Many may not realize it, but online casinos have actually become popular avenues for game franchise expansion. These gaming platforms tend to be most popular in select parts of the world (such as the UK and Australia, to name a few). But they’re slowly becoming more universal, and given how visible the games are, they can now do a pretty good job of showcasing major titles.
To give a few examples, we’ll start with the iconic Street Fighter series, which has been adapted by NetEnt into a slot machine game called Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. True to form, it features fan-favorite fighters Ryu and Ken facing off on the cover. The Tomb Raider franchise has its own slot reel as well, inspired more by the older games (and Angelina Jolie-helmed film) than the new ones. Hitman, despite some changes on the development end of the franchise, produced a slot as well. And this is all to say nothing of numerous action, adventure, and sci-fi films that have also inspired similar games.
As these examples indicate, online casinos are indeed ripe for franchise extension. And this is the case despite the fact that the category has had relatively little exposure in the United States — where some of those franchises originated, and where all are very popular. Now, this is changing. When the state of New Jersey adopted online casino games several years ago, it broke down a barrier in America. But few thought much of it, given that New Jersey already had a reputation for its land-based casino gaming. More recently though, Pennsylvania has welcomed similar gaming websites, showing that internet casinos can thrive in new places. As of now, the U.S. still prohibits casino gaming in more places than not. But with sites available in Pennsylvania, there’s a feeling that the casino category could yet earn significant exposure in America.
This presents an intriguing opportunity in two directions. On the one hand, movement into the U.S. market means gaming franchises stand to gain even greater exposure by producing slot and arcade adaptations. On the other hand, those same adaptations could make casino slots more familiar to U.S. gamers, and thus help casinos ease into the mainstream.
Just for fun, we thought of a few franchises in particular that could thrive in this role.
Rumor has it the folks behind Halo are actually working on a spin-off already. Odds are it’s not a casino game, but the fact remains that this would make for an excellent adaptation. The legendary shooter series is instantly recognizable to fans for its unique characters, weapons, and vehicles, all of which would stand out on a casino platform.
While there’s no exact measure to determine this, there may not be a more beloved gaming franchise in the world than Pokémon. Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine a much more enjoyable slot reel than one packed with these games’ lovable, nostalgic critters. Plus, it’s easy to imagine the mini-game (something a lot of slot arcades now have). Players could get the chance to catch rare Pokémon for bonuses, or to amplify winnings from the regular reel.
3. Super Mario
The Super Mario games hardly need an introduction or justification here. Suffice it to say a Super Mario Bros. slot would have a chance to become the most popular game in the genre overnight.
Right now, most of the attention where the Zelda games are concerned revolves around the coming sequel to Breath Of The Wild — one of the most well-regarded games of the last decade. If the studio wished to branch out though, a Zelda slot reel would strike similar notes of nostalgia and general enthusiasm to Pokémon or Super Mario. This is a thoroughly adored franchise, and its legions of fans will likely follow the name “Zelda” anywhere it goes.
Finally, there’s Madden. The game might not quite have the same breadth of appeal was the previous examples, but if we’re talking specifically about the American audience, Madden’s about as good as it gets. The famous (American) football series would in theory already have the licenses required to put real players’ likenesses onto slot reels, which would make for a lot of fun for innumerable passionate sports fans.
If even one of these adaptations happened, casino slots would be on their way to significant U.S. popularity, and likely a worldwide boost as well. If several of them are made — and others like them — online casino games could reach heights it’s currently difficult to imagine.