Online slots have exploded within the past few years and have grown a tremendous amount. In the primal days of the internet, there were only a handful of online slots but that is no longer the case.
The world saw the first online slot in 1998 with Microgaming’s Cash Splash. Whilst, this slot may not be able to hold up to today’s standards, it opened the door for the rest of the iGaming industry to create their own online slots.
Fast-forward to almost 23 years later, and there are easily thousands of online slots available across the world with various mechanics and themes. It’s only natural that some developers have sadly fallen into making common mistakes when it comes to creating their online slots.
Not all developers have plummeted into these traps but a majority of them have started slipping. Thankfully though, these mistakes can be easily spotted and therefore fixed.
Cloning existing slots
Perhaps the biggest blunder comes from blatantly duplicating successful slots. When a developer manages to find a winning formula, it’s only logical that competitors would try to capture this magic for themselves.
Unfortunately, this often comes in the form of replicating what is already there. An example would be the iconic Rich Wilde series from Play’n GO that saw the birth of an adventurer franchise.
After the enormous success of Rich Wilde, it makes sense that many developers would want their own adventurer series. Some managed to do this successfully and create their own unique slot but a majority just created a twin version of Rich Wilde.
According to the experts at Slot Gods, one of the leading sources of independent bias-free online slot reviews with over 500 on their site, developers want to capitalise on the next biggest thing and make sure they get in with the trend.
“Players are intelligent and know exactly when something is blatantly cloned,” say specialists at Slot Gods. “Developers can only get away with this short term and it’s ultimately not worth it in the long run as they’ll lose the player’s trust.”
Oversaturating the genre
Similar to the previous point, if a certain genre or mechanic is doing well within the iGaming world, then developers will try to make the most of this fad. When the classic Cleopatra slot was released from IGT, the industry saw a rise in Egyptian slots.
Although a select few developers managed to deliver something original and unique within the Egyptian genre, a majority follow the same formula as Cleopatra. After the release of Cleopatra, an influx of gold and blue slots set in an ancient Egyptian tomb became unleashed on the world.
“Developers can either fall in line to create something traditional in the genre, or they can revolutionise it entirely,” say the team at Slot Gods. “Quickspin’s Golden Glyph and BF Games’ Book of Gates are prime examples of developers monopolising on a popular genre but reinventing it to create something unique.”
Poor win potentials
In the past few years, there has been a naughty trend of developers giving out misleading win potentials. A slot may boast of an unbelievable payout of 100,000x the bet, but the actual maximum bet level is only 0.20 meaning that the payout won’t be as life-changing as expected.
It becomes an even bigger issue with high maximum payouts that come with an insulting low RTP. The term RTP (also known as return to player) signifies the amount of money as a percentage that the player can expect to receive back over a certain time period.
Anything below 96% is often considered a poor amount – unless there is a jackpot attached. Typically, the standard level is 96% but more and more slots are being released with RTP levels way under this amount which is just an insult to online slot players.
Of course, developers aren’t expected to just give away cash prizes but there has to be a decent chance that players can win. After all, this is a huge part of the thrill of playing online slots and the most appealing part.
A winning formula
These blunders are frustrating to players, but they don’t have to be accepted as the norm for online slots. There are many simple ways to improve these slots and it all starts with the developers putting their own unique stamp on the slot.
A brilliant example comes from Thunderkick’s Esqueleto Explosivo which takes on the Mexican genre and manages to create something spectacular. They manage to turn a genre that is quite oversaturated and make something remarkable in terms of design and gameplay.
The moral of the story is that developers should try to do something different that makes the slot stand out for the players. Ultimately, this could be in the form of an unconventional mechanic, feature or even making it into a live casino game such as is the case with Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt Live.
In the end, committing these mistakes may be the easy route at the time but they will be consequential in the long run. Players want engaging online slots that provide them with entertainment and decent wins, not repetitive gameplay they can get elsewhere or misleading information. Developers should put their unique stamp on the slot and make it something that people want to play.