Imagine the look on Charles D. Fey’s face if he were still alive today, it would be a right picture, believe us! This is because Fey was the inventor of the world’s first ever commercially viable slot machine back in the late 1800s, an invention that would prove to turn the gambling industry on its head. Slots quickly began immensely popular, with thousands of machines popping up across California in the first years of the 20th Century. This pales in comparison with the golden age of slots in 1960s Las Vegas, however, and don’t even get us started on how much the slot industry has expanded in the modern day due to online slots UK. This sector of the market has shown profound and steady growth over the last two decades, emerging as the de facto number one gambling market in the entire world.
There is simply no arguing with this, as the amount of gamblers spinning the reels online greatly outweigh those that continue to try their luck on genuine physical state slot machines. One of the main reasons for the inspirational success behind this industry is the fact that developers such as NetEnt, Microgaming or Barcrest continuously push each other to be bigger and better, or else they will lose their share of the market. This has resulted in better bonus features, more interesting themes and, of course, graphics that just get exponentially better. Seriously, some of the graphics you can see today in the online slot market are almost as good as what you can see whilst playing on a Playstation or Xbox. But how have the graphics of slots evolved over time? It is an interesting question and journey to explore, read ahead for our view on the topic.
First ever slots
So, in order to get a full picture of just how much slot graphics have evolved over time we need to go right back to the start. In this case that means turning back the clocks to the last few years of the 1800s, where the previously mentioned Charles D. Fey was just putting the final touches on his Liberty Bell slot machine.
This is widely regarded to be the world’s first commercially viable slot machine, and it achieved rampant popularity very quickly. Obviously, this creation was purely mechanical, and the graphics therefore weren’t particularly special.
Golden age of slot machines
Due to the gambling ban in America in the early decades of the 1900s, slot machines were essentially illegal, meaning that it was difficult to make any firm advancements when making them, for obvious reasons. When the federal law changed, however, people were free to try and make their slot machines as inviting as possible.
A huge part of this was making them look flashy and exciting – where the modern obsession with slot themes comes from. The developers back in the 1960s that could make their machines the most eye-catching generally scooped in the most revenue too. It just goes to show how important graphics can be.
Invention of the RNG and video slots
Solid state mechanical slot machines would continue in much the same vein over the next few decades, with advancements being made in their aesthetic appearance being made every now and then. However, in the 1980s slot developers worked out how to use the recently discovered RNG (Random Number Generator) to their advantage, something that would have particularly good consequences for the industry.
Oh yes, now developers were free to use 100% digital displays on their slot machines, something that in turn made the scope for graphics absolutely huge. Suddenly developers could genuinely base their slots off of pretty much any theme they wanted as they had the freedom of a digital display. Nice!
The first online slots
The step up to digital technology was a huge leap forward for the slots industry, but little did they know something even bigger would come about just a couple of decades later. That’s right, it’s online slots, an area of the market that has seen unprecedented growth since the very beginning.
It must be said that the first online slots didn’t have the best graphics, although this was more the fault of an Internet platform that hadn’t caught up with the, at the time, primordial online casino market.
Rapid growth of the online slot industry
As the online slot industry continued to grow, the Internet also underwent a sustained period of evolution, in which things like HTML5 technology would make it easier and easier for developers to create slots on the platform.
This was wonderful news for us slot gamblers, because it meant that the games available to play were continuously getting better and better. By the year 2015 there were well over a million gamblers spinning the reels online every month, and developers had to ensure their games looked stunning in order to attract the most customers.
Mobile slot graphics
The online slot market was flourishing in the 2000s, however towards the end of the decade another technological breakthrough meant that the industry was due to increase by another huge amount. Mobile slots started becoming properly viable at the turn of the century, mainly because of the simultaneous rise of smartphones.
Now developers had a different problem: how to continue offering superb graphics on a much smaller display? It took a bit of trial and error of course, but today’s mobile slots can have a tendency to look even better than the ones you would play on your laptop. Testimony to the good work that online slot developers continue to put in.
What’s next for the industry? Well, many gambling analysts are expecting virtual reality slots to really kick off in the next decade, something we are incredibly excited for it must be said. For this to work the graphics available are going to have to be another level above what they are now, we cannot wait!