The slots world has a lot on its plate right now, with casino operators wanting a new way to attract millennials. And this has led to gamemakers working on skill-based slot machines, which will hit Nevada casino floors in 2016. But can the slots industry eventually take things a bit further by delving into eSports? Let’s discuss this matter by covering the explosion of eSports along with how slots can fit in.
Games like Hearthstone are experiencing a Big Popularity Boom
When the average person thinks of eSports, they envision first-person-shooter games that are only played by hardcore video gamers. But the eSports realm is expanding to include card games like Hearthstone. Created by Blizzard just a year and a half ago, Hearthstone has already attracted 30 million players worldwide. Among these are professional poker players like Daniel Negreanu and Bertrand Grospellier, who see Hearthstone as a very competitive hobby.
Speaking of poker, some of the game’s biggest entrepreneurs like Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov and Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus are figuring out ways that they can incorporate eSports elements and make this classic more exciting. No details have been leaked on the matter yet, but given that Baazov and Dreyfus are two of the industry’s biggest figureheads, we can only imagine that they’ll find a great way to blend the two.
How can Slots and eSports come together?
The current plan for skill-based slots is for the skill element to affect around 5%-10% payback. So if you were playing a slot with a base payback of 88%, you could perhaps increase this to 98% payback if you are very good at the second-screen bonus rounds. These slot games will not, however, give you an opportunity to beat the house edge through skill.
But when it comes to slot tournaments, which are very popular at online casinos, this could be altered because players are competing against each other – not the house. So the games could possibly be changed to include more bonus rounds and more skill-based play, thus allowing good players to win more often. And sure, these slot tournaments would still have you spin the reels to keep the luck element involved; but they would also have more of an eSports angle to attract more millennials.
However, for now, it seems like the slots industry just needs to focus on doing as well with skill-based games as they can. Then as a further spike, casinos/gamemakers could start introducing eSports-style tournaments.