There has never been a better time to be a slot player. Thousands of thrilling slots are at your fingertips here at Boom Casino, and many more titles are added to our expansive library each and every month – all with their unique features, mechanics and payout structures. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the greatest innovations that brought us the modern slots we know and love today.
The beginning of online slot machines
Online casinos have been around since the 90s, but the concept of playing slots online took off in the early 2000s. Due to the technological limitations back then, the early online slots were quite basic. Three reels, fruit symbols and simple animations were standard slot machine features, but it wasn’t long before more innovation was introduced.
Some studios began developing more advanced video slots, featuring more demanding graphics, multiple paylines, bonus features, free spins bonuses and progressive jackpots. The Isle of Man-based studio Microgaming was among the leading pioneers in the 2000s, with games like Thunderstruck, Mega Moolah and later Immortal Romance.
Creative bonus features, grid slots and cascading reels
Over the following years, game providers started to introduce new features and push the boundaries of online slot design. Play’n GO created the ever-popular Book of Dead with its free spins bonus featuring expanding symbols, and developers made slots with hundreds or even thousands of active paylines. Some slots don’t have reels at all but are based on grids and clusters of symbols. Games like Jammin’ Jars, Gemix and Reactoonz showed us that slots could be so much more than the classic 3-line model from which they were derived.
When it comes to new slot machine mechanics, few have had a bigger impact than Megaways. Invented by the major game provider Big Time Gaming, Megaways is a dynamic reel mechanic that can generate tens or even hundreds of thousands of paylines on any random spin. The concept was first seen in slots such as Dragon Born and Bonanza and quickly adopted by a number of other slot providers through licensing deals. For example, we can now play popular Megaways games from different providers, like Primal Megaways, Power of Thor Megaways, and Big Bass Bonanza Megaways.
xWays, xNudge Wilds and xSplit Wilds
Nolimit City has consistently been one of the most innovative game providers in the world, both when it comes to their game’s striking designs and the implementation of brand new ideas. The studio’s games are usually packed to the brim with features, such as the xWays, xNudge and xSplit mechanics found in many of their recent titles. These special symbols can drop in on the reels to create more ways, nudge reels and split symbols into two, leading to more action, more excitement, and bigger wins.
Which slot innovations will come next?
While no one can predict what’s next in the world of slots, there is a clear trend among game providers to come up with the next innovative online slot machine mechanics. Yggdrasil has its Gigablox mechanic, ReelPlay introduced Infinity Reels, and Hacksaw Gaming has released several games in its Hoppers series. We believe that companies will continue to create games with a feature buy option, which has proven to be a very popular concept. In addition, as the large tech companies are racing to bring virtual reality and augmented reality to more consumers, we expect to see more slot makers play around with VR and AR in the coming years.