Top Features Used To Make Compelling Video Slots Games
For anyone in the business of creating games to play online, the art of making a game compelling and sticky is key to success. There are many ways to do this, from choosing an engaging theme to features like gamification. One industry that has perfected the art of creating truly compelling content is online gambling, and in particular, the video slot vertical. The competitive nature of the industry and the large potential profits mean game studios are willing to invest massively in the very best talent with the aim of creating top quality games that players will return to again and again.
But how do they do this, and what features do they use to keep their customers coming back for more? Here we take a look at 5 ways game developers make video slots more compelling.
Artwork and Soundtracks
All great online games start with a good theme from which great artwork can be produced. And this is as true for video slots as it is for any other type of game. Slots come in all shapes and sizes with themes including everything from Ancient History to Sci Fi, Music, Movies, Art, The Supernatural, Steam Punk, Vegas, Macau, The Wild West, and anything in between. Game developers have utilised these themes to create great gameplay underpinned by superb artwork. Great examples are the slots produced by Sweden’s Quickspin, like the recent Sticky Bandits 3 Most Wanted, or Big Time Gaming’s Danger! High Voltage. The latter is notable for its stunning soundtrack too and is a great example of where a game studio licenses a famous piece of music to make a memorable and fun gaming experience. Other examples are NetEnt’s Guns n Roses slot and Big Time Gaming’s The Final Countdown.
Artwork and soundtracks, delivered at key moments in the game, are excellent ways to make a game more engaging. But they are just the start.
Once the pride of social gaming, Gamification features have found their way into all areas of online entertainment, now including video slots too. The most common use is as a means to unlock further stages or features of the game. Fantasma Games’ Heroes Hunt is a typical example of this where unlocking fantastic characters gives players access to enhanced gameplay like free spins rounds and expanding wilds. Incidentally, gamification is also used by casinos in their loyalty programs as a way to keep their customers returning. In this instance, gambling operators reward players with points for wagering, depositing and playing. Points can then be exchange for more free game time in the form of bonuses.
Gamification is a relatively sophisticated add-on to new online slots, and quite a recent phenomenon. The more common features used to make the games more compelling are the random features that are thrown in to spice up the standard spins. These can include everything from wilds that substitute in for other icons to create win lines, to mystery symbols that transform from a ‘?’ to another on the paytable when they land, expanding symbols that expand to fill an entire reel when they land, and multipliers that appear when a win is triggered to boost the value of that prize. Random features like these are crucial to keeping player involved – an unexpected win is a great way to engage someone who is ready to stop!
The Expanding Reels or Megaways™ format devised by Australia’s Big Time Gaming was a niche concern a few years ago but has since become a mainstream event with hundreds of new Megaways™ games on the market each year. These slots have a random number of rows on each reel on every spin, typically with up to 7 rows available. This means that the number of active paylines changes on each spin, with up to 117,649 in play when all six reels of a game show 7 rows of symbols. Expanding Reels are a phenomenon that shows that there is still plenty of room for new ideas in an industry in which the basic game model is extremely simple.
Finally, we should mention an old favourite: free spins. Free play in a pay per play game industry is a vital part of the experience for new players and existing ones alike. In video slots free spins are used as a way to allow customers to try new games for free, as well as an in-game feature that rewards players who unlock them with special icons or earn them in gamification level-ups.
Free spins are one of the most compelling features of slots and remind us that offering a complimentary extra is one of the best ways to make our games even more engaging!