There is much anticipation building for the online release of the video slot machine game Battlestar Galactica in December. This classic sci-fi thriller has millions of fans world-wide and is sure to be a hit. There is a unique feature to this game that has me most intrigued.
My prediction for slot machines has always been they will become more and more like video games. As the video game generation (Generation X and Y) gets older, they don’t want to hit a button and see three bars line-up. They need more excitement and video slots have certainly provided that over the last several years. From HD graphics to Bose surround sound; this isn’t your Grandmother’s one-arm bandit. These are modern day video games where you can win a lot of money.
Battlestar Galactica has a loyalty feature where you will earn points based on your play and “rank-up” to experience different features and uncover hidden aspects of the game. I’m assuming you will be able to keep your points from one session to the next and not be limited by only one single playing session to build points. Depending on how this is implemented, I think it can be brilliant. However, I hope the slot manufacturers don’t find a way to screw it up and not make it as fun as it could be.
This is what I envision. As you move up in rank you receive experience points like many of the first person shooter video games. As your level increases so do totally new bonus rounds, multipliers, wild cards, etc. You get to experience all new bonus features instead of the same bonuses over and over again.
All of that will be unique and a lot of fun, but here is the “kicker” for me. As you move up in rank so should the payback percentage of the machine. In other words, let’s say the machine is set at 90% payback when you begin play. As you increase your rank the payback should go up for you as well, maximizing at 98-99% for very high level players. This is where I think the slot manufacturers and casinos will differ from my opinion. They have long been under the belief that you reduce the payback percentages to increase your bottom line. I disagree. I believe people will play where they have a fair chance of winning, and would love the idea of being rewarded with a higher payback for their loyal play. This is a chance for a player to not only be rewarded with cool new bonuses, but a better chance of leaving with some cash in their pocket.
We’ll keep an eye out and see how this new feature catches on and see what it really offers, and if players are buying into it or not. I’m still waiting for slot machines to offer bonus rounds based on skill and then I’m all-in. I was never big on the old three reel slot machines (even though those usually have the best payback for slots, especially the $1 and higher denominations), but as the video slots have evolved so has my interest. The bonus rounds, the great graphics and sound, the various themes, have all peaked my interest, but nothing like a bonus round where the more bad guys you shoot and kill the more points you get. The bonus rounds that are out now that are similar are determined by the RNG and your selection, but not by any sort of skill.
Again, I’m sure it would depend how it was implemented and they would probably come up with some type of limitation on it, but if they ever come out with a slot machine where the bonus round is based on skill and can be beat with the right skills, my blackjack, sports gambling, and video poker careers are over. I’ll be a slot maniac.