It’s been far, far too long since I wrote an opinion piece here on Slots Universe.net. So allow me to make amends right now – this very minute.

The target of my ire here is Net Entertainment who, in my view, seem to be going down the wrong road with their latest slots releases. I know I’m not alone in this opinion. Every time NetEnt have released a slot machine in the last 2-3 months, there has been a chorus of disapproval on some of the larger casino forums. The complaint? Well, it’s twofold. One is that the games are boring. The other – more important – criticism is that NetEnt only seem to be putting out low variance slots with tiny wins. In other words, slots where there is simply no possibility of a large payout. Now, it could be that the vast majority of the people complaining are very, very serious slots players and not casual ‘entertainment’ gamblers, so they have a bias against low variance slots. That may well be true, but personally, it doesn’t apply to me. I love slots with long play sessions, even when I know the ‘wins’ I’m getting are barely the same amount as my line bet. But….and the ‘but’ here is critical: the slot has to be compelling in it’s own right. In other words, it’s gotta be fun and there’s gotta be a chance of ending the session up a few Dollars, Pounds, Euros or whatever currency you play. Right now, the last few NetEnt slots (with the egg-ception of EggOMatic, which was enjoyably quirky) have been uniformly dull. Silent Run, Muse, Space Wars…they’ve all followed a similar path. The question is: why? For me, the answer is twofold. In land based casinos, the business case for low variance slots is undeniable. If people have longer playing sessions and frequent (if low value) wins, then their perception of a particular casino is more positive. They are likely to come back again and again and, of course, will continue to lose their money. I suspect this is one of the reasons behind Net Entertainment’s continuing to release one low variance slot after another. The flipside, of course, is that the casino needs more players in order to maximise their profit so the slots must be enjoyable as games as well as betting. The second reason is: Starburst. Starburst, for those that haven’t played it, is a 10 line game with wins paying both ways. It also triggers a win every 3-4 spins on average.  Better yet – it has proven to be a huge hit among players. I suspect it even took the developers at NetEnt by surprise. The corollary of this, I believe, is that the casinos started asking Net Entertainment for more of the same and the software providers were more than happy to oblige. Consequently, we’ve ended up with a raft of increasingly poor slots from a company that once had a great track record. NetEnt need to remember that variety is the spice of life. It’s no good churning out dull slots with no wins and no fun and expecting people to keep playing. Time for a change, methinks.

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