The rise of popularity of PlayStation, Xbox and other gaming platforms have provided a more convenient gaming experience through the years. We are witnessing big technology advancements in terms of gaming and user experience. The more technology advances, the more people realize that you can still access the same benefits when you play online, rather than physically go to a casino.
Casinos are also trying to keep up with the latest tech innovations. They have no choice but to accept the moment of disruption and come up with ways to make casino games even more appealing to a wider audience.
Developing a skill-based gaming experience is one of the initiatives taken in order to engage with a broader audience of players. The term skill-based is reportedly causing a bit of confusion among players, both in land-based and at online casino venues. In short, skill-based games are those that combine gambling (such as slots) implemented with participatory features. This way, they are allowing the players to affect the outcome of the game with their skills.
First, a few words about the traditional slot game. A regular slot machine works as follows:
- Make a bet
- Spin the reels
- The Random Number Generator comes up with a combination
- Results are displayed on the reels
You only control the placing bets and when to start or stop playing. There are many players that still appreciate the complete randomness of online slots. Games like Jamming Jars at SlotsWise, Sweet Bonanza, and White Rabbit slots that offer from 10 to 50 pay lines. You can score and win prizes on horizontal and diagonal combinations and the rules for playing are very simple.
Skill-based games are still in their infancy and it will take some time to see their true impact on the industry. Yet, research shows that casinos believe this type of game will solve the relevance issues with new generations. How interactivity, chance, skill, and entertainment are blended in these games is where the challenge lies, but it is also a great opportunity. These key performance factors can influence the gaming preferences of different audiences.
While both a typical slot and skill slot machine fall under the same regulatory standards, pure skill games differ from traditional slots games in many ways. Perhaps the most essential element is maths. The outcomes within traditional slot games are based purely on chance. On the contrary, skill-based games leverage a maths model that combines both chance and skill. Varieties on forms, art, pay tables and themes are used in skill-based games, and all have an impact on the player experience. It is logical that casino suppliers would experiment with different game dimensions to attract and engage new players.
Over the last several years there has been a gradual expansion of skill-based games in various international markets. There have been significant ups and downs as with any new product on the market. However, skill-style slots still hold significant opportunities for game developers to introduce new technologies and concepts. Here are few of the companies that offer skill-based ones.
IGT has been a significant skill-based game innovator for decades. Fundamentally, online poker is a skill-based game given that the genre blends chance and skill.
In the more common term of skill gaming, IGT has the so-called hybrid skill games such as Fuzzy’s fortune and Texas Tea Pinball from its Video Reel Edge game family. These ones feature a traditional base game slot experience, and then give players the option to enjoy skill-based bonus events.
In addition, IGT plans to start distributing innovative and interactive ones like Bloomtopia and Fortunes of the brave. The company has demonstrated these games as a global trade news, and media feedback reportedly continues to be positive. These games reward players with monetary and non-monetary awards and gives players the opportunity to build an on-screen journey. Players can save their progress on RFID cards and leverage it on return visits. Although this is not technically a skill chance hybrid game, it features social elements that are unique to other gaming experiences found on casino floors.
Gamblit was founded in 2010 for the purposes of creating interactive ones for land-based casinos. Darion Lowenstein, Gamblits’ CMO says that the demand for new, custom-tailored products was higher than ever before. By creating futuristic touchscreen devices that have a variety of games on them, they provide engaging wagering experience. That way, the player becomes actively involved in games, even when the outcome is predominantly determined by chance.
The process was a gaming breakthrough. From how the games were explained to new players, to balancing player decision factors in a game, it represented an example of how GaaS should be served. As GAMBIT launches over 10 this year and they are planning to continue what customers want and what works best for operators. With a lot of big brands and authentic gameplay, they strive to expand their business with higher earning titles.
Next Gaming has the licences of iconic game titles such as Asteroids, Missile Command and Tempest and Arkanoid. What Next experienced in the design of its games is how players interact in the gameplay. Unlike a traditional slot machine which is generally a one spin occurrence, here you are engaged in an evolving experience that has multiple levels and individual components.
Key challenges the regulatory commission approval that impact
The key challenges that have impacted the approval of skill-based games are:
- Lack of research for regulators to understand the concept of skill-based machines
- Balancing the industry innovation with responsible practices
- Legal frameworks and testing standards which prolong the development and may be difficult to apply
Regulators are being cautious before granting approval for skill-based gaming machines. One of the reasons is that they are still relatively new and there is a lack of information and research about the framing of these games. At the same time, regulators don’t want to stiff the innovation industry. It is a case of finding the appropriate balance. For example, the Gaming Machines Act in New South Wales clearly states that one of the main objectives is to “facilitate the balanced development in the public interest of the gaming industry”.
It is quite evident that slots have experienced a lot of transformation over the past few decades. Skill-based slots are a positive step towards attracting new generations of players. However, they still have a long way before they finally catch up with the highly selective new generation of players. To expand to a wider audience, developers need to tweak a few things including modern themes, enhancing the bonus packages and boosting the RTP.