This story was published more than 2 years ago.
When I attended the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in 2016, no casino game developer caught my eye more than Gamblit Gaming. The company had a huge ooth at the show, and worked hard to show off their vision for the gambling industry, where they make gaming machines more attractive to younger gamblers. The company was working to find a casino to distribute their games, and they met some success when major industry presence Caesars Entertainment picked up the games. I took a trip back to Las Vegas in June 2018, and one of my major goals was to try out the Gamblit machines for real money play. What you'll read below is my experiences and how Gamblit is looking to shake up the gambling industry.
In a Game Informer article from May 2018 (Issue 301), Gambit CMO Darion Lowenstein spoke about his desire to change the nature of gambling machines. "Slot machines have gotten bigger brands and better screens, but the gameplay is still sitting there hitting one button, right? It just completely misses our generation," he said.
That's the point. To many gamblers under the age of 40, slot machines are boring. You don't have much to do, other than hit a button and watch the game play out in a pre-set way. This doesn't jive well with younger players, who grew up with video games and are looking for more interactivity should they decide to put real money in on games.
As a 33-year-old man, this rings true to me. I am around slot machines all the time, and most of the time I'm bored. I'd rather be playing my PlayStation or my Nintendo Switch where I have a say in the outcome than with a generic slot machine. Sure, there are excellent developers like Rabcat that draw my attention in, but excellent slot machines are few and far between. When I saw the Gamblit machines at G2E, I wanted to try them out. I spent a lot of time in their booth and walked out optimistic about things changing on casino floors.
Apparently, things are looking positive for Lowenstein and Gamblit as well. He claims that the average slot player in Nevada is 58, but the average Gamblit player is 36, bringing casinos a whole generation of player that have otherwise been overlooked.
When I walked up to a Gamblit terminal at the Linq Casino, there was plenty of traffic around. Two of the terminals were taken, with a player and multiple people standing behind them yelling excitedly about decisions to make. This machine is known as a TriStation and has three different gaming machines tied together. Each of these machines has multiple titles available. My station had Lucky Words, Into the Dead, and Catapult King. I dropped some cash into the machine and decided to give each a try. Here are my thoughts on the individual games.
Lucky Words: This game reminds me of something you'd play on your smartphone. You're essentially playing a game like Boggle, albeit with money on the line. You need to try to match up as many words as you can in 30 seconds. The more words you match, the more money you win. This game had a lot of input from my wife in the back, with her adding some words that I may have missed otherwise. It was a fun experience if a bit simplistic for some.
Into the Dead: This game is a zombie apocalypse game, where you try to gun down as many zombies as possible in a limited time. The amount of money you wager helps decide your loadout in terms of getting extra ammo to shoot while you play. You then have three missions you try to complete. Completing one mission gets you a lower payout, two gets you a bit higher, and three missions gets you a high prize.
Playing the game, you have control over firing the weapon as well as running left and right through a hoard of zombies. Gunning them down helps you get further, which also helps your score. I honestly didn't care much for this game, and only played it once, only earning a bit back on the game as I blasted away.
Catapult King: This game is another one that I swear I played on my smartphone at some point. It's a lot like Angry Birds, where you aim to use a catapult to knock down makeshift forts and castles in an attempt to cause destruction and earn money. Honestly, this game was the best of the bunch. You can buy power-ups and change difficulty in an attempt to win bigger prizes, which helped with the strategy aspect. It was fun knocking the castles down and seeing your credits add up for money, more-so than a normal slot.
It should be noted that my time with the Gamblit machines was pretty limited. I can't say that I sank much time in, as my wife and I were on our way to a show when I stopped by. Still, I could see myself playing these if they were at my local casinos, and my wife (a non-gambler) agreed.
Having actually seen these machines in the wild, I am excited to see what else Gamblit can come up with. They really need to hit home runs in terms of game quality to get people to play at these machines. Gamers can smell out crap from a mile away, and if the titles on offer are subpar, then the machines will be empty. It does look like Gamblit knows this, as they've signed on to offer new titles like Jetpack Joyride and Pac-Man Battle Casino, both of which show promise for real money play.
Have you tried your luck with a Gamblit machine at a casino? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: Game Informer May 2018