I'm just now starting to digest all the new slot machines I saw at the Global Gaming Expo last week.
One of the big, new technologies from WMS is something they call "Adaptive Gaming." One of the guys in their booth told me it will allow a player to create a profile, (much like in a video game,) and they will be able to advance through tiers of play, even picking up where they left off on subsequent play.
The WMS brochure describes it as "a completely immersive environment that adjusts to player's personal accomplishments and preferences. Using our Wide Area network and advanced WAGE-NET system, players can unlock new "episodes" in the STAR TREK adventure and save their state so they can "pick up where they left off" during their next visit."
I picked up on the concept rather quickly, and asked the WMS guy to show me exactly how a player would create their profile. He told me it would probably happen through the player's card, but he didn't seem so sure. I asked if the player's info could go from to casino to casino, and he wasn't sure of this either. He assured me it would all be worked out, and that these machines wouldn't be on the floors for quite some time.
It's a good thing I'm not a slot manager, otherwise It would piss me off to see a machine I wanted on my floor ASAP, only to get the runaround on the specifics and ETA.
The "Star Trek" machine itself seemed pretty fun, it was mounted on one of those Bose stereo chair systems like the "Top Gun" and "Wizard of Oz" machines. There is a "Trouble with Tribbles" Bonus and a sort of pinball looking bonus, and you collect Medals, that I believe are tied into the tier system.
You would think with all these new machines on free play, my urge to hit the slots would be satiated. Not true, as there is no substitute for playing with real money.
I suggest the slot makers really up the odds next year and offer cold hard cash, for testing out their machines at the show in 2008. A free drink and demo is nice, but why not hit the industry where it lives, and give the insiders a real taste of their own medicine?