The apex of design within the casino world has to be ubiquitous video slots machine, also known as “pokies” to australian online casino players.. There are literally thousands of designs out there on the market, not to mention the versions available online. The creators of these machines introduce new games all the time, but few achieve the cult following that signals success.
The design process takes significant time to research and develop based on a number of factors or criteria that varies from company to company, but usually has a basis in practicality, profit and entertainment potential. The number one most important criteria is “what do customers really want?” Most designers have a particular audience in mind when they are developing an idea for a new machine.
Slots machines are broken down into two main categories: high and low volatility games with many games falling between the two. High volatility games have bigger jackpots, but you must put more money in and they have fewer winning numbers. Those who prefer high volatility games are usually not that interested in the lights, bells and whistles. These games tend to be favored in major casino towns or high profile online casinos. The low volatility games are favored in local casino markets, have lower jackpots, but you spend less money per play. People who like these games tend to play for longer periods and want the more elaborate glitzy themes.
The visual design of the slot machine is dependent on the target audience. High volatility games are usually crafted with an eye to a more traditional, gambling theme, where as the low volatility ones tend to the strong movie, comic book or media theme depending on what is popular. A lengthy period of time is spent on the artwork , music and the electronic sounds blending them all together to create the appropriate experience for the player. To jarring and people could be put off playing for long periods, to subtle and they could get bored. Hitting that sweet spot of perfect balance is very difficult.
Other factors in design are many, but some are: what size bets should be allowed relative to the currency denominations of that country? Should there be bonus rounds? Should multi-line bets be allowed? After all is done and the new game is completed it is send for a beta testing to weed out any problems or deal with any criticisms of the themes. Then it is sent to a private testing lab to double check the numbers, algorithms and basically everything “under the hood”.
After all of this the new game is rolled out with the usual fanfare and tons of corporate anxiety. Success of a new game, as you can see, is determined by many factors that the companies try to plan for, but ultimately it rests in the hands of the public. And we are a very fickle bunch… aren’t we?