With a little over one month just left to go until the CasinoBeats Summit takes centre stage, we’re taking a tentative glance at what could lie ahead as part of day one’s Slots 2021 track.
To do so, we’ve reached out to three of the event’s sponsors, namely Scientific Games, FunFair Games, and Synot Games, to get the lowdown on life after Megaways, an increase in skill game mechanics, and combatting a sameness in themes and features.
Rob Procter, SG Digital’s content specialist director, Lloyd Purser, COO at FunFair Games, and Michael Polak, product manager at Synot Games, offer their expertise in a two-part special.
CB: As slots seemingly move from strength to strength, this year could see more such introductions than ever before. What are your thoughts on the seemingly never ending wave of new games? How much is too much?
LP: As with most industries, competition breeds innovation. As long as titles continue to push boundaries it is only a good thing for the slot sector and ultimately for players. But, if games fail to adapt to changing behaviours, the demands of younger demographics and without true innovation, the market will no longer support quantity over quality. The question should be how long can slots continue to provide quality with quantity.
MP: Yes, to be fair the amount of the games on the market is unbelievable. I think it is definitely a good thing because everyone can find the suitable game for them. Synot Games tries to have concepts in their portfolio that will suit all customers. We cannot really define what is too much, this gaming industry is growing and I believe Synot Games will be as successful as ever.
“The demand for Megaways games from players remains as strong as ever”Rob Procter
RP: The never ending conveyor belt of new games is great for players as it gives them more choice than ever, while operators have an abundance of content at their disposal. What we’ve seen more of this year is developers experimenting with new game mechanics and features that take the overall experience that extra step forward.
Players appreciate the way in which traditional models are evolved and gives them something new to experience. Quality has to remain a priority though as the industry is overwhelmed with new games.
We’ve added numerous new games to the OpenGaming platform this year, both from our in-house studio and third party developers, but they have to be of the highest standard in order to stand any chance of engaging with players.
CB: Within the industry, we’ve seen, and continue to witness, Megaways become a dominant force, but how does the slot sector look to evolve away from the mechanic? Does it need to?
RP: The demand for Megaways games from players remains as strong as ever and that’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The real challenge is keeping these games fresh and appealing.
There are a wealth of suppliers in today’s marketplace that incorporate the fan-favourite mechanic into their games, yet that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all offering something different. The more successful Megaways games are those where developers have taken the mechanic in a new direction.
When it comes to building Megaways games, we’re 100 per cent committed to bringing a new experience for players. Our latest release Invader Megaways is a glowing example of this approach. The way in which the UFO hovers above the reels, randomly selects a symbol and transforms it into a wild is new to the Megaways genre.
“…how long can slots continue to provide quality with quantity?”Lloyd Purser
Of course, we should never be too reliant on one mechanic. At SG Digital, we’re constantly experimenting with new concepts to bring the next mechanic that revolutionises the online casino experience. Later this year we’ll be launching our new Dual Ways Pay, which pays from top to bottom as well as from left to right. We firmly believe the mechanic will become a favourite with players.
LP: Megaways has become a dominant force thanks to its initial innovation and distribution model, and customers have reacted positively to that. The concern with Megaways is that customers will get tired of it and the many reskins, and ultimately look for other forms of entertainment.
It should only need to evolve if those customers start to move elsewhere or if it fails to grab new demographics. That is why FunFair Games is focusing on multiplayer style gaming that is active, social and simple, as the next generation of players are not interested in the Megaways style of play. They want something different, that is community driven and that they can play together.
MP: Megaways is a phenomenon of recent years, I can tell that Synot Games is already preparing a Megaways game and we believe that the game will be very successful. I think that soon new game mechanics will emerge that will be as successful, or probably even more successf,ul than Megaways.
The customers want more and more games which are fun and with high volatility, where customers can win incredible winnings for little money, and that is how the Megaways concept works. New mechanics in games are very important and only time will show which one is the most successful and if it will come close to the success of Megaways.
Find out more about the event at the CasinoBeats Summit website.