10 TRENDS: Think Big

Large-format slots once were a novelty. No more.

Ten years ago, walking an average casino floor might reveal one slot machine that would draw curious onlookers—the giant machine.

Large-format slot machines were traditionally designed to draw a crowd of customers who, presumably, would gaze in wonder at reels that were as large as car tires spinning under a billboard-sized paytable. They may try their luck and pull a handle that looked like something out of Charlie Chaplain’s Modern Times, before moving on to pump serious money into their favorite normal-sized slot machine.

In short, large-format slots used to be placed purely for their novelty value, to populate an otherwise sparsely populated area of a slot floor.

That has changed. Over the past few years, giant-sized slot machines have become common, and not only in rarely visited corners of the floor. What’s more, these large-format games are no longer simply freakishly large versions of traditional slot machines, designed for photo ops and a few novelty spins. They are designed to be played.

Examples abound in the game libraries of most of the top slot manufacturers. AGS jump-started its Class III business a few years ago—and arguably, kicked off the latest big-game trend—with Colossal Diamonds, a giant reel-spinner on its “Big Red” cabinet. Players love the game, thanks to program math that is so effective that the supplier is now using the same math on standard-sized slots.

Scientific Games’ latest oversized hit is Monopoly Hot Shot, the first game on its V75 cabinet. Physically, it is designed for two to play in comfort, with a cushy bench seat and dual spin buttons in front of the big 75-inch monitor. But the game itself is designed for extended play, combining two of the very best legacy games from the company’s predecessors—Monopoly from WMS and Hot Shot from Bally.

For IGT, it’s the S3000 XL reel-spinner, launched last year with Wheel of Fortune Megatower, offering players all the familiar features of its top brand, from the multiplying wild symbols to the famous wheel bonus, on a giant format that plays the same as the classic IGT favorite. This year, a v2 version of the cabinet will host another IGT favorite, Triple Gold, a three-reel, five-line stepper with a wide-area progressive jackpot starting at $200,000.

Aristocrat offers the Edge XL, a new video format featuring dual 48-inch landscape monitors. Launched last year with a new version of the Madonna game, the cabinet moves on this year with Mad Max Fury Road. For Konami, it’s the Concerto Opus, with an imposing 65-inch video display being launched with new versions of the company’s popular Triple Sparkle series. For Everi, it’s the Renegade 3600, a display of three 43-inch curved monitors that provides bonus games for base slots on the Core HDX video cabinet.

We can go on from there with the other slot-makers, from Novomatic’s luxurious V.I.P. Lounge to Incredible Technologies’ Infinity V55 to Aruze’s Cube-X Vertical 80, to more that we don’t have the space to note here.

It all leads to one giant-sized conclusion: Large-format games are no longer just for show. They are for serious play.

Frank Legato
Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.