Last month you allowed me to ramble on about why we should market, strategize and develop a thought process and open up the lines of communication to get the “X-Game Generation” into the casino. This month I thought I’d focus on, what type of slot machine will peak their interest enough to get them into the casino and keep them there.
As I prepare for another trip to the Global Gaming Conference (G2E), I have to ask myself, “Which slot manufacturer is developing games to bring in and maintain the younger gaming demographics? (If I had a thought right now, it would die of loneliness).
Yes, I’m aware downloadable games are at the forefront of the industry, in fact right on the horizon. Which means exactly what…the same type of games just resting on a unique and superior platform? Because quite frankly, as I look around the casino floor, I see banks of machines designed to spew out free spins, clunky, albeit elaborate, “bonus wheels” hitting the same (ho-hum) mediocre pays and motionless screens offering the same regurgitated clip art bonus rounds. Not exactly the type of hype leaving the X-Gamer gasping to catch their breath.
So, here are my thoughts.
The new games should have bonus rounds where “decisions” are made (not selected), and remember what your last “decisions” actually was. “Do I go left or right, up or down?” When you return to that bonus spot, the game reminds you (“Last time you went left”). The bonus rounds should allow you to develop your own character or player and allow you to place your character anywhere in that bonus round. The bonus rounds should be interactive, where there is a winner. Not by chance but by skill (being quicker, knowing the correct order) by playing against the game or against someone on the same bank or at another location, such as a wide-area or interstate network.
The new games should have cheat codes available for the player to research. Keep in mind; this isn’t necessary a cheat code to “beat” the game as much as finding “Easter Eggs” along the way (free spins, free games, additional credits, advertisements). Yes, advertisements. Other industries are paying premium dollars to have their products and brands buried deep into the code of the latest PS2 slot online game, only to have it seen by someone who knows and exploits the cheat code (hint, hint IGT, Aristocrat, and Williams). Of course these cheat codes could only be found on your web site where advertisement can be sold. What? Finally a way of driving traffic to your own site and actually having someone “opt-in” to Emarketing without having to give away a set of steak knives!
The new games must be able to save the players level when they return. These games need to have a memory card, a saved level card (what we old fuddy duddy’s call a player club card) with password encryption (we call those PIN numbers) in order for that gamer to come back and not think they lost their “place” in the game. Now, relax GLI and gaming regulators, I’m speaking in terms on the bonus round. If you are in level four of bonus round three, guess what, the next time you hit the bonus round, you’re right back in the same place fighting that onslaught of crazed penguins. Imagine, the player still needs to play the game to “get back to the bonus round” but if they are coming back to your casino, their time on device will increase as with the “legs” of the game.
These games should concentrate on realistic graphics, robust sound and entertainment value. Get rid of the “$20 equals 6 spins and a near-hit” way of coding. Time on device revolves around $20 lasting more than three minutes. At the local arcade, you’re not winning money, your winning “time and levels”.