Multi-player slots: The future of community casino gambling?
Could multi-player slots be the future of casino gaming? We explore the games bringing the party back to the players.
Video and online slots used to be a solitary pastime. A player would sit at a terminal or computer screen and spin the reels all by themselves, and the bankroll and prizes would be shared by just one person.
Multi-player slots have changed all that. With multi-player or "community" slots, more than one gambler can take part in the action at the same time. Bonus rounds are a team affair, and jackpots can be won collectively.
So, what state are multi-player slots in right now, and what does the future hold? Let's take a closer look at how slots stopped being a solo affair.
How do multi-player slots work?
Multi-player slots have been growing in popularity in land-based casinos in Las Vegas and around the world.
How do they work? A group of 1-6 players can take part in a community slot at once. You can even set up a friends group to play games together. It's possible to chat to the other players while you spin.
Each player controls their own bankroll and set of reels, but the bonus features are shared by the whole group.
In games like Microgaming's Mermaids Millions, once a bonus feature is triggered, every player gets to play the bonus.
Effectively, the chances of you activating a bonus round are multiplied by the number of players enjoying the game.
An improved slot player experience
Customisation is a big focus for slots developers. Players used to social interaction online want something different to just slamming the 'Spin' button and hoping for a win.
Chatboxes, of course, have been around in online bingo rooms and poker sites for years.
The introduction of interactive features in online slots is the next logical step, and Microgaming now allows gamblers to invent avatars in their multi-player slots and take part in tournaments against other players.
Nowhere is the experience more relevant than in the offline arena.
Other manufacturers like Bally and IGT have introduced slot terminals with up to five seats. Every player can profit from another player's bonus trigger, depending on their own personal stake.
New games like IGT's Avatar feature immersive bonus rounds, video footage, and big jackpots.
The best multi-player slots in 2018
Multi-player slots are still in their infancy. Here's a quick look at a few of the best online and offline multi-player games hitting the casino.
Wheel of Wealth (Microgaming): Multi-player Wheel of Wealth works like a regular online slot until the prize wheel bonus is triggered by one player.
In the bonus, every connected player gets to pick their own area of the wheel to hit. Whoever's number comes up will win the jackpot and the bragging rights.
Max Damage and the Alien Attack (Microgaming): The Max Damage slots are massively popular with players who love the old retro arcade games. The game features nine prize levels, top-end graphics, and was the first multiplayer game to feature arcade-style play.
Players have six lives with which to progress through the bonus game. If the aliens destroy the player's ship, they lose a life.
There is a leaderboard where you can show your ranking above the other players. Competing players can collect add-ons and "freebies" to boost their own jackpots.
Wheel of Fortune (IGT): Based on the hugely popular Wheel of Fortune range of slots, this IGT classic allows up to five players to win prizes from a giant prize wheel in the casino.
Team up with your fellow gamblers in 2018
Multi-player slots are still in their infancy. But in this age of online multi-player games, it's only natural that slot developers get involved.
Sharing slot bonus rounds is just the beginning. Why stop at sharing the free spins spoils? How about a slot where players can compete for special symbols or wilds as they play?
As technology improves, the possibilities are endless.