The last couple of years have changed the face of online gambling and gaming. With brick-and-mortar casinos closing their doors in the midst of the pandemic, the popularity of online slots and other typical casino games have soared.
Without having to move from the couch, punters are able to be immersed in the casino experience from the comfort of their own home. A variety of online gambling providers have created diversity and variety within their casino games such as slots, that might normally feel repetitive.
So how do the industry use music, themes, and audiovisual cues (as well as leveraging bonuses and offers) to keep users online and engaged for longer?
Modern-day slot games
Gone are the days of the ‘match the fruits’ or ‘big red sevens’ of the established ‘land based’ slot game – some of the casino operators will have several slot options to suit any gamer, with different spin types, music tastes, offers and incentives to get one more pull of the digital lever. The possibilities are endless for an online slot game, ranging from;
- Action and adventure-themed, to sci-fi or animation slots.
- Film and TV-themed slots, that pay tribute to famous characters and shows.
- Seasonal games, for celebrations like Valentines, Christmas, or Thanksgiving.
- Location-based slots, that can pay homage to Las Vegas or Monaco for example, giving the illusion of a luxury casino experience.
- 2D and 3D options for the classic three-panel spins or for a more detailed, high-end, 3D gaming experience.
- Progressive jackpot slots, where the winnings accumulate as betting on the entire network increases. Not only does this increase the incentive to continue playing as the jackpot grows but replicates the ‘community’ feeling of real-life casino play as the total grows from other players’ activity.
Music in online gambling
Music has been used in all types of gaming as a psychological tool, particularly in the video gaming industry where the music has become the soundtrack of a generation – who can forget the Super Mario or Zelda theme tunes of yesteryear?
In the past, music was to be unobtrusive on the game play: not distracting, but enough to be engaging and memorable. Now a different approach reigns in the world of digital gaming – music should add to the immersion experience.
When it comes to online slot games, every provider will have carefully curated the soundtrack to go with your gameplay. Often, they feature upbeat, motivational music that ensures the gamer feels empowered when they begin and motivated to keep trying to win the jackpot.
Games can also change music based on how many actions have been made by the player; at the start of their slots session the music may be positive and upbeat, but the tempo and genre of the song can change as the game play goes on and building to a crescendo with each turn of the slots. This is also the case with video games, to ensure the user is focused on the task at hand and engaged in continuing play.
Background music acts to affect the emotions of the player, in several ways;
- To get them excited at the beginning of play.
- Rile them up to keep them playing.
- Ensuring the player does not feel disheartened.
- Make them feel elated when they win a bonus, or another turn on the slot (even if it isn’t a cash prize).
By immersing the player through audio, it also can make them experience time distortion, and they play for longer periods of time on one site having been lost in their game.
Themed slot games
Slot providers cater for all type of gambler and every type of theme you could imagine. Using music that matches a themed slot game is a key part of the immersion experience.
Take a beach-themed game – using music with a tropical vibe will conjure that holiday feeling, and images of a pina colada in hand, having a flutter on the hotel slots. The music meshing with the game is the difference between a player staying on the website or not. Especially whilst in the midst of a pandemic, this would be a very attractive angle to use music to engage players that dream of their next chance to go abroad.
Another popular trend in digital slot games is to use a musical theme – using a band or a specific musician as the background music.
Instead of your typical ‘casino music’ many gambling sites use the music as the main attraction, not just the background feature.
You can listen to your favourite artists on repeat as you play – this encourages users to stay and take that extra turn on the slots since their immersion in the music and the game keeps them engaged for longer.
Perhaps what links these musician-specific games is the intensity of the music – with Ozzy Osbourne and Guns and Roses-themed games being two of the biggest in the digital gambling world.
Rock music seems to strike the right tone to motivate the player, but an intense musical doesn’t go amiss in the slot world, with Phantom of the Opera also being a popular choice! Whatever your music taste you will be able to find the right game soundtrack to accompany your slot playing.
Slot game brands across the globe have used a mix of music and psychology paired with improving visual technology, to transport their players to a gaming experience that not only immerses them but fuels their play through clever tune timing.