Artificial Intelligence: The Missing Key to the Future of Slots Creation?

The online slots industry is renowned for being a hyper-competitive market, where operators face the continual challenge of providing the latest, most engaging content for their players to enjoy.

In order to stay ahead of the competition–and attract new players–operators must constantly strive to bring new player experiences to market.

Today, with the crucial emergence of exciting new AI technology, it seems that, finally, operators may have the perfect solution for their slots portfolio challenges.

We caught up with some of the leading thinkers in this sector to hear their thoughts on the future impact of AI on the slots industry and, most importantly, how it can be best leveraged to maximise the customer experience.

Speakers include:

  • Mark McGinley, Chief Gaming Officer at Yggdrasil (MM)
  • Yulia Aliakseyeva, co-CPO at BGaming (YA)

Have you already started using AI in slots creation and if so, in what way?

MM: “Yes, primarily during the new concept and pre-production phases of game development. We use AI to explore new ideas around art direction and the general thematic approach. This allows us to try out different avenues in a time-effective and efficient manner prior to reaching a point where we’re happy with a visual style we want to move forward with.”

YA: “In 2022, we embarked on research and development activities regarding integrating AI into our game development processes as a strategic move that would propel us ahead. Now, our game designers and art creators harness AI tools that assist in prototyping, creative brainstorming and searching for the best images, streamlining our design process. In April 2023, we released the Alien Fruits title, followed by the Wild Chicago online slot in June 2023. These games were our first AI-driven endeavours that went live. Their static graphic elements were 90% generated by AI, with further manual touches tweaking the games to perfection. This approach accelerates development, sparking fresh ideas and patterns while representing a new visualisation paradigm — producing the digital, vivid, and futuristic images that players love so much. Foreseeing the potential of the AI global trend, we at BGaming were one of the pioneers who applied AI-empowered technologies to our products. Our commitment to this innovation is not just an experiment. We are actively introducing AI tools in our workflow and striving to integrate them for optimization, automation, and assistance in the long term.”

Do you expect AI to play a significant role in slots in the future or will it be a fad with studios doing some initial experiments?

MM: “It’s absolutely not a fad in my opinion. I foresee it evolving further and at a much faster rate when the tech and the awareness of it increases. AI isn’t going away anytime soon, and I envisage it will only go from strength to strength. I therefore take the view that we must learn more about it and see how and where it can add value in our business. Although we are not yet using AI in the actual slot creation process at Yggdrasil, it can provide an opportunity to enhance our content and stand out from the crowd. If developers use AI tools wisely, the quality of games will increase, giving players a better product.”

YA: “We firmly believe that AI is not only poised to become a substantial element within the iGaming industry but will extend its influence across various domains. AI is already present in iGaming, and its consolidation, continuous development, and significant role are assured, marking it as a lasting phenomenon. Many prominent market players are integrating AI into content production processes, primarily focusing on artistic elements, envisioning AI’s role in enhancing the visual appeal and creativity of iGaming experiences.

“From there, we see further transformation in other aspects of game development, ending with the customisation of user journeys, utilising AI to tailor gameplay, graphics, and features to individual player preferences. We at BGaming already have plans to develop personalised lobbies, where AI will curate and present gaming options based on each player’s tastes and history, creating a truly unique and engaging environment.”

Is there a danger that AI will kill creativity in slot creation and make developers more redundant?

MM: “I don’t foresee AI will fully take over the process but work as a complimentary part of it. I believe we will have a lot of freedom to work with the tech around slot creation and development and don’t see any danger of it hampering creativity – humans and AI can work in parallel. AI tools can support programmers’ work, allowing the creation of better-quality code, optimised solutions, specific documentation, and accurate tests and can help develop their skills. However, AI will not replace programmers as the code generated by AI requires some verification and adjustments for complex tasks. As AI evolves, there’s a risk it could impact certain sectors/industries in some capacity, but this is the same for all new technological advancements.”

YA: “It’s unlikely that AI will entirely eliminate creativity in slot development or diminish the demand for developers. AI algorithms learn from existing human-generated content and can generate new material based on these foundations. They can’t truly invent, imagine, or innovate from scratch. Creativity, the ability to think outside the box, and the capacity to develop novel ideas remain distinctly human qualities.

“AI will play a role in streamlining and optimising repetitive and routine work, enhancing efficiency. Nevertheless, it won’t lessen the significance of professionals and tasks that involve imagination, conceptualisation, and design. The future will see increased automation across the industry, but the human touch will remain vital in assessing the quality and suitability of AI-generated content.”

How do you expect improvements of the tech will evolve the slots sector in the future?

MM: “AI will evolve and become more accustomed to each of the key pillars of slot development over time, such as math, design, art and mechanics. Art and translation are two areas where we have seen significant improvement and development in recent years, and it won’t be long before we’re having similar AI discussions across other key parts of slot creation and development.  

“Many suppliers are looking to build high-quality slots fast and in a more cost-effective and efficient manner, so the more AI talks to these objectives the more game studios will be drawn to assess and evaluate such. But saying it is one thing and doing it is another. These things take time and trust needs to be earned and this won’t happen overnight.”

YA: “Anticipated technological advancements are set to transform the future of the iGaming industry. Currently, our industry needs to catch up to other entertainment domains, partly due to conservatism among both industry players and gamers. The integration of new technologies, AI in particular, promises significant changes to a more extensive array of games, adapting to specific operators, regions, target audiences, emerging trends, collaborating with influencers, and revealing many other agendas.

“The static nature of iGaming content, with a predominance of mostly slots, will give way to dynamic, rapidly evolving content with more diverse game types, mirroring the continuous updates and variety seen in other entertainment niches. Looking forward, AI will extend its influence to other game development aspects, including verifying random number generation, altering mathematics just in a game, ubiquitous artwork and animation creation, and many more. Players can expect more customizable and user-generated content options, enhancing their participation in shaping the gaming experience. These advancements will propel the iGaming industry out of its conservative shell and into a more dynamic, innovative future.”

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