I recently saw an article from veteran slot writer John Grochowski about the future of slots and talking about skill based games. The article he wrote didn’t cite a single game from the past couple of years, and I wondered how old the piece was, even though it appears to have been published recently.
But I can’t really blame him that he doesn’t have recent examples to cite. It seems like the initial waves (and there have been multiple attempts already) of skill-based slots and games largely came and went without much of an impact. High-profile games like Space Invaders and Cleopatra Pinball didn’t really stick around for very long in most places I saw it, and newer companies like GameCo and Gamblit Gaming have had their machines pulled from a number of casinos I’ve seen them at.
I was a regular player of the Gamblit Gaming stations because one game, Lucky Words, was a particularly good one for me. At one of my home casinos I could even earn comps on my play, not the case at many other installs I’d seen. But both of my home casinos have removed them in the past few months, and Gamblit’s website and Twitter have seemingly gone without updates for an entire year, leaving open the question if they survived the pandemic, and if so, in what shape.
If it was competitive getting spaces on a casino floor in normal times, in a scenario like today, with machines turned off and revenue way down, it has to be an intense challenge to be given a chance to prove yourself on a casino floor right now, especially for upstarts who are testing these products. And for more veteran brands, it may seem logical to focus on slot sequels and brand extensions of proven products as a way of de-risking things, although certainly new games are still finding their way to the floor.
Given the variety of topics I write about, I’ve been asked periodically to zoom in on skill-based gaming. The reality is, where I primarily visit casinos, they haven’t really maintained any sort of space on the casino floor, and I try to focus my coverage on games where I can sit down and personally play the game, to get a feel for it and be able to write more intelligently about it.
For now, that means a dearth of skill-based slot coverage here, but should things evolve and new options come out, I’ll definitely consider it. And perhaps I’ll do write-ups on games I had some experience on, like Space Invaders, at some point, although I’m not sure if anyone even has it anymore.
But ultimately that’s why you haven’t seen much in the way of skill-based gaming on the site to date.