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The Evolution of Online Slot Technology: 1994 - 2022By Shane Addinall May 21, 2022The online casino industry has never been one to steer clear of a challenge. From the very first online slot and beyond, software providers have always been one step ahead. Let's learn more about the history of online slots.
Technology is a force of nature, and when embraced, it can lead to spectacular things. The same can be said for the online casino industry and all it releases.
From the launch of the first online casino, well before its time, to the online casino games we have today, evolution and innovation are always the key terms.
Let's take a walk down memory lane and relive the exciting moments through the history of online slot technology.
✓ 1994 – Online Slots Are Born Thanks to Microgaming
In 1994, the world of casinos and gambling changed forever. Games of chance and gambling games have been around for millennia, but online casinos were born thanks to Microgaming. In a time when the average household didn't have quick and easy to the internet, Microgaming took a chance and released online casinos along with the first online slot.
✓ 1998 – First progressive jackpot Slot
Always looking to lead the way, Microgaming took the crown for another industry first with the release of the first progressive jackpot slot – Cash Splash. This single innovative game feature secured Microgaming as one of the most-wanted software providers in the world. Today, progressive jackpot slots are highly popular, and Microgaming remains one of the best providers in the business.
Did you know? Online casinos started out as single provider sites where all of the games were provided by one game creator. This later changed when multi-platform casinos were launched.
✓ 2008 – Casino Apps Arrive on the Market
Jumping forward a few years, the world is very different from when online casinos first launched. Mobile devices are becoming more popular, and people look for new ways to play. Several prominent online casinos released casino apps. Clunky and slow, these apps used Flash to run online slots, which could easily crash or lose your game when the signal was low. They also required a download which took up valuable space on older model mobile devices.
✓ 2014 – Spin on the Smartwatch
When online casinos realised that players wanted more ways to play, they stopped at nothing to create something new and something that would grab the attention of the masses. When smartwatches started making their way onto the scene, software providers jumped at the opportunity to create tiny versions of their most popular games. Because who wouldn't want to hit SPIN on their watch, right? Thankfully, this trend didn't really take off, and it quickly became a fun gimmick, along with being able to play casino games on your smart TV and smart fridge.
✓ 2014 – Welcome the First Bitcoin Casino
In 2014, Bitcoin was just starting to become known to those outside of the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. In order to cash in on this rising star, BitCasino.io was born and took its place as the first Bitcoin casino. Today, many online casinos welcome the use of cryptocurrency, while others are still wary of the volatile virtual currency. Along with the first Bitcoin casino came the ability to gamble on the blockchain, play provably fair games, and use crypto to bet and win while playing online slots.
✓ 2014 - Interactive Online Slots
More than just another theme for online slots to incorporate, interactive online slots have become very popular, with almost every well-known provider releasing a video game-style creation. These games began with releases such as Castle Builder by Microgaming, where the aim is to win while doing more than just spinning reels. Instead, interactive games slam together online slots and video games for very exciting ways to land a winning combination.
Fun Fact: Many players may not know this, but the first online casinos didn't offer deposits and withdrawals online. Players had to phone casino call centres and make manual deposits using a credit card machine.
✓ 2016 – Megaways Slots Take Centre Stage
Invented by Australian-based software provider Big Time Gaming, the Megaways game mechanic took the online casino world by storm. This feature, which is now incorporated into more than 200 online slots, gives casino games the ability to run more than 100,000 paylines at a time. This lets players win big regularly, with multipliers on Megaways slots climbing up to 50,000x your bet.
✓ 2017 – Virtual Reality by NetEnt
For many years, gamblers looked to technology as a way to increase their chances of winning. While technology can't do this, it can make playing online casinos far more exciting. In 2017, NetEnt took matters into its own hands by releasing the first VR online slot. The popular software provider took the beloved Gonzo's Quest online slot and transformed it into a VR fairytale. While VR may not be everyone's cup of tea, it still remains a fun way to play, even if only for a short time.
✓ 2017 – The Bonus Buy Feature
Always aiming to stay ahead of their competition, Big Time Gaming once again released a phenomenal online slot feature. This time, the addition of the Bonus Buy feature left many punters with their jaws on the ground. You no longer have to wait for a bonus to trigger on its own. Instead, the Bonus Buy feature allows you to purchase a bonus round for instant gratification. The first Bonus Buy online slot was White Rabbit, an innovative creation that is still exciting to play.
Did you know? Free Spins may be the most popular form of casino bonus today, but it wasn't always an option. When online casinos first launched, rewards were almost always in the form of cash or deposit bonuses.
✓ 2020 - HTML5 mobile casinos
After threatening for years to shut down Flash, Adobe finally bit the bullet in 2020, welcoming the era of HTML5. While HTML5 had existed for many years before 2020, the final closing of Flash games meant that online casinos were forced to fully embrace HTML5. This allows for a seamless and instant way to gamble on the go. Mobile apps are no longer required to enjoy your favourite online slot. Instead, you can load up via your mobile browser and play.
✓ 2022 - Big and Better
As time goes on, the world of online slots continues to expand. Software providers are always looking for new ways to entertain users, and the fun simply continues to grow. Themes are more exciting, progressive jackpots are getting bigger by the day, technology continues to evolve, and online slots are still a favourite.
With the growth of mobile technology and access to online casino games, we can only begin to imagine what the future holds. Will we finally see the release of an AR online slot? Will Bitcoin casino games grow or fall flat?
One thing we know for sure is that the online gambling market will be ready to embrace, innovate and explore without missing a beat.
Tagsonline slots casino games mobile slots mobile casinos gambling facts casino facts online slot history
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