Casino analysts see sports bettors transitioning to the online casino due to the lack of sports betting options. In the meantime, other punters are searching for new and more exciting gaming opportunities. Slots designers and online casino operators are coming to the conclusion that it’s in their best interests to change their approach to how they design new no deposit bonus codes slots.
Many online casinos are making a concerted effort to change their approach to game design. The changes range from higher Return To Players to lower minimum stakes, from more features to higher volatility. All this is in an effort to make their casinos more attractive and enticing to both low-budget and VIP gamers.
Some of the coming changes under consideration include:
Return to Players
Some slots games are starting to feature higher RTPs. Whereas some of the older games offered RTPs of 95% or less, many of today’s slots give RTPs of between 96% to 97.5%. Slots gamers are more sophisticated than ever and many look at a game’s RTP before they sign in to play. They want to know that they have the highest possible possibility of winning and they’re prepared to do their research to make sure that that happens.
Slots analyst Scott McKay believes that slot developers are creating games with higher RTPs because they want to appeal to customers who are hit by the tanking economic situation and are looking for entertainment that is affordable and gives them some bang for their buck. He says that, by offering low-risk games, there’s more of an appeal to more people.
Some online casinos are now operating in markets where governments have restricted bonusing. Kravchuk suggests that, by offering a higher RTP, the casinos can reach out to new players in a way that won’t come in conflict with local regulators. One example is Sweden which is regulating its market more stringently. Online casinos that can present slot game options to local players with RTPs in the 97% bracket have a cost-effective marketing edge that positions them to acquire and retain a larger casual player base.
Game designers have been playing with offering variable RTPs on the same games. That means that, for example, a gamer can choose whether s/he wants to play the game with a 96% RTP or a 97% RTP. Increased revenue pressure on suppliers is the main reason for such offers but many game developer companies object, saying that such variable options come at the expense of transparency for the gamer and therefore, isn’t a fair way to market the game.
Industry insider A.K. says, “It all depends which market the operator is targeting. The same game can have a higher RTP on one operator and lower on the other. Having the flexibility to choose from different math profiles allows operators to balance between engagement and the player’s lifetime value. Where the math profile itself hits its limits, promotional tools, such as our own Bullseye suite, allow operators to test and learn about other performance indicators.”
Casino operators are cognizant that attracting new gamers is only half the battle – the other half involves retaining them. Designer Oliver Castleman points out that if a gamer plays for an extended amount of time and doesn’t experience some success, s/he’s not going to return. That’s why, says Castleman, it’s worthwhile to offer a higher RTP. When the customer wins more, s/he’s more likely to return to play again and again.
When all is said and done, both casino operators and game developers are aware that the most important amenity that they can offer is a gaming experience that’s friendly and engaging. The question, however, is whether to raise the RTP or lower stakes – which change will draw in and retain more players. How many players really understand what the RTP is all about? Should that take precedence over lowering the stakes?
Volatility is another aspect of the slots that’s being examined. Designers must weigh the pros of attracting a higher percentage of casual players over the potential dangers of deterring more serious slots aficionados. Many slots designers are now focusing their efforts on figuring out how to cater to both types of players in the same game.
To meet this challenge, much focus is being put on creating games that are mechanically interesting, visually appealing and intuitive. That means that, within one game, there should be a variety of features – free spins, gamble features, feature buys, variance options and more. In this way, a single game can cater to a variety of preferences.
The designers are well aware that they’re not going to be able to please everyone within any one game. The question is, what is the best way to appeal to multiple player types at once? Castleman thinks that the key should involve diversity in the overall portfolio of games offered, as opposed to diversity within each game. “Diversity is essential,” he said. “There is no magic formula which can please every player, but the focus must be on producing a wide variety of entertainment experiences….a single game may not always cater to the full spectrum of players, but your offering as a whole should accommodate a diverse range of experience levels.”
Some game developers are promoting the idea that game development is basically about the maths which determines the type of player that the game will attract. If you develop a game in order to provide a high-volatility proposition, they say, it’s simply not possible to cater simultaneously to the casual player.
Yet there are still things that can be done to broaden the appeal such as offering multiple types of features for in-game events. Kravchuk’s team is now focusing on a diverse portfolio as opposed to trying to develop games that please multiple types of player.
A new approach involves strategies that appeal to multiple players within one game. Buy-in features, customizable mechanics and more are already being employed by some designers. His company, he said, is diversifying the games rather than their portfolio. One of the design companies that is experimenting with such a strategy shares that the company's offerings aim to contain slots that balance feature sets and varying volatilities. They are also experimenting with different types of instant win games so that players have more choices.
Many industry observers applaud such an approach. It's beneficial, they say, for everyone involved. VIP players have the option to pay for increased win potential whilst low stakes players have access to all the fun aspects of a fun slot machine.
Many slots designers and casino operators have come to the conclusion that, even when paired with low min bets, high volatility games that feature good game mechanics and a relatively high hit rate meet the criteria for both acquisition and retention.