The Evolution of the Slot Machine
The slot machine industry is one that has always been central to the success of casinos and their increase in popularity online over recent years has only helped them to adapt to the modern era of casino gaming. Although slot machines, as we know them today are still based on the initial concept of spinning reels, they are totally different from the first slots that were invented back in 1894. They offer a huge amount of themes and winning combinations, state of the art graphics and sound and an endless number of side games and bonuses. They are colourful, entertaining and exciting and can be played on your computer, mobile phone or in a land based casino. This is their story.
When It All Began
It was back in 1894 that the slot machine was first invented and it was given the name of a “one-armed bandit”. It is believed that a Bavarian car mechanic, called Charles Fey, who lived in the US was the man behind the first ever machine.
They soon became popular in bars and saloons across the US. By 1898, Fey had gone on to develop the first 3 reel machines. Just one year later, Fey invented the iconic Liberty Bell slot. It was the first slot that resembled the machines we see in casinos today.
The Era of the Video Slot Machines
It was in 1975 when the first video slot machines were introduced to the market by developer Fortune Coin Company. They were controlled by microchips and used the latest Sony technology.
For these machines, the reels would appear inside a video screen with, what was then considered, cutting edge graphics. Their introduction took a while to grip the casino players with many deeming them to be simply a fad but they soon became very popular.
They offered a range of themes including Egyptian, Western, Greek, Roman, and branded movies to add more variety to the market. It took them more into the main stream as they became linked in with other brands and genres.
Moving into the Online Market
1994 saw the dawn of a new period of slot machine gaming. They made the inevitable transition to the online market. Online slots were able to sync up with progressive jackpots that were being offered by developers such as IGT, Microgaming, and Playtech. The number of themes increased to the point where today you can find hundreds of slots themes in every casino. Games structures also evolved and slots now have tens of pay lines. This means that winning combinations are far more varied. The programming required to develop these slots online also means that developers can create templates and release slots at a quicker rate without worrying about producing a physical form.
Another exciting innovation in the online world is that of the free games. Many sites now offer free slot machines. Take for example the site Novibet online casino which offers free play versions of some of the most exciting games on the market.
The online slots industry has gone from strength to strength with the record ever jackpot win achieved online being won on the Mega Moolah slots title by Microgaming at a value of £13.2 million.
Over recent years, the industry has taken the expected step into the mobile market. A large number of casinos have released web-based or app-based mobile products that host mobile versions of online slots. This enables players to enjoy their favourite games on the move. The mobile market is showing no signs of slowing down with global revenues exceeding $12 billion at the end of 2015.
The evolution of slots has shown no sign of slowing down and is showing no limit to its bounds. As technology and software become more elaborate, the potential for slots and their development becomes more exciting with it. Virtual reality gaming is taking on a more influential role in the mainstream and that is a potential next step. That is the most thrilling aspect of slot the industry. There is no telling what developers will release next.