If you haven’t been paying close attention over the past 18 months or so, you might have missed that the online slots world is currently enjoying an explosion of innovation around payways mechanics.
Sometimes these innovations are referred to by a branded name such as Xways, Nitro Reels, Megaways, Xsplit, Megapay or any of the seemingly endless multitude of other similar names launched each month.
Other suppliers have rolled out innovative payways mechanics in recent titles without trademarking a separate name.
However, whichever way you slice, squash, hold or expand the reels, they are all Dynamic Payways games, and it looks like they are here to stay.
Commonly defined across the industry as the ability for each spin to have a different number of active payways, Dynamic Payways titles have been created to introduce yet another feature to keep players excited and engaged.
Typically, these titles exponentially multiply the available paylines, sometimes well into the hundreds of thousands, giving operators and players alike the volatility, entertainment and opportunity for epic wins – with expanding, held, split or squashed reels, players can and now regularly do win 17,000x their bet or more on Dynamic Payways titles.
To add to the complexity just a bit more, these new payways mechanics can also be localized to a feature within a game too, say Free Spins or a bonus round, rather than forming part and parcel of the regular gameplay itself.
There are so many variants of Dynamic Payways titles that it can be exhausting to keep up with, even for seasoned industry watchers, but with entire online casinos launching this year that will only have one specific trademarked name of Dynamic Payways title game available, it’s safe to say that the success of these titles is not in dispute.
Just a gimmick to be added on top to any title?
The pure ubiquity of certain trademarked-named Dynamic Payways games around the global gaming industry now leaves many to question whether these innovations in paylines are merely a gimmick and just a passing fad. Or perhaps they really are something more fundamental.
Like many things in life, it depends. The devil is in the detail.
What should be pretty clear to anyone with even a passing interest in slots is that it’s neigh on impossible for all the Dynamic Payways games currently flooding the market to have been holistically designed from scratch to truly integrate their particular payline mechanic and retain some semblance of entertainment value and in-depth gameplay.
Which means that there are likely titles out there that have had a particular branded Dynamic Payways mechanic added, almost as an afterthought.
So, is the value then in the name, or in the game?
To brand or not to brand, that is the question. And also a risk.
For the past year or so, we’ve seen at least two divergent strategies from slots suppliers when it comes to Dynamic Payways titles – release a branded title (usually carrying the name Xways, Nitro Reels, Megaways etc and often under license), or release unbranded Dynamic Payways titles.
Is there a right answer? It might be too early to tell. But what we can be fairly sure of is that the ‘unbranded route’ is seemingly less risky than the branded or under license one.
Business strategies changes all the time, and what was once available under license may no longer be – often at the drop of a hat. Suppliers that are investing their resources into producing titles that borrow heavily on someone else’s owned brand equity may well find themselves standing in the rain without an umbrella if licensing is no longer an option. A risky strategy.
This is why it’s a fairly safe bet that the next phase of the Dynamic Payways explosion will see an increasing number of suppliers rolling out their own trademarked brand-named titles with payways mechanics. Some will be truly innovative and new; others will be derivative and serve to muddy the waters further for both players and operators trying to find the next big thing.
The future of Dynamic Payways slots
With new markets in both Latin America and North America opening to iGaming, and recently regulated markets maturing quickly, it’s clear that there is a palpable rush from suppliers to create the next big thing in slots.
While no one is yet sure what the next all-conquering slot title will be, it’s probably a good bet that it will be game that features Dynamic Payways.