You might know gaming, but have you ever heard of community slots (also known as “co-op slots” and “multiplayer slots”)? In a nutshell, they’re a type of online slot that you can play in a virtual slots room with other players. You can chat to them and watch them spin. You can keep an eye on what they win. You can work together. Let’s dive deeper.
If you already play online slots regularly, you’ll know that there’s a lot of variety out there in the industry, as operators do battle with the rest of the market to bring out the best games, attract new players, and retain existing ones. The fact that there’s another type of online slot out there shouldn’t surprise you; it doesn’t stop the slots themselves being brilliant, though!
Community slots allow you and several other players — as many as six — to all log in and play the game. The fact you can interact with your buddies while you play the game adds a real social element — they’re not merely social just because social media have integrated them into their platforms. They provide a real way out from the loneliness that can sometimes emerge from playing alone, and you can transform games into a social event.
As well as the excitement of winning together, it’s a chance to show off or at least to engage in some friendly rivalry. Who will collect the most points? Who will collect the most trophies? Who will achieve the most for the team during the game? It’s not a tournament, but the fact that such games exist out there on social media should lead players to expect that there will be opportunities to compete in tournaments, even though the other players may or may not be in your team.
Social casinos have been on the block since around 2000, but they only really started to get big around 2012 when social media well and truly exploded. Platforms were tracking millions of likes and comments, and millions of people were registering with the platforms each day. Online gambling was already becoming popular. A creative mind in the social media sphere had the brainwave of integrating games into the platform and the concept of “social casino” was born. It’s a format that suits the casinos involved and suits the millennials, and it taps into the need of the latter to communicate and have fun at the same time. Everyone wins.
Social media lovers may enjoy logging into a platform and gambling with their friends, but community slots aren’t as popular with online casino operators. What’s going on there? Why could this be?
Online casino operators may feel slightly annoyed at the concept of social gaming, since, in principle, the former try to offer an experience as close to authentic land-based casinos as possible. Whereas social casino gaming may involve purchasing credits to play and, depending on the region (or possibly the platform itself) won’t necessarily pay money for wins, online casinos are very straight about what they offer: cash prizes, the chance to win back your investment. They’re also clear about what they charge to play: which is nothing, often.
There’s also the technology. Social casinos are based around interaction while playing. Although online casinos do offer interaction with the dealer, it’s fair to say that players who enter any online casino are reasonably serious and may not wish to interact with other players. They might be sitting comfortably in their own home and feeling relaxed, but it’s still serious business.
The other issue: data privacy. When playing in a social casino, players must have a complete profile, and a lot of this information is visible to the other players. One of the main worries that players have when they first sign up to play in an online casino is about providing financial data: basically, they don’t want to do it, and thanks to PayPal and other online payment services, they don’t have to supply financial information. They may have reservations about supplying other data in the way that’s necessary to play a community slot.
Despite the online gambling industry’s reluctance to cash in on the popularity of community slots, it’s not likely to be something online casinos will ever completely rule out. This is an industry that moves with the times, remember, and operators are constantly tweaking their games and other services to meet the demands of the market.
In fact, some operators do offer community slots such as “Mermaid’s Millions,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Max Damage and the Alien Attack”, and “Wheel of Wealth”; each of these games is a community slot or the makers have incorporated community slot features into it that materialize depending on the progression of the game.
This is partly because some working in the industry feel community slots could be the future of gaming. Technology is improving constantly, and the interactivity of games is already increasing, so we may well start to see more multiplayer slots on online casino sites. It all depends on the operator and which way they want to go because other experts have commented that virtual reality and augmented reality is also the future of gaming. The appetite for online gaming is so huge, though, that there’s no reason why online casinos might not consider catering to both demands. They have the resources to make it possible.
The popularity of community slots on social media platforms illustrates the public’s appetite for online gambling in general. The games provide an avenue for groups of people to get together online and play a slot, instead of standing around a machine in a bar somewhere. Whether online operators will embrace the concept of community slots more firmly in the future is something only they’ll decide, but players should never assume it’s out of the question. After all, there was a time when casinos were only land based, and anything could happen in the industry. Let’s see what does.