For those who aren’t involved in the slot machine industry, it is easy to dismiss it as a dinosaur that still somehow continue to walk by feeding on elderly women. Nothing can be further from the truth. The slot industry, in its more-than-a-century run has proven to be resilient and quick to adapt to changes in markets, technology, demographic and public interest.
If nothing else, take this into consideration: a machine that was invented in 1891 takes up today – 2016 – 80% of the floor space in and account for 70% of their income.
So entrepreneurs can definitely learn a thing or two – actually three – from the slot industry; about how to evolve and adapt, how to grow an audience and how to react to market trends.
Here are the three take-aways:
Adapt to Technological Progress
As mentioned, and known, the slot machine was invented back in the day and thrived for more than a century as a mechanical thing, a block of material that required pulling a handle that spin actual reels. And it worked just fine, for everyone involved. And then came the internet.
The slot industry has already produced a computerized version of the slot machine in the late 80’s, and this time again they were quick to recognize the opportunity the web can bring and the first Online Slots went live in 1996. That’s still in the modem days, mind you.
Since then, the slot industry has grown exponentially online. And adapted to changing circumstances. When the US banned online gambling, the industry took its business elsewhere and is now thriving worldwide.
Take for example PrimeSlots, an operator of slot websites. The company has seven websites in seven different countries devoted solely to slot games. It offers both free play for enjoyment, and real money casino slots by PrimeSlots, for those who wish to gamble. It’s a multi-national business that operates as any other online business, devoting substantial resources to R&D and marketing / SEO. In a highly competitive environment, online slots operators need to fight hard for their online presence in order to attract potential players.
Expand Target Audience
Until the slot industry arrived online, its audience was pretty defined. In the casinos, it was the older crowd, mostly females, who were wary of sitting in the high-risk tables of blackjack, poker and roulette. The same crowd also populated parlors in the UK and Australia – where slot machines are widely popular.
But the industry was quick to realize that this crowd wouldn’t come meet them online. The initial crowd of the internet was younger and more tech-savvy. So how to attract a whole new generation that wasn’t familiar with slot games?
A whole new generation of new slot games was designed for online. Gone were the double cherries and black dice and instead of them came the Themed Slot. What was so genuine about this was that they could create any number of slots targeting infinite number niche interests, from movie-themed slots, fairy-tale themed slots, location-themed slots, popular-culture-themed slots – and the list goes on and on.
The other game-changing step that the slot industry took was creating unique features for the online slots that could be developed thanks to the fact that these were software-based slots, not mechanical machines.
Unique bonus rounds, multiple win lines, advanced graphics and soundtracks, game-specific features like Multipliers, Wild symbols, Scatter symbols and Expanding symbols – all these made the games much more engaging and inline with today’s standard of online gaming.
And to wrap all this up in a nice shiny package, the industry made sure to that their online presence was spot on – the slot casinos online were made to look modern with the most updated UX, and a whole net of supporting slot review sites as www.slotspinners.co that offer reviews and comparisons of games and online casinos provided a much needed customer service and support to their growing audience.
React to Market Trends
After significantly expanding it target audience when moving online, the slot industry came again to an important realization: the future lies with millennials, those who were born into the internet era and in order to survive another century or so, they need to cater to this crucial demographic for every online vendor.
After conducting a thorough market research asking millennials what and why they didn’t like about slot games, the slot industry is now embarking on its biggest challenge yet: developing skill-based slots and VR slots.
Skill-based slots goes against everything the slot game has been – a game of chance. But after hearing that the future generation isn’t interested in chance and is into skill-based games, there is now a new generation of skill-based slots in the working. In these new games your earnings will be based on your skill of the game, much like fantasy sport or any other computerized game.
And the cherry on top, Virtual Reality slots. There are no news yet as to what these will be, game developers are keeping their cards close to their chest, but as for the entire gaming industry, the future is in VR.
The slot industry has completely reinvented itself in the last twenty years. From an antiquated mechanical game it has evolved to an online experience, neck to neck with the best of the gaming industry. By being acutely aware, quick to respond and innovative, the slot industry has secured its place in popular culture, for at least another century.