Feature Combo Frenzy: Triple-Pot Dominates 2023’s Slot Design

2023 was a record year for U.S. gaming, driven primarily by slot performance, as is typically the case. When it comes to dissecting trends among top-performing games, there are none better than Brendan Moore (l.), director of slot performance and analytics at EKG.

Feature Combo Frenzy: Triple-Pot Dominates 2023’s Slot Design

If one were to characterize the key product motifs of core video in the slot market, it would likely be as follows: 2021 was the year of True Persistence. In 2022, Perceived Persistence was a modal feature. In 2023, it was impossible to pass a supplier at G2E without their version of “triple-pot.” Or as we like to call it internally, “Feature Combo.”

2023 ended with 64 percent of the top 25 New Core Video with Feature Combo attributes, an increase from 36 percent from the same time last year. As the year concluded, a staggering 100 percent of the top 10 games had this feature. Yes – you read that right: 100 percent!

Diving into the numerous expressions of this trend, game developers experimented with blending the Feature Combo with traditional bonuses, resulting in exciting combinations including Free Games (Samurai 888 – IGT), Hold & Spin (Big Hot Flaming Pots – Light & Wonder), Wheel (Karma Kat – Aristocrat), and Pick Bonus games (Mega Money Catch – Incredible).

Regarding other innovations, we’ve observed several ideas, especially with emphasis on how players acquire bonuses. Players want to feel like the feature not only has potential but the journey to get into the bonus doesn’t feel like a slog.

Additionally, we’ve recently recorded for the first time in our database a core video theme deploying a “Buy Bonus” feature (Coin Trio – Aristocrat). A popular feature in online casino slots, this wager allows the player to buy directly into the bonus. Coin Trio is the only game we’ve seen with this property so it’s impossible for us to tell the marginal impact of this option, although some YouTubers seem to like it.

Despite the flow of new features, a lot of things haven’t changed. Asiatic artistic influence still maintains a healthy share of the genres—hovering around 1/3 over the past few years. Meanwhile, airy and whimsical themes seem to be popular. Consider Bluberi’s Devil’s Lock with a focal point of a cute Devil feature who occasionally unlocks cash-on-reel prizes or even jackpots.

Players still also look for jackpot levels. Buffalo Gold, the paragon example suggesting the opposite, is likely the exception and not the rule for top games.

In Figure 1, we evaluate the top properties of the top 10 new core video slots in the latest Game Performance Report covering December 2023 data. We provide similar views for the top 5 and top 25 games in our exclusive reporting.

DISCLAIMER: Eilers & Krejcik Game Performance Database (GPD) tracks core video themes in the North American market. With over 60 attributes tracked in addition to other characteristics, such as game types (i.e., Hold & Spin) and theme artwork, our report aims to provide insights into game qualities that generate performance.

We also provide monthly reports on emerging trends in the land-based Video Reel environment which often serves as a leading indicator for adjacent markets. The reporting and the full data set is exclusively available to Premium GPD subscribers. The dataset is refreshed as new Core Video themes hit the GPD keeping operators, vendors, and designers privy to the common properties of top games.

Figure 1: % of Top 10 New Core Video Themes with Select Attribute

Source: Eilers & Krejcik Attributes Database and Eilers & Krejcik Game Performance Report, January ‘24

Articles by Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is slot analytics manager at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC. Contact him at bmoore@ekgamingllc.com to learn more about participating in the Eilers & Krejcik game performance database.