Playing online slots is one of the nation’s favourite pastimes, with an increase in the number of people participating in the region of 11% for the last year 2015/2016 according to an article on the Business Matters website.
One of the reasons for this enormous increase in popularity is the vast number of online casino sites setting up, and the innovation of the latest mobile apps which mean that people can enjoy online gaming on-the-go. Add to this, the huge variety of games that are now available, and it almost completes the picture of why online gaming, and online slots, in particular, are trending so highly.
But to finalise the picture of online slots’ meteoric rise in popularity, you have to look at the slots or games themselves, and it’s all about something called “gamification.”
Gambling’s general appeal
Gambling of any kind has always held a fascination for people, whether we are talking an annual flutter of the Grand National, playing Bingo in Bingo halls or online, or visiting casinos made out of bricks and mortar.
The first “slots” came into being in the 1890s. There are two differing claims. The first is that the original device was created by American designer, Charles Fey in 1887. It had just three reels containing images of a diamond, a heart, a horseshoe, a spade, and a Liberty Bell; this last image being the one that featured in the machine’s name: the Liberty Bell slot machine.
The second claim puts the arrival of the first Liberty Bell machine back to the year 1891. In this claim, two guys called Sittman and Pitt launched a machine in 1891. It had 5 reels, each displaying 10 playing cards. It was based on Poker.
Early fruit machines and one-armed bandits
Regardless of which one is correct, it signalled the beginning of a new craze, which over the next few years, would spread around the world like wildfire. The early slot machines that appeared in the first part of the 20th century, used fruit as symbols, (A) because they paid out packets of various fruit flavoured chewing gums, and (B) to avoid gambling restrictions in the USA at that time.
“Fruit machines” as they were known, figured in all sorts of venues including seaside penny arcades here in the UK. Many people cut their gambling teeth on these machines as children on holiday.
It was 1963 before the next significant change in the evolution of slot machines came along – the first all-electronic slots. The playing arm (which gave slot machines their other well-used nickname (one-armed bandits) got replaced by a simple push-button start, and it became possible to put reels on hold, and employ subsequent spins, and nudges. These slots paved the way for the first video slots, where reels disappeared altogether to be replaced by electronic displays. Gamification as we now know it was about to get underway.
Gamification encompasses the addition of elements of game playing into other aspects of gaming. The sorts of things that this relates to are things like scoring points, levelling up scores and competing against other players. In terms of slots, conventional and virtual, Gamification is now something that players expect to be able to enjoy.
In recent years, the quality of the video images used in gamification has reached new heights. Playing slots at online casinos like MrGreen or free sites like Tuxslots is just like watching a real movie, including great soundtracks. It has taken gambling to whole new level.
It is not just the fun of winning money. It’s all about the player experience too, with gamification being able to transport you to a whole new, different world. The inclusion of mini-games within games and special bonus features, all serve to get players more deeply into the game.
Bringing interactive VR into the gamification process
It won’t be long now before online slots include interactive VR; indeed most of the major game designers are launching their first VR games right now, and if it catches on as fast as online gambling itself, it will be a sure-fire winner in more ways than one.