shifted as a result of customers becoming more knowledgeable on slot mechanics and features.
Ever since HTML5 became ubiquitous and device technology powerful enough to cope with heavy decorative features, videogame and movie-inspired slots have become the style of choice.
Around five years ago, they were widely celebrated as a significant step forward in content innovation. Now the possibilities are even greater, with videos, trailers and features easily worked into the design without resulting in lag. But are these games still sought out by players today?
Indeed, the flashier slots are not everyone’s first choice. To more serious players, the additional fluff around the main game creates annoyance rather than entertainment value. Their motivation for playing a slot game is an appreciation for the core mechanical features and win potential, not the aesthetic trimmings.
The videogame style of content might have piqued their interest when it first came on the scene, but since the novelty is sure to have worn off some time ago, these games will most likely be avoided by enthusiasts looking for big wins.
So, what about casual slot fans? To some extent, these players care less about making money and more about putting their feet up and having a good time. They might like trying new games based on characters and stories, enjoying the additional visual elements that add to the narrative and elevate the experience beyond the slot fundamentals.
What we currently perceive to be common traits in casual players are shifting. Whereas low volatility used to be the game format of choice among this segment, there is now a crossover on features and mechanics that formerly would only appeal to very different player segments.
Games with less fluff and more complex mechanics have become more accessible with streamers showcasing where the actual entertainment value lies without the player investing their own money.
They can view a game and perhaps its key features before they decide if it’s one they might like in the same way that video gamers have been able to for years. The quality is better, as well as chat and interaction. That’s not to say, however, that they no longer look for the added entertainment value of video game style content.
There’s also middle ground to be explored that concerns the player that sits in between. Creating titles that have just the right amount of embellishment without overdressing the primary action could be a real crowd-pleaser for those who play for money as well as leisure. As is often the case in game design, striking the right balance takes time, effort and a lot of experimentation.
Beautiful game features still have their place, but suppliers need to consider what value they bring to the target end-user. High-rollers and more serious players might not appreciate the distraction but that’s not to say that the more casual player doesn’t still have a tendency towards games with nice visuals and animations, even if they cause some level of interruption.
With every player profile, understanding their behaviour and how they interact with different styles of content should be a consideration throughout the game development process.
It is possible, of course, for a single game to appeal to multiple audiences with bonus round buy-ins becoming increasingly common in certain markets. But the target audience needs to be at the core of every decision made and suppliers shouldn’t aim to please all.
A successful title, whether it takes its inspiration from classic video games, modern gaming hits, or even movie style animation, has to tap into the specific preferences of the players for which it is intended.
As technology progresses even further, we could even see the development of innovative aesthetics that usher in an entirely new style. However, as room to experiment in this area broadens, it’s important to remember the basics that make slots a quality form of entertainment.