Lesson #17: Understanding the players’ experience
It took quite a few player interviews and speaking with a lot of people to understand how slot players really experience the game.
As someone who does not play slots for fun, it was hard in the beginning of my career to understand how people could watch 12 to 13 characters (five of them sometimes just letters) and keep their interest over a long period of time. Sure, there’s the winning and losing aspect of course. But graphically, that didn’t feel enough for me.
After speaking to enough players, though, I understood that players experience the theme, and therefore the graphics (the background, the symbols, the animations) as a world. They sink into that fantasy world as an escape. And the meager number of symbols is enough for them to go into that world.
This is why the popular slot themes are escapist or nostalgic. This is why the variety in symbol choice is important: it needs to capture as many aspects of the world as possible.
This is also why I prefer not using Royals, but adding symbols that belong to that world: To allow players to sink deeper into the fantasy world.
Lesson #18: Players connect to the characters
There were a lot of lessons to be learned moving from Playtech to Playtika, back when Playtika was just beginning.
There were many reasons Playtika grew its monthly players to five million that quickly with only virality rather than advertising. One of them was that its original art director and chief executive knew a few things others didn’t.
When players see the symbols of the slot, they see a world. As they play, they sink into that world.
When they see faces, they connect to them.
They like seeing a handsome man. They like seeing a beautiful woman. And to connect to them, the players need to see the characters’ eyes. The faces have to be big enough so that the eyes can be big enough so that the players can connect to them.
When that happens, the players connect more deeply and the game’s retention goes up.
It’s a small thing, but a huge advantage if you know you should do it.
Guy Hasson worked for Playtech for three years before becoming Playtika’s content manager, responsible for the content of Slotomania and Caesars Casino. He is now a social slot consultant, specialising in game popularity.