Sonic’s got his own slot: what next for branded mobile casino games?
The mobile gaming industry is now worth over £1 billion. And in January this year, SEGA took the booming market by storm, releasing a ground-breaking mobile slots app starring Sonic the Hedgehog himself.
Though the app has proved to be an extraordinary success, the launch has left many questioning why the gaming giant has been so slow to enter the mobile slot market – especially when you consider the fact that slot machines have played an important part in the company’s history.
SEGA’s slot history
It all began in 1952, when slots were outlawed in America. Martin Bromley, a plucky entrepreneur, saw this ban as an opportunity to pick up existing US machines at a fraction of their original price and release them into the Asian market under the name of his new company, ‘Services Games’ – or, as we now know it, SEGA.
It was over in Japan that the company’s own-brand slots, like the SEGA Bell and the SEGA Console, were then developed. When gambling machines were once again permitted on American soil in the 1960s, SEGA were in a prime position to start importing their slots across the globe – and that’s just what they did.
The new SEGA Slots
But despite the success of their early machines, and the fact that online video slots have been around since the mid-1990s, SEGA only broke into the mobile slot game market a few months ago with their new app, SEGA Slots.
It’s been causing quite the storm with Sonic fans. Available for both iOS and Android platforms, it reimagines all the characters from your favourite SEGA branded games inside Vegas-style slot machines. Multiple slots are available within the app, including Sonic Casino Nights, Super Monkey Ball (boasting big banana jackpots), and Samba de Amigo.
Players have been lapping it up like there’s no tomorrow, hence all the questions about why it’s taken SEGA so long to take advantage of the lucrative online casino game market.
However, the launch of SEGA Slots has also sparked a much bigger and, no doubt, more exciting question: which other big dogs in the gaming industry could still be waiting to bring out branded mobile slots of their own?
Nintendo could be next
Nintendo is certainly a hot contender. They have been dominating the mobile gaming market since 1989, when they released the first and most iconic handheld console in history – The Game Boy. It was brought out to coincide with the Japanese video game company’s 100th anniversary, and proved an instant success.
Since then, the company have gone from strength to strength. They’ve flaunted the potential of augmented reality to the masses with the 2016 phenomenon Pokémon Go, and revolutionised flexible gaming with the Nintendo Switch.
No doubt their loyal fans would be happy to see Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach racing on some slot reels, or catch a Pikachu or Jigglypuff in a Pokémon-themed mobile gambling game.
What’s more, in 2010 a game was released for the Nintendo DS that captured the essence of the old-school Vegas slots. Though it didn’t blow-gamers’ minds, it could indicate that Nintendo are looking for ways to cash in on the popularity of slot machines.
From the big screen to the mobile slot screen
And it’s not just videogame characters like Nintendo’s Mario that could be turned into future slot stars. For years, big name slot designers have been teaming up with film studios like Universal Pictures to release slots based on popular cinema hits.
Rocky, Planet of the Apes and Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World are all film franchises that have been recreated for the mobile casino game market (these slots are available at the online casino powerspins.com, where many games can be tried with free spins no deposit). It’s highly likely, therefore, that more will follow.
Indeed, the potential of branded slots, combined with ongoing developments in mobile gaming technologies, makes this a very exciting time to be a mobile slot player.