Online slot machines, virtual slots, or just plain old ‘slots’, however you like to refer to them, there is no doubt that they are among the most popular of all gambling-related games in the world today. Slots are everywhere, from traditional brick and mortar casinos, to pubs, horse racing tracks, and even at your local bingo hall, there’s just no escaping them.
Of course, with the advent of the internet, the humble slot machine also underwent an evolution of its own, and quickly became the most played game on the web. Every online casino worth its salt will feature at least a hundred different virtual slots that you can choose from. In fact, the latest online casinos that have launched onto the web over the past two or three years often feature over a thousand different slot titles!
To the uninitiated, slots can seem a bit too simplistic or even monotonous, nothing close to the challenge or the thrill you would maybe get from more sophisticated and complex games like roulette or blackjack.
However, today's virtual slot machines are a far cry from the type of slots your parents or even your grandparents played decades ago. You know the type, simple three-reel affairs with a single payline and a range of standard fruit symbols, lucky horseshoes, bars and lucky sevens dotted around those three little reels. Sure, there were bells and lights on some of the better ones that would go off if you won, but for the most part, decorative features were kept to a minimum.
With the rise of computer technology, software developers were able to change that to an astonishing degree. Today’s video slots are light years away from the original slot machines and, while they still retain the basic format of paylines over spinning reels, the way they deliver an end user experience, is vastly different.
How Slot Games Have Evolved Based on Social Input
While the demand for a given product has always taken into consideration its target market (to a certain degree), the digital age has made the supplier/consumer relationship much tighter and more immediate. This is especially true for online slots, where themes, storylines, styles and all sorts of other content can be dictated via social feedback along with whatever might be trending on social media at any one time.
With the demand for top quality virtual slots always high, software developers like Microgaming, NetEnt and Swedish powerhouse, Yggdrasil, have their work cut out for them. Coming up with the next big thing is not always easy, but it is certainly essential in an industry where competition is everything.
Demographics play a key role in shaping the direction as well as the content of the next batch of slots released to top online casinos and, in turn, to ever-eager online slots consumers. In order to make their particular slot release more attractive to an audience already well-seasoned with today’s technology, developers have to decide what elements to include, and which to leave out.
For most slot fans, there are a number of features that would make them play a given slot. Either the draw card is the huge jackpot associated with that particular game, or the special, exciting features that turn the game into an adrenaline-fuelled thrill ride. With certain slot games, it’s the well-thought out and intricately woven story line that is just to die for. Which one slot fans go for will depend entirely on their personality type and their goals or motivation for playing slots in the first place. Some want to try and win as much money as they can, while others prefer to be entertained and dazzled for a few hours, escaping from the pressures that modern reality is so full of.
Why Story-Based Slots Appeal to Certain Demographics More Than Others
Gender and its effect on various aspects of our lives is a hot ticket item in many conversations around the world. From politics to sports, gender and its effects are being studied by various groups, universities and other interested parties. For us casino gamers, gender is also an interesting topic, since it can indicate a great deal about the online casino industry as a whole.
Some recent studies have shown that gender can influence the types of games we choose to play. For instance, on average, most men will rather choose slightly more intensive or challenging casino games like blackjack or poker, while most women will tend to opt for games that are more relaxing or more socially orientated such as bingo games or video slots.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and there are plenty of women that can hold their own at the poker or blackjack table, and there are plenty of guys that love slots too.
However, sticking to the rather vast world of slots, the types of slots that the sexes play differs quite a bit. For instance, when it comes to the more adventure-based slots such as the recent spate of Viking themed slots, various shoot-em-ups, officially licensed comic book slots (Marvel etc) or high intensity and fast-paced slots, men tend to gravitate in this direction.
The same can be said for slots that offer high reward such as progressive jackpot slots (Mega Moolah) and games that feature multiple bonus rounds that require the player to complete certain complex combinations or related tasks.
On the other hand, females (for the most part) tend to enjoy slots that feature complex story lines and relatable characters that they can empathise with and ultimately root for. Again, this is not something that is carved in stone as there are plenty of guys that enjoy a good story-based slot, however, guys will still pick an element of adventure included with that story line more often than not (Gonzo’s Quest being a prime example).
Some surveys have also revealed that females will choose a storey-based slot over one that offers significantly higher rewards. This includes slots that offer comparatively lower payouts than high reward/high risk slots.
So, what’s the reason for female players opting for better stories in slots over better rewards?
In general, it seems that female players are hardwired to be more socially aware, while males are hardwired to seek direct results from their ventures. In other words, females enjoy a more relaxed environment where they can explore their world, talk, solve issues, get involved with the characters that populate their favourite narrative and so forth. This is also one of the reasons for the seemingly endless popularity of day time soap operas, or the incredible success of online bingo chat rooms. Women enjoy blending their social needs with their gaming needs, and storey-based slots are very good at filling that niche.
By contrast, males are far more results orientated, and will generally seek out slots that feature a definitive objective or a jackpot that is worth chasing down. These types of slots will generally feature far more bonus features, special symbols and other elements that are designed to help players, or are geared towards amassing a big enough jackpot to knock out. You’ll often find that these types of slots tend to skimp significantly on the storey aspect and push the technical aspects a lot more.
Of course, when it comes to online slots (or brick and mortar slots for that matter), nothing is carved in stone or absolute. You’ll still be able to find plenty of slots that are able to satisfy both sides of the market, delivering cool story lines with achievable jackpot goals. The afore-mentioned Gonzo’s Quest is a great example, as are other slots like Immortal Romance, Game of Thrones, Tomb Raider, A Dragon’s Story and many others.
What’s Better, the Journey or the Destination?
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing slots, players tend to fall into two categories, those that enjoy the journey, looking out the window at all the pretty scenery, and those that only focus on the destination, trying to find the most efficient way to get there.
Slots, like anything, are subjective and it is always important to choose them based on your own personality and objectives. Do most females prefer story over reward when it comes to choosing slots? Research would indicate that this is indeed the case. Does it mean that females are not interested in rewards? Absolutely not.
There’s no reason to believe that female slots don’t enjoy rewards for their efforts as much as men do. After all, who doesn’t enjoy triggering a huge jackpot worth millions that can change your life in a heartbeat?
The main takeaway here is that, for the most part, female players prefer to take it easy, relax and unwind with a slot that they can truly invest not only their money, but perhaps a little bit of their heart and soul in too. Today's online slots market reflects this trend as well, and you’ll find hundreds of slots from top software brands including NetEnt, Microgaming, Betsoft and others, complete with epic story lines, incredibly charming and endearing characters and plenty of winning opportunities too.