How eSports are Influencing Traditional Gaming
"EagleLAN 2017" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Aiden Strawhun
It may seem strange to talk of video slot machines or casinos as traditional gaming. After all, it was not so long ago that they were part of a new wave of digital gaming that followed the rise of the internet. But technology moves fast and gaming has evolved at such an incredible rate that online casinos and slot suites are now an established part of the market.
The recent rise and commercial success of eSports, or competitive video gaming, has started to have an influence on games in both the casino and slot genres. This influence is often referred to as 'gamification’ due to the fact traditional casino-style games are now adopting elements of console-style video gaming. The benefits of gamification have even been recognised by businesses who are implementing the practice in office environments to engage employees.
Everything from graphics and sound to story narration and level navigation to unlock content has begun to influence the way that these games are designed. The idea is to give casino and slot games the same kind of immersive gameplay that you might find on a popular video game title such as Call of Duty or FIFA.
Slot machine designers have already upped the ante with the introduction of formats such as dual play slotmachines which allow players to play two separate games linked by a single reel in the centre to produce thousands of payout combinations. But there is an urge to enhance the experience further through gaming elements.
This means more interactive storylines that evolve as the game progresses. In such games, after being welcomed, players are briefed on the back story and a narrative is set. They are then set a goal and this engages them and encourages them to push on to complete the next part of the story.
Sometimes, players will adopt the role of a fictional or famous character and are given adversaries to defeat. This whole narrative runs alongside the more traditional gameplay where they play for fun or to win cash in a casino environment.
"IMG_3197" (CC BY 2.0) by Michel Curi
Milestones may also be set where new content can be unlocked. And progress bars indicate who close a player might be from reaching a target. End of level challenges are also being introduced to give players a video game-style experience. Sounds and visual cues are also used to build players to a crescendo during a level. The music or sound effects make it clear when they are reaching when they are reaching their target, raising adrenaline levels higher.
This crossover between video games and video casinos or slot titles is set to continue. Andfuture casino and slot games may find their own way into the major competitive arena just as eSports have done, the latest example being the introduction of an eSport Premier League.
The use of famous titles from movies and TV in video slot has already captivated players and the more immersive these game become, the more people will want to play them. The only question is where designers and developers will take the genre next, and the next couple of years will be telling.