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Respect the slots, if you have the skill for it

All of you gamers out there must be thinking – slots? Please! What do we, dedicated, experienced and highly skilled first person shooters and fantasy sports strategists have anything to do with a mere chance game? That’s for the tourist crowds that descend upon Vegas and Atlantic City on weekends and national holidays, ripping through their penny bags.


Well, you are right, and you are wrong. First of all the slot machines of today are mighty different than the image you have in mind. Forget about Fruit & Liberty Machines. The slots of today are as high def as the 4K screen you are dying to buy, graphically advanced as any console game and offer a no-less immersive experience than digging pixelated squares.

But I know what you’re thinking. All of this is nice, and kudos to the slot industry for raising the bar on the experience itself. Still, no skill is involved and that’s where you basically lose interest.

So hold your horses, check them for oil and water and download their over-the-air 10.14.16 Beta release. Which is to say – skills are coming to slots, and real soon.

Skill Up And Spin That Reel

Computer games, and before them video games, were always based on skills. It was always their big attraction, as opposed to Monopoly where the dice call the shots and you are merely a physical instrument. Which makes sense. How long can you hold your attention to a game you have no control over its outcome?

Still, slots, for the past century, managed to keep players glued to their screens even sans-control. How come? Because when you stand a chance to win real money, let’s just say, you find some extra pockets of patience within you.

And online slots, don’t even get me started on these. They have become immensely popular in recent years, in countries that don’t find a difference between placing a bet in a physical building or online. International Slot Spinners are all over new sites that are popping up rapidly like nasty tweets after a Kanye meltdown.


Because, buddy, they are fun. Their secret sauce? You can win real money. You can keep playing ‘social slots’ all you want but that’s like licking a strawberry jam jar, from the outside.

Nonetheless, the good folks at the slot industry, although no big crisis is looming (80% of all floor-space in every casino in the world are devoted to slot machines!) decided to take slots to the next level and are now brewing skill-based slots.

What Is A Skill-Based Slot?

In the simplest of terms, it is a game of slot that lets the player’s skills influence the ebb and flow of cash. Chance is still looming large in skill-based-slots, like it is in poker or blackjack, but it gives the player a stage to hone his skills and win big.

Some examples. Scientific Games Corp. is about to release Space Invaders Evolution, a video reel slot machine where the bonus round is composed of the iconic Space Invaders scenario – shooting down alien ships while avoiding their missiles to earn jackpot points. Think Independence Day where Will Smiths wins a massive chunk of cash at the end.

IGT is releasing Texas Tea Pinball where the bonus round of the video spinning reel game is a ‘traditional’ pinball where players – skilled players – can earn large rewards.

Indeed, both examples have a strong scent of nostalgia and are aimed at the older crowd, but this is just the beginning. You can bet your PS4 console that the day when you can shoot for money is not that far off.

What’s Ahead

Now that the slot industry has its foot on the gas paddle, we can expect rapid development of the skill-based niche in order to attract younger players. The most important thing they need to figure out? Here is what Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight had to say: “Manufacturers and operators are trying to determine the optimal mix of skill and randomness in game payout.”

That’s basically it – finding that magical point where chance and skill live in harmony. And there’s stuff to expect. Next Gaming is working on a skill-based slot version for Guitar Hero, and G2 Game Design promises that “tank battles and airplane dogfights” are coming to a slot near you. Finally we’ll get to shoot stuff for money.


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