Social gaming within the casino space may not be the most popular subject at the moment, but it is a topic worthy of exploring since it can benefit properties looking to attract a more age-diverse clientele.
A growing number of operators grasp the importance of social game popularity and social activity for younger casino guests, and are integrating these aspects into the gaming experience when and where it makes sense-. For example, some properties are creating social seating areas in both the gaming and non-casino areas of the resort, while others are “gamblifying” everything from apps to popular bar games.
Casino slot suppliers have also been bitten by the social gaming bug, as evidenced by last month’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), where show goers saw a mix of gambling mechanics with the action and skill-based elements of the shooter or action-adventure games, popular gaming apps, licensed brands or otherwise familiar game plots being turned into an enticing gambling adventure. Table game vendors have also acted on the need for more sociability within the wagering experience, and are creating more social and fun environments for both traditional and electronic table games.
Indeed, in some instances, new, dedicated gaming hardware is being produced to actually create the social experience instead of merely adapting to it. The most noticeable introduction in this sector have been the tabletop game station, with many new electronic table games (ETGs) having showcased social game content, play mechanics and attributes. What follows are some examples from leading skill game and traditional casino game manufacturers.
Gamblit Gaming has been a pioneer in the skill games space with arguably the largest library of such games, displaying 25 at last month’s G2E.
Gamblit’s social and interactive game tables, called the ModelG, can host between two and four players for a head-to-head gaming experience. Each gaming terminal is a unique, multi-player/multi-game machine with access to a shared 42-inch’ touchscreen, plus a USB charging port, purse hook and two cup holders for each player.
Available for trial at G2E, Deal or No Deal Poker Special was showcased on Gamblit’s Model G interactive game tables. In this game, players compete to uncover the highest value briefcase in the ultimate challenge of striking a deal to win big or risk it all.
Other games featured on the Model G included:
Gamblit Poker: This game tests skill and speed, while allowing players to win up to 240x their bet in a single hand. Each player starts with two cards, followed by a single deck of cards shown in rapid succession in the middle of the table. Players have to quickly virtually grab the cards they need in order to complete the best possible poker hand.
Cannonbeard’s Treasure: This theme engages players in a fast paced game of cards, skill and naval warfare. Similar to blackjack but on a whole new level, Cannonbeard’s Treasure challenges players to fill their hand without winning or busting, initiating a burndown. During the burndown, a set of additional cards will be dealt. The player who gets closest to the objective, without going over, wins a chest of gold.
PAC-MAN Battle Casino: This experience allows players to battle it out for a cash prize where the last PAC-MAN standing wins.
Gamblit has also created a deep lineup of social gaming-based wagering experiences for its TriStation game machine, such as PAC-MAN Cash Chase, which was created in partnership with Bandai Namco Amusement, the developer of the iconic PAC-MAN arcade game, and had its world debut at G2E. Other video game inspired titles that have been converted into TriStation content include:
- Road Redemption—The hit PC and console beat ‘em up racer from EQ games;
- Cut the Rope 2—The popular puzzle game adventure franchise developed with ZeptoLab was gamblified after garnering more than 1 billion downloads;
- Doodle Jump—The 250 million downloaded classic high-flying platform game, developed with Lima Sky lets players hop, skip and jump their way to success;
- Brew Caps—Lets players put their eyes to the test by matching bottle caps as fast as they can in this Gamblit game;
- Dice Arena—Players roll the dice, hack and slash in this Gamblit developed fantasy themed fighting game;
- Squadron Commander—A Gamblit original where players bring their best warships and fire away to take out the enemy squadrons;
- Cover Fire—Developed by Genera Games, this fast paced arcade shooter lets players win cash for taking on the oncoming robot army;
- Deal or No Deal Poker—Created in collaboration with Endemol Shine Gaming, this title brings all the excitement of the international hit game show to casinos like never before.
Interblock is a worldwide developer and supplier of electronic table gaming products. Its multi-player gaming devices are designed to provide interactive entertainment experiences. The Interblock brand is now globally recognized in more than 200 jurisdictions.
Interblock’s number-one selling product-line, MiniStar, launched new game forms and features at G2E on its blackjack, baccarat, craps and roulette games. The compact roulette ETG delivers more than 120 results per hour and provides all of the features and functionalities available on Interblock’s Diamond product line but in a smaller footprint and a lower price point, according to press material. MiniStar Roulette features a new ball-chasing light and sound effects designed to elevate the player experience. LED lights on the wheel and amplifying sound effects chase the ball until it drops into a pocket.
MiniStar Dice was another product on display at the show, featuring the company’s new micro-dice generator and play stations that are closely situated around it, providing excellent dice visibility for the player. It offers most of the company’s Diamond Craps features, but also in a smaller footprint.
Another from the Diamond product line but on a smaller foot print is Interblock’s Diamond Roulette M-Display which is customized to comply with local jurisdictional requirements. Setting it apart from other roulette ETGs, results are determined by the random number generator (RNG), not by where the ball drops. The key element that differentiates Interblock’s unique offering from other ETGs is the design of the roulette center. The roulette numbers and sockets do not rotate together, and the numbers remain static.
After all bets are closed, the roulette ball is launched onto the brim. The ball will land in one of the sockets as they rotate, and will stop on the result determined by the RNG.
The Diamond Roulette M-Display is currently available with six or eight seats, with either a Single-Zero or Double-Zero Roulette wheel. The game features comfortable techno-gel armrests, optional progressive jackpot systems and fast result detection. It supports bill acceptors, ticket printers and coin-handling systems.
Konami Gaming announced the market release of its Fortune Cup mechanical horse racing game earlier this year. This game was designed to bring modern technology improvements to a high-demand gaming format.
The game features a 9-foot wide mechanical track with eight horses that travel freely and independently across the course. The horses’ actions are mirrored by real-time digital animation on connected LCD screens in a sports broadcast format, and players place their bets through touchscreen stations with race stats, horse odds, mystery progressive jackpots and comprehensive bet options for win, place and quinella. Following months of success on the Las Vegas Strip under Nevada’s New Innovation Beta (NIB) program, this game is now expanding across North America.
Konami developed Fortune Cup based on proven technology from the organization’s video game and arcade divisions. Its core processing is powered by a proprietary cross-platform game engine and the machine’s hardware components have logged years of time-tested performance and durability under Konami’s amusement arcade division. Fortune Cup is a continuation of Konami’s specialty expertise in large multi-station products, designed for unique amusement and attraction.
Aruze’s Roll to Win Craps is the latest addition to its digital table game portfolio. The global entertainment company has an array of games that have developed to keep players engaged by using the latest technology in the market.
Roll to Win Craps debuted at G2E. This new version of craps combines digital technology with a dealer using real dice. Bets are placed digitally with the dice being rolled on an LED tabletop. Payouts are similar with that on a regular table and a live dealer is monitoring all the action.
This is another example of traditional table games innovating technology to blend with the electronic table game aspect. The innovation means dealers no longer have to manually collect chips in hopes to keep payouts more accurate. To create more excitement for the players, a spot lights up in flames whenever they place a bet or get on a hot roll. The innovation of this game creates a new environment for players and provides a sense of community.