In the beginning, there were classic slots; three or five-reel “fruit machine” style games all offering similar gameplay. In many countries, these became ubiquitous in pubs and bars and their appeal lasted for decades.
Though the popularity of these physical machines has faded, these games have now found a new home online. Today’s online slots are built on the same premise as traditional fruit machines but have developed in every way imaginable.
Innovative providers of slot games online, such as Virgin Games, now offer styles and experiences for players of every demographic. As the choice of games has grown, so has their popularity, which has risen to phenomenal levels in recent years.
Add to this the convenience of mobile gaming, and it’s easy to see why the sector is growing so rapidly. Every player can now enjoy a slot game designed to their preference which can be picked up anywhere, any time.
Even now they are established, the popularity of online slots continues to grow and this is predicted to remain ongoing. The world casino market is expected to reach $153.2 billion by 2026 and only slots are a major sector.
So, what are the factors behind this incredible, and continued, growth for online slots?
1. Better connectivity
Perhaps the biggest boost to online slots, and all online gaming, has been the global improvement in internet connectivity. Higher broadband speeds alongside 4G and 5G mobile networks mean the internet is faster and more reliable than ever.
Improved stability and accessibility mean that gamers are now almost unrestricted in where and when they choose to play. As this continues to improve, and spread to new territories, so will the diversity and complexity of what is offered.
2. Smartphone technology
The days of being tied to a desktop PC when we need to access the internet are over. The rise of smart mobile devices has revolutionized the way we can access online gaming.
Smartphones and tablets are the perfect mediums for playing online slots. With an intuitive touchscreen interface in our pocket, we can now enjoy fluid gameplay at any time, anywhere we choose.
Slot games are ideally suited to the pick-up and put-down gaming encouraged by this type of interface. With headphones and high-resolution screens, they can also provide high-level experiences when enjoying more complex games and longer sessions.
3. Virtual reality
While both touchscreen devices and traditional PCs are ideal for mobile slot games they cannot fully replicate the in-person experience. The development of sophisticated and reliable virtual reality headsets is changing this at a rate of knots.
Players can now place themselves in a realistic casino or traditional bar machine environment from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, there are no limitations in the VR world, so modern gameplay environments are restricted only by imagination.
4. Crypto and blockchain
The cryptocurrency revolution and the blockchain technology behind it are starting to influence every part of our daily lives. Few products are better suited to taking advantage of these developments as online casino and virtual gaming.
Gamers depositing money into online slots often seek two main things – security and anonymity. As more and more providers begin to accept blockchain currencies, these requirements are satisfied more fully than ever before.
5. Digital marketing
The way online products are promoted has changed almost beyond recognition over the last decade. Online slots and gaming has been one of the first sectors to take advantage of new methods of digital marketing.
Social media, retargeting, affiliate marketing, blogging, SEO, influencers, and hyper-targeted advertising have replaced traditional commercials, print ads, and online banners. This factor is a topic in itself but, safe to say, online slot providers have not been slow to adapt.
Another method of marketing for online slot providers is through the offering of targeted bonuses and incentives. Free plays, registration bonuses, loyalty schemes, spot prizes, and huge cumulative jackpots are all used to entice new players.
By combining this with data collection and personal targeting, online providers have fine-tuned how they target offers for maximum success. This is something much easier to offer online than it is for land-based casinos, giving the sector a huge advantage.
Another major factor in the growth of online slots is the almost unlimited variations of games available to play. With that in mind, it is worth taking a moment to profile some of the best slot games available today.
• Secrets of the Phoenix
Themed around ancient symbols and mystical stones, Secrets of the Phoenix is a 25-line slot that promises many surprises. Free spin bonuses, auto spin, cascading reels, and a stacked wild all make this an appealing choice for many players.
• Double Bubble Jackpot
A classic slot theme, but now with an added progressive jackpot to enhance the appeal even further. Fans of both retro styles and novel gameplay options love this 20-line game.
Bringing the mysteries of ancient Egypt and the majestic River Nile to slot gaming is Cleopatra. The innovative “Cleopatra Bonus” offered in this 20-line game brings exciting new elements to every game.
• Rainbow Riches
Perhaps one of the most recognizable modern slot games, the popularity of Rainbow Riches never seems to diminish. 20 pay lines, wild symbols, and a range of special features help keep this slot high in every gamer’s chart.
These are just a handful of the best online slot games currently available, but the choice is endless. This variety, combined with the factors above, has helped online slots grow almost without restriction.
There are no signs that this growth is about to stop, or even slow down. So, the question is: what is next for online slots, and just how popular are they destined to become?