Once upon a time, there were solo online slots that often just existed as one. Only on rare occasions, would these slots gain a sequel to continue the story. Naturally, these online slots entertained but there was definitely something missing within the iGaming world.
Eventually, this all changed with the rise of online slot series. No longer were players forced to bank solely on the reputation of the developer as they could decide if a slot was right for them based on the series.
It’s clear that slot franchises revolutionised the industry by giving players games that were familiar and recognisable rather than ones that were alien to them. They at least knew what they were in for with a new entry in an existing series.
That is why slot franchises have blended into the mainstream and are extremely common to find – but how did this rise come about? Let’s dive in to find out how online slot series grew in popularity.
Whilst Playtech’s Marvel slots were the first biggest example of an online slot series, sadly the franchise was retired in 2013 following Disney’s acquisition of Marvel. Despite this, they left a lasting legacy on players craving a slot series which led to the creation of one of the biggest slot franchises out there.
In 2012, Rich Wilde and the Aztec Idols released which kickstarted a series of nearly ten ‘Rich Wilde’ slots, all as equally successful as each other. It may have started as a solo slot, but it soon had hit sequel after sequel which expanded the series into the giant that it is today.
There’s no denying that this wasn’t the first online slot series, but it was definitely one of the first to really gain traction. Other developers soon began taking note of Play’n GO’s adventurer series and decided to create their own, leading to hit franchises such as John Hunter and Crystal Quest just to name a few.
Rich Wilde can be credited as one of the key examples in popularising online slot franchises, but Playtech’s Age of the Gods series is easily one of the biggest. Back in 2016, the original Age of the Gods was released and was soon followed by five other sequels.
Almost every slot site features one of these titles and the brand (Age of the Gods) is well-known across the iGaming world. It can easily be said that Age of the Gods slots are the blockbuster standard in which other developers should be aiming for.
The Age of the Gods series arguably improved the standard of online slot series to Hollywood heights. Although there’s now a certain expectation with online slot franchises to live up to Age of the Gods, developers see the value in creating a series and that there’s a certain demand for more from players. Other developers have attempted their own epic franchises such as Wazdan’s Power of Gods series or Thunderkick’s Beat the Beast series,but none have met the same stature as Age of the Gods.
Around the same time that Age of the Gods began dominating the slot world, many sequels were released as well. Between 2016 to 2020, previous solo slots were now finding new life as a series with developers seeing the potential in expanding an existing slot into something bigger.
Key examples include Rainbow Riches, Vikings Go, Reel Rush, Dead or Alive and Mega Moolah amongst many others. Rainbow Riches debuted as an online slot in 2009 and saw a sequel seven years later in 2016. Similarly, Dead or Alive only found life as a franchise when the hugely anticipated sequel released in 2019 – almost 10 years after the original.
This trend developed as it gave existing slots the chance to become new and relevant again. On top of that, the criticisms from the original can be improved and corrected to become better than the initial slot in some instances.
By 2020, online slot series became commonplace within the industry with a huge influx of slots expanding into unique and creative franchises. From Play’n GO’s Charlie Chance to iSoftBet’s Twisted Tales, the quality and quantity of slot series has escalated.
That’s the beauty with modern slot franchises, they can literally contain anything. Of course, there is a certain expectation of standard, meaning that the slots must at least be playable and unique in some sense. For example, Charlie Chance retains the charm of the original whilst having distinctively different mechanics for each title within the series.
Similarly, Playtech’s Kingdoms Rise slots all are set within the same universe but have different themes. What connects these slots is the universe, networked progressive jackpot, in-game tokens and the feature shop. This is just one of the many examples of impressive slot franchises pushing boundaries and modernising slot series.
Within the space of ten years, slot series have undergone huge changes that have shaped them for the better. It’s safe to say that anything could be a series nowadays – but it’s doubtful that anything will be as big as Age of the Gods.
Playtech tried to recreate the magic with Kingdoms Rise, which had an impressive launch with loads of hype – but never reached the highs of Age of the Gods. Nowadays, the series seems to have gone quiet and there’s debate over whether it can be considered a success at all. Perhaps the age of blockbuster online slot franchises has faded, but that only leaves a space for a new type of slot series.
Developers such as Play’n GO and iSoftBet are evidently releasing a huge variety of online slot franchises, but time will tell what the next step will be. All we know is that online slot series are growing in both popularity and stature, and will only improve with time.
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