However, table games have now ceded ground to slots. At bricks and mortar casinos, slot machines account for anywhere from 70 to 80% of the casino’s total revenues. And online gambling is no different.
With the rise of slots, music has become crucial to the gambling experience. Players may not realize it, but music plays as important a role as other elements in a slot game, if not more. A lot of that has to do with human psychology.
The importance of immersion
Why do we enjoy songs or TV shows more when using headphones, as opposed to listening to a speaker? Our world is filled with audible distractions – numerous background noises fill our lives.
These background noises make it hard for us to concentrate on things. It is bad enough when consuming content (movies, videos) on TVs or mobile screens. But gaming is more proactive, or rather, interactive.
Video games, in general, require our full attention to be most enjoyable. The best games immerse us in a different world. And that is impossible without music and audio effects.
Slot machines work slightly differently than your average video game. With a slot, it is a more streamlined experience where you push a lever or press a button, that's it. With such repetitive action, you need background music to keep you in that zone.
In many ways, playing pokies is like meditation - you go into a Zen mode of pleasure, endlessly spinning the reels in search of wins. Imagine doing that while listening to people talking, dogs barking, cars honking - you get the idea.
How music impacts the pokies gaming experience
Offline casinos have to do a lot of planning when it comes to designing the play area for their slot machines. One of the factors they have to consider is sound - you have to place the machines in an area where other sounds do not disturb the player.
Hop over to online casinos and you do not have this issue. Since players access them from the privacy of their homes or using earphones, the casinos don't have to worry too much about distractions. They just have to ensure that the music is pleasing and catchy enough to hold that attention.
Studies have actually shown that humans enjoy the music created in certain specific keys, most notably, the C-key. When researchers asked participants to play pokies with and without music, it was found that playing pokies without music was less pleasant and not very enjoyable.
The relationship between themes and music
The allure of pokies lies in their sheer versatility. You can dress up a slot machine in a wide range of themes. Some of the most popular ones include treasures of old cultures like Egypt, Inca, and the Aztec. Other pokies pay homage to fantasy themes with witches, knights, orcs, and dragons. Animals, sports, candy, and fruits – the list of themes for slot games is quite long.
And they all have one thing in common – they need appropriate background music to keep the player immersed. This is why you will commonly find jungle drums and similar tribal music in Africa and Safari themed slots.
If playing a Japanese or Chinese themed slot, you will naturally hear soothing flutes and other traditional Asian music. Without the right kind of music, the online gaming experience would be very bland indeed.
The special case of branded slots
A vast majority of online slot games are generic, meaning they are endless variations of common themes and tropes. But branded pokies are a different beast. Based on popular franchises from movies, TV series, and video games, these officially licensed games are designed to attract the fans of the original show/game.
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, and you end up playing the slot of the same name, there are a few things you expect from it. Even if the slot has the GoT design, logo, and the characters, it will not be the same without the music.
We are well within our rights to expect the original soundtrack (or something close to it) while playing a branded slot. If you advertise a Friends-themed slot, you better have that amazing title song playing in it!
Music is not so important in a movie like Jurassic Park, but still, everyone recognizes that theme song. If a video slot based on the movie wants to succeed, it should have that music as well.
When music itself becomes a theme
This is a very interesting niche within the world of online video slots. TV Shows, movies, and video games are not the only things with huge fan followings. Music bands have them too, in the tens of millions.
If you can make a slot based on a complicated movie or TV series, how hard would it be to design a slot based on an iconic band or musician? In these slots, the background music itself is the main draw.
And there are many of them out there, as CasinoShortlist has helpfully pointed out. You will find some iconic names and bands in this section. The biggest names that spring to mind are Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Jimi Hendrix.
The pokies designed after them all feature some of their most famous songs as background music. Among the bands, Guns & Roses is probably the biggest band to have their own video slot. For heavy metal fans out there, Megadeth and Kiss-themed slots are perfect.
It Just Wouldn’t be the Same without Music
Music is important to online gambling in multiple ways. It is a potent marketing device as well as an integral part of the entire casino gambling experience. We could never imagine going back to the era of silent movies in the 21st century. The same is also applicable to pokies- we can play them without the music, but the experience would just not be the same.
Published September 13, 2019