Why Slots and Video Games Have a Lot to Learn From Each Other

At first sight you might think that they’re worlds apart, After all, video games are activities that reward skill, involve memory and which also require some pretty high levels of manual dexterity. With slots, on the other hand, it’s more a question of paying to spin the reels in a fairly random way, sometimes winning, sometimes not, but always having a fairly low level of overall engagement.

However, there are a number of lessons that the two very different activities can learn from each other and here are just three of them.

Random rewards mean greater engagement

Both video games and slots work on the principle that offering the chance to win rewards will keep players playing. In the case of video games it may be more fuel, ammunition, supplies or just the entry to the next stage of the game. For slots, the rewards are much more straightforward – you win cash. But in the case of the latter those rewards come randomly. You literally do not know from one spin to the next whether you’re going to win. The famous academic and psychologist BF Skinner did a great deal of work into what he called “operant behaviour” and found that when rewards were unexpected and of varying amounts it would keep people interested for longer. So this is definitely another tool that games designers would be well advised to incorporate into their games.

Incentivise, incentivise, incentivise

One thing that online slots sites do very effectively indeed is to incentivise players to choose theirs over the considerable competition. The most widely used technique is the payment of a bonus in order to encourage players to try their particular slots out. There are also a huge number of sites that list, rate and review all the casinos making choosing the ones with the best offers easy. For video games, and particularly free video games, there are literally thousands of new ones that are launched every year and which seem to rely on word of mouth to get players. But if they took a leaf out of the slots sites’ book and actually offered incentives to play such as free in-game purchases then it could give the best ones a real competitive advantage.

Generate involvement

Playing slots games can be a fairly passive experience.  At the end of the day all the player is doing is clicking to spin the reels. Many online slots even have autoplay features that remove the need even for this. In contrast, video games rely on the player being actively involved in decision making and action. So there is a school of thought that’s quickly gaining ground that slots should start incorporating acts of skill, especially if the aim is to start attracting young adults in their late twenties and early thirties who have been brought up on video games.

So it’s undoubtedly true that there is much for both slots and video game developers to learn from each other – and the ultimate beneficiaries will be the players themselves.

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