There’s no doubt that playing online slots in the UK is a lot of fun, but can you imagine what your favourite online slot machine would be like without any music? What about blackjack, roulette, or Slingo? None of these virtual casino games wouldn’t be quite the same with only the sound effects and graphics, would they?
But why is this the case? After all, aren’t you just interested in the final payoff and knowing whether you won or if you have to try your luck again?
In this blog, we take a look at the role of music in online casino games and how it changes your gaming experience.
How music is used in online casino games
Now that we better understand the effect of music on your brain, it’s important to understand how casino game developers, specifically, use music in their games. Here are five reasons why music is a part of your favourite online casino title.
1. To create atmosphere
Take a moment to imagine a restaurant with high ceilings, chandeliers with intricately designed lights hanging from them. The walls are white and gold with ornate designs. People in suits and evening dresses are seated in leather-covered dining chairs at tables with expensive tablecloths and picturesque candles. Waiters in suits and white gloves walk around with silver platters perched delicately on the tips of their fingers.
Then all of a sudden, you hear gangster rap blaring over the restaurant speakers.
While this might sound like a lot of fun to some people, many others would not find this sort of fine dining atmosphere appealing. It’s also not congruent with most people’s expectations, as most individuals might expect subtle orchestral music in a fine dining restaurant, not Eminem or 50 Cent.
This exaggerated example shows how music plays an important role in creating atmosphere at a venue, but this concept also applies to other activities that involve music, including gambling.
As a fan of online casino games, when you fire up your favourite Egyptian-themed slot, you’re not expecting to hear K-pop playing over your speakers. You’re expecting to hear Egyptian-styled music, as it’s this type of melody that transports you from your home and takes you to the ancient lands of the Pharaohs.
The same idea applies to other genres of slots, and the best slots will always use music that lines up with the theme of the game to add atmosphere and help elevate the experience.
There’s also the fact that music affects people’s perceptions of a place by adding to the atmosphere. The study “The Effects of Music on Atmosphere in a Bank and a Bar” found that playing different types of music and playing no music affected the way people perceived a venue, in this case, a bank and a bar. No music resulted in the people rating a venue lower overall; playing music improved their rating of the venue, while the type of music also affected the rating they gave. This study clearly shows that music not only affects the atmosphere of an experience but that different types of music affect it differently.
2. To help you relax, or get you excited
A mellow tune plays while you decide how much you want to wager on your favourite slot. You hit spin, and the music’s speed and tone pick up a notch. As the reels spin, the first stops, and you see one big win symbol land. The music picks up tempo again. One more matching big win symbol appears as the second reel stops. The tempo increases yet again. Another matching symbol appears. And another. The music continues to pick up the pace as you inch closer to the jackpot. Finally, the last matching symbol appears, the music explodes into an exciting crescendo, and your excitement reaches levels so high that you can barely breathe!
Activities involving music, songs, and melodies can be used to influence your mood, sometimes in dramatic ways. A song might make you feel sad, happy, excited, angry, or any combination of feelings depending on the tune and its lyrics. The study “The Effects of Different Types of Music on Mood, Tension, and Mental Clarity” demonstrated how different styles of music can affect the mood of listeners by playing different types of music to people. The subjects provided feedback to researchers on how they felt after listening to grunge rock, classical, New Age, and designer genres, with different emotions being experienced depending on the type of music played.
Another study found that the pace of music can also affect a listener’s emotions. The study “Effects of Musical Tempo on Musicians’ and Non-musicians’ Emotional Experience When Listening to Music” noted that “… consistent with our hypothesis, fast-tempo music evoked the most pleasant emotion, and slow-tempo music received the lowest score in the arousal dimension among the three kinds of music.”
Slot machine developers use this knowledge of music to not only stimulate certain types of feelings but also to create peaks and valleys of emotions. When you’re deciding on what to wager or when the reels have just started spinning a slower, more mellow tune will play. However, as you get close to a win, the sound effects and music will start to ramp up in pace and tone, creating an unrelenting feeling of anticipation until you finally see whether you’ve won. Or if you have lost and must spin the reels again.
3. To encourage you to have more fun and play more
Music is undoubtedly a pleasant experience for many people, and adding it to any activity can make it more enjoyable or fulfilling.
For example, moving around can feel good, but add some music, and suddenly you’re dancing to the beat. A film might have a reasonable chase scene, but the right soundtrack can suddenly have you grabbing the edge of your seat as the heroes finally manage to elude the villains who are after them. A game of chess with a friend or family member can become an entirely different experience when Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” starts playing.
The Wired article “The Neuroscience Of Music” explores how certain kinds of music are intrinsically connected to the release of dopamine, the “feel-good hormone”, which raises our feelings of happiness. Knowing that it’s unsurprising that casino game developers use music to ensure that we have more fun and keep on playing.
4. To keep you focused
The WebMD article “Can Music Help You Study?” discusses how a study showed that students who listened to classical music during a test did better than those who did not. It also showed that music with lyrics, as well as music with a high tempo or simply too loud, is also likely to distract people.
This may explain why so many casino games stick to songs without any form of vocals and why these tunes don’t constantly rely on a high tempo except during moments of anticipation. The right type and style of music are likely to help increase your focus when playing, keeping your attention on the game while avoiding other distractions.
5. It elevates the experience
Ultimately, all of the different elements of music combine with the other parts of a game, including its graphics, gameplay, and sound effects, to offer an experience that is simply better than if the game had no music at all.
You can test this easily by starting a game of your favourite online slot and either turning the music off or, if that feature isn’t available, by turning your sound off. Yes, you may get the exciting graphics, but it’s not quite the same, is it?
So even though music may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hit spin on a virtual slot machine, this simple test shows that music plays a critical role in elevating the experience of playing slots online.
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