Multiplayer video games have dominated the entertainment industry for decades but, while some multiplayer games like poker and bingo have cemented themselves in the igaming world, we’re yet to see a paid-for, multiplayer slot title hit the market. 

To better understand why multiplayer slot products have never quite hit it off, we asked the CasinoBeats 100Club

Why haven’t multiplayer slots made larger inroads into the online casino space? What challenges do they face and what growth opportunities do they create? 

Tom Finlayson, Co-Founder at Jooba Tech: The idea of social, multiplayer or community gambling has been around as long as gambling itself has. The concept of sharing that gambling experience in a physical casino – the highs of a big win, the lows of an unlucky loss – is part of the attraction, just as much as the chance of winning. However, when applied online, something changes.

In a physical casino, you know you are surrounded by like-minded individuals. You’ve all travelled to the casino for the same reason, often away from judgement. They understand and can empathise with your wins and losses, as you can with theirs. However, for online, this is not the case. Online play is you and you alone. You play on your device and  on your own time.

Attempts in the past have been made to help punters advertise their bets, their wins, their tips or favourite games, however, gambling still has a stigma associated with it. A punter is unlikely to reveal to their friends and family that they gamble, as opposed to strangers at a casino.

Therefore punters are more reluctant to notify their online circle – often consisting of family and friends – of their gambling habits. Naturally, there are exceptions to the rule; both ways. A VIP player may book an entire blackjack table to themselves in a casino, and an online player may be more than happy to share their play, hello streamers. 

But on the whole, online punters want to separate their online gambling from the rest of their online presence. Much like the casino punter needs to physically travel away and be with like-minded punters at the venue.

For multiplayer slots to become successful, gambling itself needs to become less stigmatised, which I believe will eventually happen. Until then, the idea of others in your online circle being more aware of your gambling will struggle to take off.

Justin Chamberlain, CEO and Founder at HungryBear Gaming: I think multiplayer slots haven’t made the inroads into the space simply because there isn’t enough choice yet for operators, and that is because a lot of providers, I don’t think, see or understand the opportunity in the multiplayer genre.

Multiplayer has dominated the social, console and casual space for many years now, and I think operators aren’t looking far enough ahead to realise the potential, or that younger players coming into the gambling sector will look for, and maybe even demand, a multiplayer experience.

As for the challenges facing anyone looking to bring multiplayer to market – immense! The difference between delivering a single-player experience, one game client talking only to one server, and rendering one set of results, seems like a walk in the park compared to a multiplayer experience.

We have been live now with Slot Masters for a little over 12 months, and we have been continually improving and fine-tuning all aspects of this genre of game, from the client side, to server, to database queries, rendering results in real-time to three players at a time, and handling millions of transactions and database queries every single day! It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Connor Blinman, Head of Games at Gaming Corps: The challenges surrounding multiplayer slot content can only really be found out via trial and error, analysing the data, and making improvements for the next product; the key thing to remember though is this can be costly. 

As for now, slot players continue to show they are players of habit who know what they know and like what they like. Incremental innovation rather than overnight change has always been key to finding success in this industry.

Aside from slots, players who are fans of multiplayer content can get their fix from the numerous types of table games out there, as well as the live casino products that the likes of Evolution are putting out.

We have recently achieved a lot of success with our Crash products, which feature a multiplayer element to their core game loop. Players join the game, place their bets and can see when others are cashing out. All these elements give the game a sense of community and show multiplayer games hold true, and I think this is where the growth opportunity is. Whether or not we will see them dominate the slot space in the future is still up in the air.