The Millennial Casino Game Anomaly

When I was young, video games pretty much worked on the following rule; get good, or don’t play the game. That is to say; early video games were hard, and not apologetic about it. You either learned to get good at the game, or you simply did not play video games. And no, there were certainly no difficulty settings, allowing you to lessen the challenge to suit your skill level.

Some of my earliest memories of playing video games are based around me getting frustrated, and being completely terrible at the game. But, likewise, I have just as many memories of heading back into the game, time and time again, until I was master of the various game mechanics. Alley Cat, which I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, was a game that taught me patience to the level of a veritable Zen Master. And yes, for this reason I deeply reject any ideas anyone has about video games having been bad for the youth. At least back in the 1980s, but that’s a whole different story.

And don’t even get me started on the early Sierra quest games. Figuring out what to do in those games was a trial and error patience extravaganza, and that anyone ever finished those games without hints is absolutely mind blowing.

But why am I talking about video games from my youth? Well, nowadays there is an anomaly that is rather fascinating, and that anomaly is this; millennials don’t much enjoy modern slot games, and the reason for this is those same video games from my youth I was talking about.

Slot Games Offer No Challenge

When you put a millennial in front of a game, and tell them to start playing, that millennial has certain expectations, based on their youth. That the game be challenging and require perseverance is one of those expectations. And, lest it not have already been obvious, slot games do not meet those expectations.

And, in fact, even modern video games that claim to be skill based often don’t meet those expectations. Many modern video games, in fact most, have dialed down the challenge aspect to a degree that is all but laughable, especially when compared to the first waves of games. That we are seeing an increase in difficulty in modern video games is telling, and the video game industry’s answer to those millennial expectations.

The infamous Dark Souls, touted as being a game that is special because it is difficult, would not exist, were there not an outcry from millennials that modern games be more like the games from the 1980s and 1990s.

More Challenge, Not Less

Again, how can slot games be expected to engage millennials when they are crying for more challenge, not less? A modern slot game has all the factors of a video game, except the part that matters the most; the difficulty. A player cannot change the outcome of a spin, cannot alter the course of the game in any way, except to hand oneself over the luck, and hope that things turn out well.

The idea of a slot game is that once a person has tasted victory, that they will crave it, and keep playing the game. But, old fashioned video games did much the same, except also demanded that the player challenge themselves, and keep getting better in order to achieve that victory. A slot game does not require that the player improve, simply that the player keep playing.

There are, of course, other casino games that do require skill, and that poker has reached new levels of popularity is extremely telling. But, casinos also rely on the income generated by slot games, and cannot abide by them not being popular with today’s big spenders; the millennials. So what is to be done about this situation?

New Wave Of Slot Game Incoming

Very simply put, casinos cannot hope to change the nature of millennials, and force them to enjoy slot games. Things just don’t work like that. You are either attracting a key demographic, or you aren’t. And if you aren’t, you better change, adapt, and learn to attract them, or accept your untimely demise.

Slot games have to evolve, if they want to be noticed by the Super Mario generation. And, it should come as no surprise that they are going to evolve, and in fact already are in the process of evolving. I read an article recently about a new wave of slot games that are going to involve skill based video game aspects, and I make no exaggeration when I say I got pretty damn school boy giddy excited.

Give me the option to play a skills based video game, but also have the opportunity to make money doing so, and you’ve got me hook line and sinker. If I haven’t already made it clear; I’m a millennial. So, well done slot game developers, you clever devils, I think you may have struck gold.

Marc Armstrong - Signature

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