When Video Games and Casino Slots collide

Video games and casino slots share many similarities, but they are rarely mentioned in the same breath. However, there are occasions where the two platforms crossover.

Ground-breaking slot simulator

The PSP handheld game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was ground-breaking in the way it used a slot machine-style engine to drive the game’s combat system. A feature known as the Digital Mind Wave (DMW) uses spinning reels, and is basically a slot machine simulation system. There are two sets of wheels, one featuring numbers and another featuring characters from the game. To spin the wheels, the main character, Zack, must accumulate at least 10 soldier points by defeating enemies during gameplay. If this is achieved, the wheels spin automatically. If three matching symbols appear on the reels, Zack carries out an attack that can weaken opponents or restore the health of Zack. Landing three 7s offers a power-up feature to boost experience, health, combat points or ability points.

Random elements

The spinning wheels have a random element, but the chances of matching symbols are affected by certain game play elements such as the amount of damage received during combat and the rate of battle success. The outcome of the DMW may also be affected when certain items are collected during the game. This can even change the images that appear on the reels, which can benefit the player.

The game was released 15 years ago on the hugely popular PlayStation Portable as was pioneering in its mix of slot machine simulation and traditional video game play. Many experts predicted that the crossover of slots and video games would become common place. Yet, this has not really been the case with just a few examples in the subsequent years.

FINAL FANTASY for ”PSP”” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by k14

For video game players, everything is about the gameplay and the user experience. For casino players, the priority is to find the best online slot games to win at their favourite online casino sites. This can sometimes be regardless of the overall gaming experience, although players are increasingly drawn to themes that appeal to them. So, casino games with the best visuals and sound, which also often good returns, are often among the most popular

Variable probability

The use of a mechanic where the probability of success is affected by a skilful element of gameplay could have applications in both video and casino gaming. The better you become at the game, the more your luck increases.

This is quite simple to apply to video gaming, where there are no cash transactions. But for casino game manufacturers, the challenge lies in applying this type of gaming element, while also maintaining a house edge. Starting with a lower return to player (RTP) % and gradually increasing it towards 100% as the player’s skill increases could be the solution. A casino or slot game with a skill element that you can master to increase your chances of winning is an appealing concept to players but probably less so to developers.

Still a long way to go

The crossover between these gaming markets has yet to take off as expected. In the meantime, video game players can still play casino titles such as Vegas Party (available on the Vita) which integrates 12 mini casino games into board game-style game play. On the casino side, providers are adding gaming elements to customers accounts rather than to individual games. This means players can triggers certain bonuses and rewards from within their accounts as they reach certain levels of gaming experience. This boosts engagement and keeps customer coming back for more.

It might not be the gamification revolution that was predicted but further developments are expected in this area soon.

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