Slot Development Trends 2021
We’ve been right about the main trends for 2020, and below you can find info on the trends that we’re seeing in slot machine development for 2021. Players tend to change their tastes and expectations, and a well designed slot machine is increasingly required, in order for a game to become popular, especially if it’s average where it matters most. Obviously, if it pays well, then that’s the only thing that matters.
Read on, to find out more about the trends we’re expecting to see in 2021:
- Online slot machines are rising in popularity: people are forced to stay more at home, as land-based casinos are temporarily closed in some countries. This changes the habits of many players, and they might not go back to land-based locations once they become accustomed to online gaming sites. As the first 6+ months of 2021 are likely going to be the same, online casinos and their slot machines are only going to become more popular.
- Megaways will become common: now that even Microgaming has obtained the license from Big Time Gaming, I expect that we will get more Megaways slots than we can handle. Hopefully, some of them will innovate as well, and it’s not just going to be all about standard Megaways mechanics with new themes.
- High volatility slots will remain popular: now that we got used to them, and to the huge potential that they offer, I expect that we will keep seeing slots pushing the boundaries and delivering bigger and bigger top wins.
- Even more challengers trying to dethrone Megaways: even Big Time Gaming is attempting it, with new systems like Megaquads, but they’re not the only ones. We’ve seen the Red Rake Million Ways system fizzle out and failing to become popular so far, but others keep trying to offer similar systems, relying mostly one expanding reels. From Hyper Pays, to Cluster Pays, and plenty of others, slot machines keep moving away from the regular payline system.
- Small companies find it easier than ever to get attention: Microgaming started it all with their independent partner studios, but there are others doing the same thing now, such as YGS Masters from Yggdrasil. Other bigger companies which are helping small developers get noticed, include the likes of Leander Games and Relax Gaming. I think that there will be more opportunities like this, where big providers use their reach to help launch new developers.
- Unfortunately, more developers will offer RTP ranges: the casino always wins, yes, but it doesn’t mean that it always earns a lot. Increasingly tough regulations that have to be followed, big taxes, along with all the other expenses associated with running an online casino, have chopped away at their profits. There is an increasing demand for slot machines with RTP ranges, where casinos can choose the return, and developers are obliging, one by one. NetEnt is one of those that will do it in 2021, along with others like Red Tiger, Play n GO or Pragmatic Play.
Popular 2021 Upcoming Developers
With Microgaming signing on new independent studios to create their slots for them, and with companies like Yggdrasil following their lead (YGS Masters), we find that the list continues to expand. Leander Games does it, as does Relax Gaming. I’ve even noticed some small companies contributing to multiple providers.
Some of those small developers have gotten our attention, and I’d mention there companies like AvatarUX (and their PopWins series), Gameburger Studios and Hungry Bear (collaborating with Leander Games). Other mentions of developers that I’d like to see more of next year, would include Pulse 8 Studios, Stormcraft Studios, Neon Valley Studios and 4ThePlayer.
New Slot Features
Developers are racing each other and attempting to launch new and exciting mechanics, especially the kind that come with high volatility and the big rewards that would be associated with them. Finding a new way to deliver a huge number of ways to win seems to be the way to go from most of them (Megaquads, Million Ways, Splitz), while some go a different route (Gigablox mechanic, to give one example).
What we can expect to see in 2021? We haven’t seen the end of the high volatility trend, that’s for sure. We might get lower RTP settings on average, but the features will only get better from here. I can’t wait to see what new and old developers will come up with, to get our attention.