New Las Vegas Slots
Even today the mighty slot machines are the both the biggest draw and the most profitable portion of a casino’s bottom line as players often play them continuously 24 hours per day in an attempt to win those huge and elusive progressive jackpots.
In order to keep slot machines such a huge hit, gaming companies are always striving to offer the latest and greatest features and themes to punters in an effort to draw them in. With technological advances this is possible now more than ever before, allowing generations of players to immerse themselves in a television or film themed experience, potentially winning huge cash prizes in the process.
New land based slot machines generally launch in quarterly segments, and many of the games themselves are premiered at trade shows such as the Global Gaming Expo and the ICE Show in London. At every show dozens of spectacular games are teased, complete with the latest wonderfully constructed game cabinets, technical innovations, new screens/displays, and the latest audio advances, which will boom throughout the casino as a backdrop.
By far the highlight of my annual calendar is to travel to the G2E convention in Las Vegas where all the leading slot manufacturers give sneak previews of their new flagship titles that will be released over the forthcoming year. Companies such as Bally Technologies, WMS, IGT, Konami and Aristocrat all offer slot machines to land establishments across the world and for G2E attendees you can get the chance to play all their brand new slot machines before they hit the casino floors in Las Vegas.
This year’s show was bigger than ever before and there were some huge games announced along with a raft of new technological advances and gameplay features. By far the biggest release for 2016 was from IGT who announced the latest Avatar slot which features an epic storyline arc where players can come back to at any time due to a unique save progress function like that seen in video games. The other manufacturers weren’t going to be left behind with Aristocrat debuting Buffalo Grand to update their existing world famous buffalo slot and WMS releasing an official slot based on the classic Caddyshack movie.
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Big Slot Games Coming Soon to Las Vegas
2015/2016 Vegas Highlights
The theme of G2E 2015 was, well, themes! It seems that more than 50% of the new games released for 2015/2016 were official collaboration slots, I'm normally quite sceptical when I see a new "themed" game released in casinos. I've found that many of these games are incredibly tight and will empty the wallet quickly. However, these soon to be released slots received mostly positive feedback and should make for entertaining play when they are finally made available to the public.
- IGT: They went big last year and bigger this year. Aside from the new installment in the Avatar slot series and Breaking Bad, they also announced a new Ellen game. Releasing a new Ellen slot was inevitable after the massive popularity of the first two games, both of which received a lot of attention from fans with its bespoke input from Ellen herself. The TMZ slot had similar backing and although it wasn’t a hot play pick for me it will have mass market appeal for the millennials who form the bulk of the shows fan base. The unique photo booth feature which allows you to participate on the game screen was a new idea which I am sure we will see more of in other games to come. Classic shows weren’t ignored, a licensed Bewitched slot debuted along with one based on its rival 60’s show I dream of Jeannie and a new title in the Ghostbusters series heavily based around the legendary Slimer character. Last but very not least in terms of IGT’s headline launches is an updated video slot to replace the old Jurassic Park slots and the Dark Knight Trilogy games which have been highly anticipated.
- WMS: They dominated the show last year, but fall a close second to IGT for this one. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have their own fair share of big themed releases. The classic Chevy Chase movie Caddyshack gets an official slot which was a lot of fun to play, whilst titles were also on show for the Simpsons, the Wizard of Oz, Titanic and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was also the first time that parent company SG had both WMS and Bally titles on the same stand. A big push was being made with new cabinet designs and visual features this year in their traditional slot games - this customer experience drive apparently is a result of the combination of the two companies tech teams.
- Aristocrat: Not wanting to be left out of the headlines, Aristocrat released a massive new arcing HD screen cabinet at the show and used it for the follow up title Buffalo grand, a sequel to the slot game most people rank as the most played of any game on the Las Vegas casino floors. They too had a themed and licensed slot selection with Superman: Man of Steel, the extremely brave Ted slot, Magic Mike XXL and not one, but two, classic Batman slots.
Expect More Licensed Games in 2016
2015 was a big year for licensed games both on and offline, this year promises to be even bigger with game providers offering fresh experiences and new technical features. By licensing brands that are already known to players, slot makers are tapping into markets where they are guaranteed an existing fan base, as well as play from a lot more casual gamers who want to play a game based around a subject they know. The sequels released to existing licensed slots show this is a market which is only going to grow. Hopefully 2016 will also be a year where we see new tech, the multitude of new cabinets and first time game features at the last show bode very well for slot gamings future.
No matter what your tastes are, there is almost certainly a slot out there to suit your needs, now more than ever before. The slot industry is always evolving to offer something new, and I am doing my absolute best to keep you informed as new slots are announced or released into the wild. Is there a slot that I have missed and you want me to feature? If so, please feel free to contact me to tell me what I am missing and I will make sure to get something posted up ASAP.
Without a doubt the next year or so will be another great one for slot players. I hope you are as excited as I am!
Old Trip Reports - 2014/2015 Vegas Highlights
Having spoken with a lot of slot fanatics at the G2E convention it seems these are the games players had enjoyed the most. I'm normally quite skeptical when I see a new "themed" game released in casinos. I've found that many of these games such as Family Guy and the DC comic games are incredibly tight and will empty the wallet quickly. However, these soon to be released slots received mostly positive feedback and should make for entertaining play when they are finally made available to the public.
- Friends: The only surprise about this new Vegas slot is that it's taken so long to license. Set to be released more than 10 years after the final episode of the show was aired, it will be interesting to see if Joey, Phoebe, Ross et al still have the same pull that drew record TV numbers during the show's ten years as a hit sitcom. As a huge Friends fan (I still watch the repeats), this is one game I'm going to be playing alot.
- Mad Men: I think it's appropriate to follow up a classic sitcom with another hugely popular TV show slot that was announced at G2E - Mad Men by WMS. This new game based on the highly rated AMC show is sure to attract players who watch the show.
- The Flintstones: Following on from the successful release of the Jetson's, WMS had their new Flintstones slot machine on show at G2E and it was a big hit. I had to queue for half an hour to get a go at this and it looked great from my short time playing. This was one of the cartoons I grew up on, so for me it's a fun filled trip back in time that will please slot fans both young and old. Can't wait for this. Yabba dabba doo....
- Elton John: Fun, colorful and regular bonus rounds, this game was a blast and had tons of great music to boot. If you are an Elton John fan you are gonna love this slot.
- WMS: I felt the strongest booth at G2E was that of WMS who had a number of great games on display. As well as Mad Men, Elton John and the Flintstones, they also had a new Austin Powers game that was really fun to play, a Gremlins slot based on the movie franchise, the Jetsons and a new Elvis game. They also had new versions of their classic titles including Monopoly, the Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka, as well as some fresh new games including Centaur, Reel Em In Supercast and Pharaoh's Pyramid.
- Aristocrat: As well as the 3 huge titles above, you can expect more TV goodness in the shape of the Big Bang Theory and Sons of Anarchy by Aristocrat. They also announced the Britney Spears slot which features plush leather seats and drew huge crowds at the show and a new installment in the Buffalo series, one of my favourite Vegas slot games.
- IGT: While Ellen was their big announcement, IGT had a number of good looking games at the show. They showcased Wheel of Fortune: Jackpot Paradise, the latest in the insanely popular Wheel of Fortune series that incorporates some new cutting edge technology into the game. Perhaps the biggest announcement at the show was the release of Race Ace and Centipede, two new slots that feature "skill based" bonus rounds. Games with skill based elements have been unpopular in the past, so it will be interesting to see how these fare.