Online Slots Trends in 2020
Posted at: 23 January 2020
It's that time of year again, when people with knowledge on the matter make projections about the online gambling industry and share what they expect in the coming months. So, we also decided to share our vision about an industry segment we love and keep a close eye to. Yes, we are going to talk about online slots and the development path we believe they are going to take in 2020.
What Happened in 2019? Online Slots Highlights
The online slots sector became oversaturated. More or less prominent studios launched slots. Some of them became hits, others fell in oblivion mere days after their launch. One thing is for sure, though. Online slot players are becoming more demanding, so slots creators had to find the balance between sensible volatility, entertainment, bonuses, and payouts.
Megaways Slots Took Over
Back in 2016, Big Time Gaming released its first Megaways slot, but it was not until 2019 when game studios realized the huge potential of the mechanics and acquired a license giving them the right to develop their own Megaways content.
In 2019, Blueprint was definitely the studio that released the greatest number of Megaways slots but Red Tiger, Inspired Gaming, WMS, Stakelogic, iSoftBet, Iron Dog haven't fallen behind, either. The Swedish gaming giant NetEnt tried to stay away from the Megaways craze, but in September 2019, it acquired Red Tiger and the first Megaways slot is on its way.
Intense Asian Slots Release
Asia is an affluent market and understandably, game studios tried to cater to Asian players. Yes, online gambling might be prohibited in almost all (if not all) Asian countries, but the truth is that Asians love gambling. And by gambling, we don't mean just the Sic Bo and Pai Gow, but also video slots.
As a result, hundreds of slots cherishing the Japanese/ Chinese culture were launched in 2019, and the releases were really intense in the second half of 2019. Now, with the Chinese New Year around the corner, we expect a snowfall of Rat-themed slots.
Bonus Buy Feature Controversy
The year 2019 was marked by a great controversy regarding the so-called Bonus Buy feature. The latter allows players to trigger the free spins round immediately instead of making a hundred spins to land the required number of scatters. However, taking advantage of the feature comes at a hefty price ranging between 70x-100x your stake worth. In addition, the online gambling community deemed the Bonus Buy feature as an equivalent to the video games' loot boxes, that give players access to different items as soon as they pay for them.
As a result, the Buy Free Spins feature was removed from the slots available in the UK casinos. The other European countries took no actions but the topic remained a hot potato across the gambling communities.
Things to Look Forward to in 2020
Gamification and Interaction
Slots that offer bonus rounds as exciting as scrolling through an Excel sheet are a thing from the past now. Well, fine, there are a few suppliers known for the straightforward gameplay they offer, but at a certain point, they will have no choice but to adapt to players' demands.
So, in 2020 and in the years to come, we expect the slot games to offer enhanced bonus rounds that allow players to actively participate in the gameplay. Speaking of active participation, let's jump to the next paragraph…
Slots Become a Game of Skill
Currently, slots are largely seen as games of chance. In other words, players have no impact on the outcome of each spin. Well, that might change in the next few years, when the boundaries between the slots games and the video games become narrower.
Slot creators are expected to borrow some elements from the puzzle games, the shooter games, integrate them in the slots and make a smooth transition to the disappearance of the reels. In 2019, Thunderkick made an attempt to remove the reels, but in our humble opinion, this attempt was not quite successful. Nevertheless, the monotonous reel spinning is going to be outdated before long.
Virtual Reality Slots
The VR and the effect it would have on the online gambling industry have been discussed for several years now. Still, the VR casinos are in their infancy and if we put aside the NetEnt VR casino launched in 2019, there is no other noteworthy VR slots content to mention.
However, we expect the other game suppliers to follow NetEnt's example and revolutionize the online slots sector by releasing VR versions of their most iconic slots.
Branded Slots Revival
At the beginning of 2020, Stakelogic announced the upcoming release of the Expendables Megaways and hinted at Rambo and Hercules slots launch. In 2019, NetEnt released Vikings, Narcos, Conan, and Ozzy Osburne slots, Blueprint brought Beavis and Butthead to the slot reels, BTG released the Final Countdown. These are just a few of the cool branded titles we enjoyed in 2019 and we are positive that the best is yet to come.
Classic Slots are Here to Stay
Today's slot players are kind of spoilt, for the lack of a better word. They demand nothing less than slots packed to the brim with features. So, when a 3-reel fruit slot is mentioned, the first question they ask is “Why the 3-reel cherry slots still exist? Well, if there's a demand, there's also supply. In 2019, game studios released classic slots and added a few modern twists such as Hold and Respin, Multiplier or sticky symbols. High volatility classic slots prevailed in 2019, but we believe this kind of slots would appeal to more players if the volatility is in the medium range.
Multiplayer Slots on the Rise
If you are into live dealer games, you probably highly appreciate the interaction with the live dealer and fellow players. When we talk about online slots, such an interaction is rarely seen, but this is going to change in the near future. To get a better idea of the multiplayer slots, visit the best Microgaming casinos and search for Avalon.
Is there an online slot trend you would like to see added to this review? Don't hesitate to contact us via the contact form.