Slots from Asia

Published on iGB Special Feature, May/Jun 2020.

There are distinct differences between slots offered in Asia and Europe, from the gameplay to graphics, the maths, themes, features and bonusing. How can these be effectively leveraged to freshen, disrupt and drive more revenues from operators’ slots offered in European markets?

One distinct difference between Asian and European slots is that Asian players prefer games which are more straight forward in terms of math model and feature set when compared to European slots. The most successful slots in Asia, such as Microgaming’s Breakaway Deluxe and JDB’s fishing game, don’t go big on features. Although players prefer higher volatility math models, many Asian operators lean towards lower volatility because it’s considered easier to manage and to yield a higher return. High rollers prefer classic slots with big payouts running on an average RTP of 96.5%.

The use of mobile in Asia is also a differing factor, a very high number of players have been using their mobile device to gamble for many years now. Europe continues to see the trend shift towards mobile and this will further speed up as technology and devices develop. This growth is strongest in the younger gamblers but over time these players will be the main source of revenue for European operators (Based on the research (2019) from Gambling Commission, those who gamble on mobile phones were typically in the younger age groups, with 76% of 18-24 year olds and 72% of 25-34 year olds). The dominance of mobile in the Asian market has already pushed Asian game studios to cater for this and develop mobile optimised content. Players from these age groups are presumingly influenced by video games when growing up therefore gamification in games is nothing new to this group of players. Gamification as we see it, may offer a higher retention rate compared to classic online slots.

In Asia, game studios often run their own promotional campaigns, such as free spins and cash rewards to help build brand loyalty. Unlike the European market, it is common for Asian game studios to have their products displayed in a dedicated lobby on the operators site. This makes brand loyalty an important factor to being successful and drives innovation so that you stand out from a now crowded market.

Operating in Asia has led to us developing 3 product lines which are designed to satisfy different player profiles and take these differences into consideration. From these ranges of games, with minimal adaptation, we are able to meet the needs of players across different countries and validate player behaviors on new products and features. An example of that is our latest range of slot games which allow operators to grow players’ loyalty through a unique in-game bonus system. This is similar to the engagement mechanisms found in mobile games from app stores. We have discovered that rewarding players with in-game credits, which can then be used to purchase bonus features within the game, increased the average player’s engagement by 13%, proving that gamification functionalities add a lot of value.

Asian slots are normally packed with ancient legends from the East with thematics relating to the Lunar New Year and mythical creatures such as dragons and phoenixes. These themes share commonalities with European themes such as Leprechauns and Vikings which are also based on myths and legend. The graphics, effects, sounds and animations may differ but the underlying products are very similar so it’s extremely easy to adapt these products to European tastes.

Asian game studios have the potential to offer innovative ideas to the well established European market and maybe even disrupt game offerings in Europe, providing more options for players that may create a new developing trend for the industry.


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