The history of slot machines stretches back about 130 years but not a lot changed during most of that time. Recent changes in the casino industry mean that this type of game has probably evolved more in the last few years than at any time in the past.
The Slots Hybrids
One of the fascinating aspects of current online casinos is that games can no longer be divided into traditional categories, as a new breed of hybrid games has emerged. In the case of slots, we can see them mixed with bingo to create games called Slingo where it’s all about trying to get winning lines on each spin.
Slots including Fluffy Favourites and Gonzo’s Quest are also used as the basis for some live dealer games where the reels are used in one or more of the rounds.
Another example can be seen at Paddy Power, where you can check out a game called Plinko Go. Created by 1×2 Network, it involves setting your bet level and then dropping one or more balls onto a series of pins. The balls then move downwards until they land on one of the prizes at the bottom, working in a similar way to the Japanese game known as Pachinko.
New Features and Bonus Rounds
Those hybrid games jump out at us, as we can see right away that they offer something completely different from the traditional slot gameplay and format on the original Liberty Bell slot that kickstarted the industry.
However, other online slots look familiar at first but once we start playing we see that they are different from other slots. This is because they’ve had innovative features or bonus rounds added to a fairly standard-looking game to create a new approach.
This trend possibly started with the rise of different reel formats. Rather than the typical setup with three or five reels and a fixed number of rows, the Megaways mechanism introduced an ever-changing layout where some symbols merged randomly on each screen. Other games then introduced locked symbols or expanding reels that give a different experience as you progress and open up more ways of winning.
We’ve also seen the introduction of cash collect rounds, as seen in different ways on games including Money Train 4 and the Fishin’ Frenzy series. With this feature, players grab the cash values seen on the screen during a bonus round.
The Future of Slots
Having looked at some of the big changes in the slots industry, it’s easy to imagine that it’s going to carry on evolving in the next few years. Part of the driver for these changes is that the market is growing rapidly as more game developers appear on the scene with fresh ideas.
This Yahoo Finance report suggests that the land-based slots market will be driven by names like Scientific Games and IGT, but many other operators are working online.
At the moment, there’s no way of saying how the next generation of slots will evolve in terms of layout and features. However, by keeping an eye on the latest releases, we can expect to see new games that change how we play.