Digital slot machines are typically thought of as something of a niche category in gaming. They’re at the core of a number of playful, free-to-play mobile games, and they make up significant portions of some popular online casino websites. Beyond these areas though, they don’t usually blend much with what we might call the mainstream video game world.
This might change in the future though, primarily where mobile gaming is concerned. Even though slots remain their own niche of sorts right now, there are a few reasons to believe they could be poised for a breakout.
Putting it simply, gamers tend to enjoy the variety. A 2018 survey of the American gaming market found that nearly 70% of people played video games — primarily on their smartphones. Consumer research experts commenting on the survey noted that mobile gamers make for a robust target market for gaming companies “because of the sheer size and diversity of the audience.” All of this — a massive population of gamers, favoring a mobile medium with virtually innumerable games, marketed to because of diversity — speaks to the importance and success of variety. The idea is that in the mobile medium, there are games for everybody.
Casino slots as they now exist online strike the same note. Some might assume that they’d all be the same, simply because they’re all the same type of game. However, today’s digital slots offer such staggering diversity of designs, themes, characters, and gameplay bonuses, that they don’t feel monotonous or repetitive in the slightest. There’s actually a distinct feeling of variety in the category, which should translate to broad appeal among mobile gamers.
Some of the biggest gaming markets in the world have relatively little access to online casino games. This is undoubtedly one of the major factors holding the genre back from more mainstream influence. The United States, though — which represents one such market that’s traditionally unfriendly to casino gaming — now does have some access to slots, which could be a game-changer.
In fact, there are now thousands of games in the online slot category that are legally accessible in parts of the U.S., and which can be played for real money. (And to be clear, some of the same games can also be played as free demos in states that prohibit online gambling.) These games are spread out across a number of different websites, some of which are more accessible on mobile than others. By and large though, the category as it now appears in the U.S. consists of many of the most popular games in the genre worldwide, which means a U.S. gaming audience is now being exposed to the best of modern slots.
It may just come to pass that as digital slots are being recognized more widely in the world, new tech will come along to make the genre even more alluring. Specifically, we’re talking about various types of new-age, 3-D gaming.
In an article from this past February about holographic AR, we raised the question of what it might be like to step inside a video game and become the main character, via augmented reality (or virtual reality, for that matter). It’s a concept that’s slowly being applied to numerous types of gaming, and there have actually been slot and casino games that have flirted with 3-D animation and immersion. A near future in which mobile slots are paired with AR glasses and goggles and presented within full virtual environments, facilitating hands-on gamer interaction with slot reels and mini-games, is not difficult to imagine.
Given all of these factors and developments, it won’t be surprising at all if we see digital slots playing a significant role in the future of mobile gaming.