Slot machines have been around in some way, shape or form since the 1800s. They have managed to stand the test of time for so long due to a variety of reasons. From their simple beginnings to the advanced graphics and game play we see today, online slots have evolved with the times to remain popular with casino players.
With this great popularity comes a lot of competition, so it makes sense that companies are doing everything they can to attract players to choose their slot games. Most of the best online casinos will offer various types of bonuses to new players to incentivise them to play.
Staying on top of emerging technologies is also a key factor in the continued popularity of online slots. They never grow old or outdated because slot developers are constantly leveraging the latest technological advancements to stay ahead of the curve.
Below we take a look at the evolution of online slots and how companies are using the newest technologies to keep the games relevant today.
The evolution of slots
The first steps towards the invention of slots date all the way back to the first automated card machine in 1887. However, this was not a slot yet as there were not any payouts (apart from maybe a beer if you got a good hand). However, the invention of the Liberty Bell in 1891 moved things a little closer – and it allowed for mechanical payouts.
The Liberty Bell was similar to the traditional fruit machines that we are familiar with today. It had diamonds, spades, hearts, and a cracked Liberty Bell. If you landed 3 Liberty Bells, you hit a win. The first official Fruit Machine came about in 1907 which introduced the world to those classic symbols: playing cards, fruits, and the famous BAR symbol.
Moving forward to 1961 and technology really started to kick in, when Bally introduced the world to the first electromechanical slots machine which was called Money Honey. Earlier machines such as Bally’s High Hand Draw did also exhibit some signs of basic electromechanical functions too.
The next technological advancement came in 1971 when the popularity of Video games exploded after the introduction of the Pong video game by Atari. By 1976 the world of gambling embraced this for the next natural progression, the combination of video games and slots to make video slots.
In 1986 the first progressive slots were introduced to the market. The first machine was called Megabucks and started appearing in large casinos. Developed by IGT, it was a massive leap forward in the industry as the machine took a small amount from each bet and put it into a pot to create huge wins.
However, it was not until 1996 that slots moved online – with the first online slot, Reel ‘Em In, introduced in 1996 by Microgaming.
Ever since then, the industry has moved at breakneck speed. What started with just 3-reels and 1 payline has turned into numerous reels, hundreds and thousands of pay lines, different ways to pay and unique bonus features. We can now enjoy 3D games, Multiways pays games, Megaways Games, Cluster Pays slots and so much more. The games are getting bigger and better all the time due to all the technological advances of the last decade.
Some of the newer technologies that have been incorporated into the online slots gaming experience include:
Mobile gaming has been one of the biggest game-changers for the online slots industry. Pretty much every good casino will offer mobile versions of their slot games, so you can play your favourite games wherever you are, whenever you want. By using HTML tech, you can enjoy the exact same quality on smaller screens.
Another new technology seeping into the online slot world is VR – Virtual Reality. With this, you can immerse yourself in a virtual casino environment and enjoy realistic graphics and sounds. This allows you to virtually stroll around a casino, chat with others and play online slots as though you were playing a land-based slot. Virtual reality is not only great for gaming but also business use too.
AI is the biggest talking point in the technological world right now – and online gaming is no exception. AI is being leveraged to help create more advanced algorithms for online games and in turn to create a better gaming experience. It can be used to adjust difficulty levels based on your skill level and create a more personalised gaming experience.
Another new technology making an impact on the industry is cryptocurrency. Not only are some casinos now accepting crypto as a payment method, but there are now lots of crypto-only casinos. This comes with all sorts of advantages – lower fees, faster transactions, more security – and they also allow you to play anonymously, unlike traditional currencies.
Linked with cryptos, Blockchain technology is a decentralised ledger that can record transactions and track asset ownership. By using Blockchain technology, casinos can offer a more transparent and secure environment. An example of this is the ‘Provably Fair’ algorithm that is only available using blockchain technology. This can be used by players to check that the outcomes of games they play are fair and random. This can help to build even more trust between players and the casino.
Future of online slots
Up until now, new technologies have had a huge impact on the way we play online slots. What started as one-armed bandits has changed beyond our wildest dreams. Mobile gaming, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain all make the online slots experience more immersive and engaging, as well as increasing safety, security and transparency for online players.
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