With the continued proliferation of online gaming accompanied by the Eilers & Krejcik Online Game Performance Report started in mid-2021, we see an urgent need to understand the similarities (and differences) between the online slot market and its land-based counterpart.
Some of the similarities between the online space and a traditional casino are obvious. We see games that are popular in casinos also soar in the ranks on the online side. For example, consider Light & Wonder’s 88 Fortunes and Jin Ji Bao Xi Endless Treasure themes consistently rank in the top 25 online slots and do well in traditional casinos. Other big suppliers like IGT and Everi are present in both areas too. Signature titles like Cleopatra (IGT) and Cash Machine (Everi) deliver exceptional performance in both casino realms.
With guidance from the Eilers & Krejcik attribute dashboards, we consider other similarities. Free Games seems to be a must in both environments with most themes using this feature. On the online side, we see significant use of Hold & Spin and Cash on Reels (see Figure 1). To a lesser extent, land-based themes utilize these items. On the topic of thematic designs, we see more similarities namely rich, thoughtful motifs that take the player to a world of adventure appear in both segments. Asian-inspired themes as well as references to Ancient Egypt and Greece are popular.
Meanwhile, there are appreciable differences. Consider the MegaWays technology patented by Big Time Gaming. MegaWays games can generate 117,649 paylines in the base game giving an extra volatile ride. Other similarly functioning technology includes Reel Play’s 10,000 Wonder 10K Ways giving the players 10,000 ways to win. These styles of games take a noteworthy portion of the top 25 online slots (see Figure 1). This is particularly interesting, because we seldom see land-based themes offering more than 720 or 1,024 ways in the base game. It may be possible that increasing ways to win in the base game is the next step in introducing additional volatility in land-based themes.
Another notable difference is Slingo (slot + bingo) and Instant Win style games on the online side. Slingo games combine both elements from slots and bingo games. On the land-based side, the only remotely comparable game would be Aristocrat’s Cashman Bingo. Even then, Cashman Bingo is certainly not a Slingo substitute. Instant Win styles from Design Works Gaming like Break the Bounty and Flippin Rich are also very successful in the Eilers & Krejcik Online Game Performance Report hitting #1 and #5 in the overall online game segment. Despite not looking anything like a typical slot, these games from Design Works Gaming deliver excitement through multipliers and bonus prizes.
There are also huge opportunities for the online side to borrow successful features used in land-based themes. Most top games on the land-based side are accompanied by a progressive meter. We also see ubiquitous utilization of persistent state mechanisms in land-based themes while typically not taken advantage of by online slots (see Figure 1). Unsurprisingly, we see more Expanding Reels in land-based themes. Typically complemented by vertical portrait screens, this is one feature that may not make sense on a game that is played on a mobile device.
As online gaming matures, we anticipate seeing more crossover of the successful features used in either gaming realm. We document these attributes and trends in the Eilers & Krejcik Game Attribute Dashboard accessible by premium users. Eilers & Krejcik will be available at both the ICE and NIGA tradeshows in April. Please reach out to Brendan Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a demonstration.
Figure 1: % of Top 25 Slots with Select Feature
Source: Eilers & Krejcik Game Attribute Database, Eilers & Krejcik Game Performance Report – March ’22, Eilers & Krejcik Online Game Performance Report – March ‘22
Brendan Moore is Manager, Slot Performance & Analytics for Eilers & Krejcik Gaming