Long ago, slot machines were simple, mechanical devices where people would try to line up a series of fruits or other images like bells and bars. The very first machine of this type was created in the late-19th century and was called Liberty Bell. It has proved to be a hugely popular way of playing since then but how has this type of game changed in recent years?
The history of the first slot machine
The Rise of Technology in Slots
These games were purely mechanical for many years, with players pulling a handle to make the reels spin around. In the 1970s, new technology allowed casinos to start to offer video slots, where the reels are digital rather than physical. This was followed by the introduction of linked jackpots that give the chance to aim for a shared jackpot that builds up over the network before eventually paying out.
There is no doubt that the rise of the internet has seen the biggest advances in slots technology in history. Since the first online casinos appeared at the start of the 21st century, developers have been constantly pushing the boundaries to create new features and layouts that attract players to give them a try.
Many slots still retain a classic look, especially those in the retro market where classic fruit symbols, bars, and bells are often seen. However, others have moved away from the traditional appearance by adding in very different types of reel layout and attention-grabbing themes, along with a range of other enhancements.
The main reason for the massive advances we have seen in this industry is that it is a hugely competitive business now. Top developers like Microgaming, Blueprint and Play N’Go bring out new slots regularly, and they need to constantly look for fresh ways to get players interested in trying their games against an ever-tougher competition.
Established Swedish games company NetEnt reported a huge increase in revenue to €561.1m ($679.8m) for 2020, while a relative newcomer like Pragmatic Play is reported by some sources to have annual revenue of around $2 million and has shown impressive levels of growth by bringing out at least a couple of new titles each month and expanding into new markets.
What Do the Most Advanced Online Slots Now Offer?
The variety of special features now available is one of the biggest changes that players will note when comparing online slots to the older, land-based machines. While the overall aim of the game is still to try and get a matching line of symbols, it is no longer the only exciting moment to look out for.
In many cases, a free spin round allows the biggest wins. This round is triggered by landing a certain number of scatter symbols, leading to the chance to play some spins at no cost and sometimes with added features or improved payouts for symbol combinations.
Wild symbols are also seen on many online slots. In its simplest form, this is a type of joker that can complete a winning line by replacing any other symbol when needed. Some developers add to the benefits of this symbol by making it sticky, expanding, or giving it another type of action that increases your chances of winning.
Winning reactions, which are also known as avalanches on some slots, are triggered when you get a win on slots that include a feature of this type. When this happens, the winning images disappear and new ones replace them, which means a second chance of winning from a single spin.
When you play online slots Canada for real money at a site like 888 Casino, you will also see jackpot games that offer big cash prizes. Among the titles in this respect are Sizzling Hot Jokers, Ramesses Rumble, and The Wolf’s Den. Those slots that are linked to daily jackpots will tell you when to expect the next big payout to drop. You can also scroll through the list of top-paying slots like 24K Dragon, Sizzling Hot Deluxe, and Tiki Staxx.
Another interesting way that technology is used to produce a more exhilarating experience is with the MegawaysTM engine. Instead of showing the standard three or five reels, these games have an ever-changing reel format that brings up new patterns on each spin, meaning that the number of ways of winning changes every time that you play it.
Mobile compatibility has helped to increase the reach of online slots too, with HTML5 code used by some of the best developers to ensure a smoother performance on any smartphone or tablet. The added flexibility that this gives means that more players can now sample these games, even if they have extremely busy lifestyles or don’t use a laptop.
A look at how VR can immerse us in games
What Is the Future of Slots Technology?
It is interesting to look back and note that the slots industry has probably seen more changes in the last couple of decades than it witnessed in the century or so before that. However, the big question that everyone wants to know the answer to is around the changes that we could see introduced in the future.
One area that appears to have a lot of potential in terms of online slot games is virtual reality (VR). This is something that has come to the fore in other areas of entertainment recently. While VR video games have grabbed most of the headlines, you can also enjoy movies and other types of virtual experience using a headset that is suitable for your needs.
It is easy to imagine a VR slots game where you are transported into an immersive experience that gives these games a new dimension. With many online slots based on themes like ancient Egypt, wild animals, and musical legends, the addition of a virtual world around the slot could be seen as the next logical step. It could also make it easier for the creative teams to build interesting stories for their new releases.
Augmented reality (AR) is another type of technology that could prove to be right for slots developers to use. In this case, digital information is added to real-world images to give a different kind of immersion in a game. This could lead to the reels or symbols appearing on your screen, superimposed on the images you see of your current location. The blockchain may provide another opportunity for slots creators to use the best new technology.
It seems certain that online slots will continue to grow and evolve, as the creators behind them look for new ways to appeal to players all over the world. For the moment, there are plenty of games to check out that prove how far these games have come so far.