If you love playing online slots in the UK, you probably can’t wait for the next great innovations that will make your favourite games even more fun. But what marvels of innovation lie beyond the horizon of online slot technology?
Before we dive into the latest tech that could change how people play online slots, we first look at how slots have evolved over the decades and then explore three of the latest developments and how they could impact virtual slots.
The evolution of the slot machine
The humble slot machine has changed significantly since its invention in the late 19th century. That machine had spinning reels with playing cards, with players hoping each spin would create a lucky combination. If they got lucky, they could claim a prize from the machine operator.
As the years passed by, the symbols changed, and prizes were awarded to the player from the machine’s takings. But the core experience remained the same. Players put in money, spun the reels, and a winning sequence of symbols would line up if luck were on their side.
However, things started to change when the machines switched from mechanical, to electronic, to digital systems. Without the mechanical parts, slot developers were freed from the constraints that the physical inner workings of a slot machine placed on them. This led to an explosion in innovative gameplay features that the creators of the first slot machine could only dream of.
Gameplay features that you can enjoy today
The slot machine of today, whether it’s a physical machine at a casino or a virtual slot that you play on your mobile device or computer, has an incredible range of thrilling gameplay features.
Some of the most popular slot machine innovations that players love today include the following.
Enjoy free spins and bonus games? These extra slot features are possible thanks to scatter symbols.
Free spins and other bonus games
Free spins and other bonus mini-games, such as lottery wheels or choosing random prizes to discover what’s inside, have become so commonplace that younger players might not even know that these are, relatively speaking, new features. However, players have enjoyed these gameplay features so much that they’ve become a standard part of many slots.
In the past, if players wanted to win, the symbols had to line up on a single payline. Today, games have multiple paylines, giving players even more ways to help them land a lucky combination.
These symbols (usually wilds) appear on the reels and remain in place for a certain number of spins, boosting a player’s chance of winning.
Cascading or exploding symbols
Exploding symbols are similar to free spins in that they introduce new symbols to a reel, giving players another opportunity to win. Where they differ is that if you land a winning combination, those symbols will explode and make way for new symbols and possibly extra wins.
These are symbols (again, usually wilds) that will appear on the reel and fill up a column, row, or random spots on the reel. This is definitely a thrilling way for players to get winning combinations.
One of the biggest and most popular innovations in slots is Megaways. This game feature changes the number of reels with each spin, putting you on the edge of your seat with every game. Players love it because it offers up to 117,649 ways to win.
The latest innovations that will change online slots
Now that we know how far slots have come, here are two technological innovations that will change the future of online slots.
Virtual reality (VR) has existed as a concept for many decades, but it was only in the early 1990s that people started to make virtual reality a reality. Unfortunately, public interest in it dwindled — until the launch of the Oculus Rift in 2016. This reinvigorated the VR promise and has resulted in the launch of many consumer-focused VR setups, such as the Meta Quest 2, Playstation VR2, and the Valve Index.
The increased availability of this hardware means that online casino game developers (including those who develop online slots) have shown a growing interest in the experiences VR could offer. Imagine a world where you can relax at home, pop on your headset, and not just play slots online through a monitor but have a fully interactive virtual slot machine (or machines) in front of you.
But casino game developers don’t want to stop there. Why only have virtual slots when you can have an entire virtual casino? While many gamblers can already enjoy fun casino games from their homes or anywhere else with an internet connection, imagine being able to explore an entire virtual casino. VR offers players the potential to get one step closer to being at the casino without actually having to take a single step to get there.
Well, you can stop imagining because some game developers have already started experimenting with this technology and have launched VR casinos. But it’s still early days for this new gambling space, so the experience, while new and interesting, still has a way to go.
Even though the virtual reality casino revolution has yet to happen, VR may take off in a big way in the future. It just needs the right hardware and software to make it happen.
Only a few decades ago, people still asked, “What is artificial intelligence?” Today, many people are familiar with the idea and its basic implications, thanks to tools like ChatGPT. But what does AI mean for the world of online casinos and online slots?
In the near future, AI won’t be directly interacting with players but rather working behind the scenes to ensure you have the best possible time playing your favourite games. AI will be used to understand player behaviour better so that an online casino can offer you more of what you enjoy, whether new online slots or exciting new promotions.
However, as AI becomes more advanced, it would be possible for it to play a more direct role in the experience of online slots you regularly play. For example, AI could be used in an online slot to help mix up the game experience. Imagine a new game environment or gameplay feature that could be introduced on the fly if the AI learns that you have a preference for certain types of experiences. AI could even interact with the player on a more personal level, either as a virtual companion in the game or as a virtual staff member in an online casino.
Tech, online slots, and the future
We’ve already experienced how technology has helped slot machines evolve from simple, mechanical games of chance into virtual gambling experiences enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and there’s no doubt that we’re far from the peak experience that these games have to offer. Just like previous technologies, AI and other digital systems will continue to develop — and as they do, the opportunities they present for the world of online slots could be truly revolutionary.
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