Slot-based bonus game – whether its free spins, pick’em games, multipliers, mystery jackpots, cascades, wheel bonuses, progressives or other new features – adds an extra element of anticipation, entertainment and potential rewards to the player; and for these reasons, a go-to mechanic remains for slot machine manufacturers and designers.
Regardless of the type of bonus, players are looking for a bonus experience to be memorable, fun and something to talk about and share with other people. Creativity and good math could only be the key to the success of such slot bonus features. “Creativity gives players this memorable entertainment factor, and we’ll continue to see great new concepts and iterations on how bonuses are delivered,” said Walther. “Multi-station and community bonuses can be particularly powerful because they have an inherent aspect of social satisfaction as players watch and celebrate the feature as a shared experience, but the long-term success of a title largely depends on the game’s mathematics and how he employs players over time.”
Also worth mentioning are other game mechanics and cabinet functions that help draw the player and create more interaction. “Bigger screen sizes, new technology and improved hardware enable manufacturers to create more player interaction, taking bonus features to a new level,” said Abhinay Bhagavatula, vice president, engineering and products, Eclipse Gaming. “In addition, gaming themes that allow players to reach new levels of bonus rounds and rewards from percepting abilities, as well as entertaining players.”
Below are a few of the different bonus strategies that game makers use in their latest slot creations.
Potentially big free-game wins on titles like China Shores have long been a favorite of Konami players. “If a lucky player watches these free spin spins in hundreds of dollars, it will be an unbelievably memorable experience,” said Walther.
Players also see bonus features and events associated with Konami’s Xtra Reward Series. Xtra Reward has been popular ever since it appeared for the first time with games such as China Shore’s Boosted Wins & Spins, Quest for Riches and even newer favorites such as Dragon’s Law and Solstice Celebration. Xtra Reward gives players an additional bonus for an additional Ante bet, for an additional boost while remaining within range of the player’s desired bet level.
NOVOMATIC has been one of the leading producer of slot games in European and Latin American markets for decades already. More recently, the company started to develop slots for the U.S. and Asia, as well as online and social gaming markets.
Popular themes may be adjusted for different bonus ratios dependent on customers’ tastes and regulations. “This dictates the freedom to create different types of bonus play,” McLaughlin said. Over the years, impressive game mechanics and bonuses have been fine-tuned for specific market segments. A recent success here is the bonus-rich Batman series of games for European markets that includes bonuses such as the Bat Wheel of Fortune, the Power Up feature and the Joker Streak.”
“New concepts for slot slot bonus games are limited only by imagination and new technologies will boost creativity in this area,” McLaughlin said. “NOVOMATIC is focused on increasing player duration through bonuses and creating engaging, unique player experiences each time a player deals with a game, whether that’s through the theme, math, land based or social gaming, bonusing adds layers of entertainment and dimension to the overall experience.”
Scientific Games has a turbulent history when it comes to bonus game concepts and developments.
“Scientific Games constantly strives to develop new technologies that integrate with our games and cabinets, as well as integrate new technologies developed by other industries,” said Colella. “These new technologies have the potential to trigger the creation of a new, innovative and increasingly interactive bonus game.”
Azure Gaming America
Aruze Gaming has a rich history of unique bonus game concepts. It has experimented with many ways to trigger bonuses and unconventional opportunities for players to participate, as the company’s popular Paradise Fishing game has shown. Almost 99 percent of the slot games at Aruze now contain a kind of bonus game according to press material.
Aruse’s development team has been reportedly heavily influenced by Japan’s pachislot and pachinko salons, and this has always given his games a distinctive feel. The company believes that operators have an appreciation for the bonuses it has created, which are enhanced by increasing the bet. You see, Aruze enhances the player’s experience as they increase their overall spend.
Some of the latest bonus strategies integrated into slots for Aruze are his Jump to Riches games, the first in the company’s Activ Play line, where operators can choose how much they want skills to complete the RTP to influence.
Bonus features have always been a key design element for all Eclipse Gaming slot products. Historically, Eclipse has added value to the player, especially through free spin bonuses. As the company has expanded its product line, its focus is to provide gamers with many levels of gaming entertainment through a variety of fun bonus features and compelling wins for players.
“Over the next few months, Eclipse will also launch new games with Anyline Progressives tied directly to each of the beautiful paylines, with a higher hit frequency, and we’ll also be releasing new themes that include permanent government bonuses.”
With Oasis 360, Aristocrat has been developing bonus modules as part of its casino management system solution since the early 2000s. Over the years, it has further developed its bonus modules by incorporating several new elements. Recently, the company expanded its bonus applications to its kiosk, progressive and mobile platforms and continues to offer a broad library in the nCompass player tracking unit.
“Bonus play is becoming increasingly popular as guests seek a more rewarding experience with each journey,” said Thomas Castleberry, VP of Systems Marketing, Aristocrat. “Using system bonuses, operators are now able to offer players additional rewards over cash, such as points, comps, and prizes, and operators can determine which slot events trigger rewards in the bonus applications, making it an automated and personalized experience for the patron.”
“Progressives add the bonus or bonuses of a game to another level of excitement,” says Brett Vela, slot product manager at AGS. “Players are now on the hunt for a top visible accolade and we’ve had a great deal of success in class II with our floor-to-ceiling So Hot Progressive, and we’re continuing to expand into the Class III market with our Xtreme Jackpots library.”
Many of the company’s newer and most successful games offer players the opportunity to choose their own volatility. They often sacrifice a number of free spins to add extra wilds or lines into their bonus rounds.
It’s no secret that signage and display technology has become much more advanced and AGS integrates this into slot bonus events. “Although our signage hardware is relatively simple, our character content is specifically designed to create tension and accessibility,” Vela said. “For example, our Xtreme Jackpots character content will be displayed each time a player wins one of the progressive amounts.”
Ainsworth Game Technology
Today, if it were not for the mandatory bingo card facsimile on the front of the machine, a customer would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a Class II and a Class III gaming experience … except in a vital area. The bingo map math on which Class II games are based is hard to manipulate when it comes to certain styles of linked jackpot bonuses, at least compared to class III slots that use random number generators.
This is where Ainsworth’s AnyBet product comes in. Simply put, AnyBet is the first of its kind patent-pending technology that offers Class II machine gamers the chance to win huge, mysterious progressive slot jackpots at every level. With AnyBet, a player can drop $ 0.25 into a machine and get away with $ 5,000 or a $ 0.40 bet and win over $ 10,000.
“AnyBet is the only class II mystery that pays the full amount of the progressive, regardless of the bet,” said Dave Waters, director of technical services and hardware at Ainsworth, in the May issue of Slot Management & Marketing. “Our patented technologies offer real odds on all betting and math models, so you can link over 50 titles to a big progressive, which increases the jackpot faster, and we’ve designed it so it’s given away very often.”
“The most important innovation is the fairness and dedication of the players … Games that require a progressive match bet leave a smaller bettor out of contention for the progressives, and that makes the game less attractive and lowers the expected value the return on the player, “Waters added. “AnyBet solves this problem by giving every player real opportunities and a chance to win a life-enhancing progress.”