Video Game Slots: The Casino World's Next Big Venture
It seems like every generation has been the "computer game generation" in one form or another, but today's "millennials", as they're called, certainly have lives that are intertwined with video games.
Although console gaming figures might not be blowing up at quite the same rate as other technology, entertainment games have become engrained in the youth of today's psyche thanks to smartphones.
While it was once only possible to play games such as Sonic or Street Fighter using a game controller and a console hooked up to your TV, it's now the case that anyone with an iOS, Android or Windows device can download an app and enjoy a high-quality gaming experience on the go. Naturally, as video games have become a more accessible entity, their cultural influence has grown and, today, a number of industries are looking to get in on the act and exploit the popularity of video games.
Video Games Capture the Public's Imagination
by Florentino Luna
Indeed, from Hollywood directors to clothing manufacturers, everyone seems to have caught the gaming bug. One industry that's now considering a move into the video game market is the casino community. With online casino platforms such as 32Red looking to continue their recent growth and live casinos looking for new ways to attract younger players, video games are now being touted as the next venture for slot developers.
In fact, such is the push from public quarters that a recent article by Drew Harwell of the Washington Post suggested that turning slots into video games was not only desirable, but a must for some casinos. According to the latest stats, Canada's casinos are currently pulling in CA$258 million+ ($200 million+) per annum. However, a report by IBISWorld suggested the industry was facing an uphill battle.
Canadian Casinos Looking for Some Inspiration
Although online and mobile casino platforms in Canada, such as Red Flush, 32Red and Royal Vegas, have helped introduce younger players to the wonders of games such as blackjack, roulette and slots, more needs to be done to up participation rates. Canada's larger venues, such as River Rock Casino and Fallsview Casino, are still pulling in impressive numbers year-on-year. But, as new generations find alternative ways to entertain themselves, smaller casinos are struggling to fill the gaming tables.
One obvious way the industry could respond to this slump is to harness the popularity of video games. Having already bled the TV and movie world dry with thousands of themed slots, casino developers already have a blueprint for success. Indeed, games such as The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man have not only become huge hits with gamers due to their inherent jackpots, but because of their in-game features. From animations and sounds to embedded video clips and mini games, these themed slots have become complete entertainment experiences in the last few years.
Video Games and a World of Possibilities
Moreover, because TV shows and movies have an air of familiarity about them, it makes them more appealing for the casual punter. The same would also be true of video games slots. Classic titles such as Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog (see above) and Tetris would all add some interesting colour to the slots world. In fact, probably the most interesting possibility for video games slots would be the ability of developers to add actual games into the process.
Instead of creating standard bonus games where players choose mystery boxes, the developers could take clips sections from Super Mario or Sonic and turn them into a game. For example, every gold coin that Mario collects during the bonus round (while avoiding mushrooms, of course) would be added to your prize. Similarly, Sonic's gold rings could easily be converted into bonus prizes.
By fusing touch screen technology with classic clips from iconic games, slot developers could really capture a new demographic. In fact, whatever the live casino industry could do, the online world could also do. Inside the lobbies of 32Red, Royal Vegas and many others, you could easily incorporate video game-themed slots and even push the boundaries slightly further.
Virtual Video Game Slot Options
Angry Birds is already a popular mobile game and there isn't any reason slot developers couldn't link their products with existing apps. Instead of three bonus symbols taking players to another mystery box game, the game could easily switch a round of angry birds. Of course, this would take some complex licensing deals and slick software, but there isn't any reason why it couldn't be done.
Slots, whether they're live or online, have the potential become all things to all players and video games could be the next venture for the industry. As well as breeding an air of familiarity and interest, video games open up a world of interesting possibilities in terms of animations, embedded video clips and bonus games. Should video games become the next venture for slot developers? Without a doubt the answer is "yes".
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