ICE 2020 unveils new attempts at attracting a younger generation of gamblers to new age “slot machines”.
For more than a decade now, gambling businesses have been suffering an industrial crisis. For the first time in over a century, they are having a really hard time attracting the youngest generation of gambling-aged adults to casinos. Those who do come are not impressed with slot machines, and it’s threatening to bite an enormous amount of revenue out of the market.
The Millennial generation just isn’t interested in staring blankly at a game while myriad symbols dance down the screen; maybe awarding a prize, maybe not. They find slot machines boring, monotonous, and quite frankly, pointless. They are more likely to enjoy table games – especially card games – where at least some degree of interaction exists. But even these aren’t grabbing their attention for long.
The problem for casinos is that Millennials grew up with such impressive technology and an immersive gaming style far more advanced than any generation before them. They played highly interactive PC and console video games. Not the 2- and 4-bit Atari games or 8- to 64-bit Nintendo games of the past, but beautifully rendered, HD-quality games with cinematic cut-scenes so real, you sometimes can’t tell the difference between genuine filing and CGI animation.
No matter how you spin it, no traditional slot machine can come anywhere close to delivering an experience remotely analogous to what these young adults group up with. But they are trying. Again and again, they are trying, as was evident at last month’s ICE 2020 iGaming expo.
New Attempts to Attract Younger Gamers to “Slot Machines”
Every year, the ICE Totally Gaming expo brings every iGaming business in the world to London. More than 600 vendors attended this years 3-day convention. While most of them were peddling the usual wares, a few were bringing something different to the table. Some of their games didn’t look like slot machines at all, but the competitive, war-like video games today’s younger players grew up with.
Evoplay Entertainment was among these new age slot machine developers. They debuted a unique game called Dungeon: Immortal Evil. They are lauding it as “the first-ever RPG (role playing game) inspired slot”, specifically built in HTML5 to accommodate the mobile gaming generation. Third-person camera angles lead the player on as the game’s hero. The character will encounter enemies along the way, and must defeat them to proceed. The number and type of enemies killed will determine the payout.
As an onlooker, it may appear the player is interacting with the game and employing skill to progress further, but that’s not the case at all. When you play the game, you quickly find that you’re really playing a uniquely graphicized slot machine. You have no control over the character’s movement or attacks.
Like any other mobile slot, you simply tap a button. The hero runs around slaughtering ghouls, demons and evil paladins on his own. He collects treasure chests to acquire new armor that increases his health bar, and potions to fill it back when wounded. But there is absolutely no skill being applied. When all enemies are defeated, the player taps again, placing a bet to “spin”, after which the hero rushes on to attack the next group. The combined kills may be worth an amount equal to or greater than the bet, or they might not. Or, the hero might lose, sending the player back to stage one of the dungeon.
The Illusion of Skill Masking the Usual RNG Algorithm
As the game’s creator’s explain it: “Despite the RPG elements and truly immersive gameplay, Dungeon: Immortal Evil stays true to its slots-based origins – all wins and losses are RNG-based, no skills or knowledge can help – it all comes down to the luck of the spin and the RNG algorithm.”
This concept is not a new one. It’s the same thing GameCo attempted with its 2016 introduction of Danger Arena, and similar to its Pharaoh’s Secret Temple, which looks like a match-3 jewel game, but is, again, just an RNG-based slot machine in disguise.
Evoplay wasn’t the only one to introduce a game of this nature at this year’s ICE 2020, but it was perhaps the coolest looking one among them. While I do expect these games will attract some attention, the lack of interaction and skillful application for the player is going to end with the same results – disaster. Give them something greater than random chance, or they’ll seek out more fulfilling entertainment elsewhere.