A pokies machine is just a pokies machine, or is it? The concept seems simple enough, and if you don’t put much thought into it, you may not have realized how much these games are constantly evolving and changing.
In fact, we have come a really long way from the first pokies machine back in the late 1890s, with its lever, three reels, and five static symbols. Beyond getting more complicated and intricate in the land-based casinos, they have, as we all know, made their move online, and increasingly to mobile play. This means some serious technological advances in terms of graphics, user experience, and even pay structures.
So what are the latest trends in online pokies you should know about? Let’s have a look and see what we can find. Operating in a dynamic, fast-growing space like online casinos, we’re sure there are plenty. But for now, we’ll suffice with our top 10 picks in terms of recent pokies trends, either in their heyday today or currently on the rise.
1. Mobile optimized pokies
Mobile pokies play is a trend that has been on the rise for the past decade and is only solidifying in time. If you’ve been around online casinos since their inception, like us, you can certainly recall those primitive days when a mobile pokies game was a rare thing to find. This is not simply a matter of an exaggerated memory; rather a literal reality, wherein even the most reputable of online casinos would have maybe a handful of mobile pokies on offer, max. And this format was so new, that the casino would give you detailed instructions, walking you through the steps of how to download each mobile pokies game on your particular cell phone model.
Wow. How things have changed. Nowadays it is pretty much a given that online pokies are synonymous with mobile pokies. That is, all games are developed for flawless play on any mobile device including iOS iPad and iPhones and Android tablets and smartphones alike. And not as an afterthought, more like as a primary platform. So while older games had to be reprogrammed to convert to the smaller screen format, all new games are explicitly designed to work well on mobile from the get-go. This is an exceptionally strong pokies trend we can all appreciate and makes our pokies play far more accessible.
On a similar stream of thought, it is not just the games that are being mobile optimized. Online casino banking has also gone mobile. That means you can seamlessly move back and forth between your desktop computer and mobile device to play pokies, claim bonuses, and make banking transactions to fund your casino account.
2. Virtual reality games
Once upon a time, video pokies were considered an exciting item. Actually, they still are – especially those with animated reels and video clips wrapped in. But for those looking for a more in-depth and immersive experience, there is actually increasingly a way to take your pokies to play up a level. And that is virtual reality games, which you may see shortened to VR games. While there aren’t yet a massive number of titles available, this is a super-hot space. And many of the big pokies developers including Microgaming, NextGen, and NetEnt (that has already released a VR version of Gonzo’s Quest) are hard at work trying to close the gap and make these games happen both for pokies games as well as table games.
By the ways, if the term sounds familiar, but you can’t picture what virtual gaming is, think of it as essentially 3D gaming, that lets you enter a three-dimensional world and navigate it accordingly. Keep in mind you will need a very strong computer to enjoy this latest pokies trend and a VR headset in all likelihood.
Hand-in-hand with this VR pokies trend is what is called peer-to-peer gambling. Basically, it’s another new format on the horizon that is all about making online gambling more interactive and realistic.
3. Even more advanced security
Online casinos, poker rooms, and sports betting sites have long employed some of the strictest security measures around. And with good reason. This is a very sensitive field with people providing a whole lot of personal data, and a fair bit of cash exchanging hands. As such, online gaming portals are constantly investing in bringing us the latest technology on a security front as well.
For example, one way this may increasingly be felt by us pokies players is in the login the realm. That is, instead of entering your username and password each time you visit your site of choice, you may be identified by your face via facial recognition algorithms which are much on the rise, or your fingerprint. Either one of these methods works well, giving you an additional layer of security, and in many ways, making it easier for you to log in.
4. A move away from the standard reel-spinning machines
In the past, pokies had a very standard build. There were, of course, the original 3-reel machines, which have gradually been overtaken by the 5-reel format. Either way, these machines were easily identifiable thanks to this common mechanism. In recent years, however, the trend is to move away from the familiar and try new ways to present. So what we have are games that barely have reels at all, at least not in a particularly recognizable way. And they play accordingly, often based on setups like clusters as opposed to clearly defined lines. Some might say these end up looking more like classic arcade games than standard slots, which is fair enough, though we don’t necessarily agree.
5. More ways to win
If old-fashioned pokies games were one thing, we’d say they were extremely clear. Once you spun the reels, what you saw was what you got. So if you had three cherries lined up on a fruit machine, that was a win. You didn’t have to think about it at all. Nowadays, things are far more complicated. Games typically have 20 paylines, with many having as many as 50 or 100. More and more these days, there are also games with 243 ways to win, 1024 ways to win, and even more.
The downside is that it is near impossible to the naked eye to figure out how all these lines win work. The upside is that you don’t have to figure it out. The software does it for you, automatically highlighting and paying any winning combination in due course, on the spot. In addition, all these ways to win make your pokies play more exciting. After all, there are so many more ways to land a prize. And that’s what you want at the end of the day.
You may be reading this and finding that we’re throwing around some trendy terms. And if you are like many of us, it’s fair enough that you may need a refresher as to what they mean. So gamification is basically a way in which the design and mechanics of a game are used to enhance participation, loyalty, engagement, and competition. “What the what,” you say? Right, so in simpler terms, or in our case the latest trends in online pokies context, it generally means one of two things.
The first is an emerging niche of pokies games that have different levels which change the game structure. For example, there may be varied bonus features available the longer you play. This keeps you engaged in a particular game, and loyal to it. Hence gamification.
The other is a casino driven loyalty scheme. This is generally expressed in the leaderboard competitions and tournaments you may encounter at different online establishments. What they do is get you engaged with other players as you battle it out to climb to the top of the leaderboard and win valuable prizes (as well as bragging rights). Again, this is a good recipe for loyalty, participation, and engagement – all popular pokies trends and on par with what casinos want from you.
7. Adding an element of skill
Pokies are all about random luck. That is a huge part of their appeal. But online casinos want to appeal to different types of players as well, and even draw traffic in from more skilled types of games.
As such, pokies developers have recently been putting in a bit of effort to add a skill-based element to certain pokies games. These types of pokies haven’t taken off massively just yet, but there is a fair bit of interest around them, and a few instances in which you’ve likely already encountered them. Think of the control you have over the outcome of your game in certain bonus rounds – like the Gamble round in which you choose a black or red card, or when you have to select particular items from a lot during a bonus feature – and you can see how this trend is slowly being implemented.
8. Personalization of play
The up-and-coming personalized pokies trend can be seen in a couple of ways. Some online casinos, for example, have improved their chat functionality, so you can enjoy more personal interactions with other casino members as you play. Others have online pokies that let you control certain elements of the game. Examples of this include choosing the reel symbols from an available list, choosing the number of paylines you would like to activate from those available (which can significantly affect volatility), and even selecting the game background.
This personalized pokies trend is only going to grow going forward, as customization continues to be the name of the game. It will also, by the way, increasingly be felt in bonus offers which will become even more tailored in time, so that you can expect to be getting the types of offers that suit your specific tastes – like free spins on a particular game.
9. Smaller software developers gain a stage
While the big guys are still predominant nowadays in terms of pokies development, many online casinos are taking a risk on the smaller guys to bring new and adventurous things. That means over the next year or so, you should expect to find titles trickling into some of your favorite online casinos by software developers who are only starting to make their mark. And why not really? With hundreds if not thousands of pokies in their repertoire, online casinos can certainly afford to give new development houses a try. This gives you the player access to unfamiliar games, which is always a good thing. Plus, the casino gets bragging rights as the first to have a certain game with new technologies. It’s a win-win situation for all!
10. Increased gambling regulation
Fear not. This last trend is not to scare you, nor should you worry that online pokies will suddenly be banned in Australia. Rather increased online gambling regulation can be seen as a positive thing. For instance, there may be stronger laws implemented around the world regarding gambling licensing and registration, with governments increasingly taking an active role to ensure its citizens remain safe as they gamble in cyberspace. These kinds of laws can help protect players from illicit sites that could potentially rip you off, ensure all transactions are above board and legit whether for bonus spins or real cash and even influence the ease in which you can withdraw your winnings. In addition, they help prevent problem gambling, and ensure you have where to turn should the need arise. In other words, increased gambling regulation is a positive pokies trend that we should all embrace.
There are, of course, other pokies trends happening these days. For example, with all the rage around blockchain, some reviewers would add cryptocurrency to the list, though we don’t really see that happening anytime soon. We could be wrong obviously, but we’re guessing otherwise.
The point is, pokies and the world of online casinos are part of a dynamic industry, with new trends and styles emerging all the time. And while we can spot certain trends on the rise, rest assured there are plenty of exciting developments taking place under the radar which will seemingly pop up to our great delight. This means if you are someone who enjoys new things there is a lot for you to anticipate, for a long time to come. And we look forward to seeing how the latest trends in online pokies continue to unfold.