I can remember playing real money online slots for the first time in the late 1990s. I recall thinking at the time, “Slots can’t get any more advanced than this.”
Up until then, I’d always played slot machines in land-based casinos. The thought of being able to play on my PC at home seemed so futuristic.
Of course, I feel like a fool now when considering the major advances since then. Here are some interesting slots developments that have happened or are currently underway:
Smartphone and tablet slots
Skill-based slot machines
Virtual reality slots
Unique game formats (e.g. Megaways, Infinity Reels)
4D graphics and virtual reality are still in the beginning stages regarding slot machines. However, developers are currently exploring the possibilities.
If these two technological advances come through, I think that they’d represent the pinnacle of slots. Interestingly enough, though, developers are now exploring augmented reality games (AR).
AR slots have the ability to disrupt gaming like nothing before. I’ll cover more on this technology along with why it could revolutionize the industry.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality brings digital elements into the real world. It’s essentially a system that combines real and virtual worlds, offers real-time interaction, and delivers 3D elements into your environment.
If you’ve ever used Snapchat or Instagram before, you may have also used their digital filter options as well. For example, you can take a short clip of yourself with digital snow falling around you.
Simply put, augmented reality serves to augment your location and media. It can take any environment and make it seem more entertaining or useful to viewers.
AR works by overlaying computer-generated graphics on a photo or video. Of course, you don’t see these graphics while filming the video or taking the picture. Instead, they show up after the fact.
Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality are often confused with each other. They do have some similarities, but they also feature notable differences, too.
As covered above, augmented reality adds digital elements to your world. It merely enhances what already exists rather than creating a new place.
In contrast, virtual reality actually whisks you away to new digital environments through the use of headgear. You can play blackjack on a tropical island, visit the Sydney Opera House, or sit right in front of slots reels as they spin.
VR technology requires that you have an additional piece of equipment to make these experiences happen. AR doesn’t demand headgear, because it merely adds graphics and animations to existing media.
Is AR Practical and Available?
Some believe that augmented reality is a futuristic technology. But AR is not only here now, but it has existed since the 1990s.
Fighter jets have used this technology for many years to show an aircraft’s speed, direction, and altitude. Thanks to AR advances, it now shows potential targets in the skies.
The infamous Google Glass, which launched in 2013, relied on augmented reality. Via a wearable headset, the now-failed hardware offered a display in the user’s lens that projected overlying images and videos.
Smartphones and tablets also utilize AR through social media, like Snapchat and Tik Tok. Users can add animations and graphics to the videos they put on these sites.
Pokémon Go is a highly popular game that relies entirely on augmented reality. It allows players to see Pokémon (via a smartphone) characters running around their cities.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a 2018 release, is another AR-based game. It brings Hogwarts and the ability to cast spells to the real world.
Google Maps is the most practical use of augmented reality in everyday life. It offers graphics, such as an arrow pointing towards a desired street, to help drivers find their way.
How Could Augmented Reality Apply to Slots?
AR may not be able to transport you to another world like virtual reality. However, it could definitely add value to your gaming experience in the future.
Here are a few different ways that augmented reality might enhance slots:
Allow you to play a unique Pokémon Go-style slot.
Offer special animations and graphics when displaying your big slots wins on social media.
Give you a chance to play fun reality based games in brick-and-mortar casinos.
The possibilities with AR slots are much greater than what’s listed above. However, these three ideas are among the most feasible at this time.
A Pokémon Go-style online slot would allow you to spin the reels and interact with the real world. For example, you might need to walk to a certain location in your town before playing a bonus round.
You may be among the slots players who enjoy sharing your largest wins on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. In such cases, augmented reality can make the sharing process even more fun.
Land-based casinos could also implement AR to make the gaming experience more exciting. For instance, a casino app could take you on an adventure through the establishment using arrows. You’d follow the arrows towards a specific slot machine and play it to earn double comp points.
Again, the possibilities for augmented reality slot machines are great. The gaming world’s imagination could run wild with this technology.
What’s the Reality With Slot Machines Right Now?
AR hasn’t really taken off in the gaming world as of yet. Here’s where online casino gambling is right now in terms of technology trends.
3D Slots Are Still Quite Popular
3D graphics are nothing new in the slots world. Developers have been creating three-dimensional games for well over a decade.
However, many gamblers are still satisfied with these graphics. The gaming world probably won’t make drastic moves towards 4D graphics or any other major technology anytime soon.
Eventually, gamblers may yearn for a better visual experience. But 3D is still quite popular in casino gaming right now.
VR Slots Have Yet to Gain Traction
Virtual reality shows plenty of promise in the gaming world. As covered before, VR has the ability to transport you anywhere when playing a slot.
Here are examples of cool potential settings that VR slots could bring you:
Wild West town
Virtual reality seems like the next big evolution in gaming. However, it has yet to take off in casinos for a variety of reasons.
The biggest roadblock is the lack of mainstream adoption. The average person doesn’t own a VR headset, so they’re not going to use a virtual reality casino either.
VR slots still hold plenty of potential. But headsets need to start flying off the shelves before developers and casinos take virtual reality seriously.
Augmented Reality Slots Aren’t Yet Reality
I’ve discuss some possibilities for augmented reality slot machines. This technology may not totally power slots, but it can definitely improve the experience through a variety of ways.
However, AR has yet to find itself onto casino floors or gaming sites in any meaningful capacity. It’s mostly relegated to map services, games, and social media right now.
AR has so much potential that it should reach slot machines and casinos in the near future. But it’s currently more about the potential when it comes to gambling rather than substance.
Expect the Status Quo to Remain for Now
The gaming world doesn’t move at a fast pace. Operators and developers find products that work and stick with them until something clearly better comes along.
Slot machines with mechanical reels were popular for several decades. It wasn’t until the 1970s that video slots came along and began disrupting mechanical machines.
After video slots started taking over, 2D graphics were perfectly fine for many years. 3D graphics finally began changing this trend in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Augmented reality isn’t necessarily a new technology, because it’s been around since the ‘90s. But it’s only begun taking flight among the general population within the last few years.
Therefore, this tech is unlikely to be a big part of gaming within the next five to 10 years. It should slowly be integrated, though, over time and become more prevalent.
AR slots features and even complete games might come about by the late 2020s. But for now, you can expect the same types of slot machines to hit casinos for the foreseeable future.
Augmented reality is showing up more and more in mainstream entertainment. It’s also proven quite useful in services like Google Maps.
However, AR has yet to truly penetrate the gaming world. But this situation could change when considering what augmented reality brings to the table.
This technology can introduce real-world elements into slot machines, make for fun side casino quests, and even anchor games like it has with Pokémon Go.
For now, though, AR must gain traction in the gambling industry. Once it does this, it could very well become a major part of slots.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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