New Slots Unveiled At the Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi
Slot manufacturers showed off their new wares at the annual Southern Gaming Summit in Mississippi, which has been bringing together gaming professionals and regulators to examine new trends and developments in the industry since 2009. The three-day event had a number of conferences, guest speakers and round-table meetings, but the main point of interest was the new machines on offer from major manufacturers.
A major focus of the summit was on how slot machine manufacturers can attract younger audiences to replace a fading core customer base. The theme that most companies seem to be embracing is implementing skill-based elements into slots. These elements are similar to those in video games, particularly extremely popular mobile phone games. There was also much talk of updating the look and feel of slot casinos to cater more to the taste of Millennials.
Though that appears to be the general game plan for the future, new offerings this year were more traditional. Aristocrat debuted new licenses for their existing Arc and Wonder Wheels cabinets, such as "Game of Thrones", "Britney Spears" and "Superman." They also debuted "The Big Bang Theory" in their 9’9” Behemoth cabinet. Incredible Technologies also had new themes on display for their Infinity cabinet including "Money Rain", which features the Scatter Ways system that offers over 25,000 different ways to win. They also debuted "Fired Up", "Lady Of The Dead", and the sequel to "Crazy Money" which features a four-level progressive jackpot.
AGS had their "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader" and "Family Feud" machines on display. These machines have been in operation for some time, but show a little of what slot manufacturers have planned for the future. These each feature interactive quiz bonus rounds that play out similar to their respective shows. "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader" has players gradually work through five grade levels of questions and allows them to choose a "helper" that provides different types of assistance prior to each question. The "Family Feud" bonus round actually uses a picture of the player taken by a camera in the machine, placing them up against a virtual family. The game randomly chooses a question from its database of 1000 and the player chooses from potential answers, with the bonus round ending when the player racks up three strikes.
IGT also had new technology on display with their Sphinx 3D machine. The machine features an integrated eye-tracking system that constantly adjusts the image according to the player's position, so that they continually see the game in 3D even if they shift around. Players are also able to use this feature to look around in bonus environments. For example, during the "Ancient Wheel" bonus round, players are able to actually look around and behind the wheel to see all the values on it.
While there weren't a huge amount of new machines or revolutionary developments on display, the technology integrated into these modern machines gave conference attendees a peek at the exciting developments on the way for slot machine gaming.
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