The Price Is Right Slots, released to the public on February 29 of this year, is a Facebook-based slot machine adaptation of the popular game show developed by Ludia, Inc. At the time of writing, our traffic tracking service AppData shows the game as the No. 8 top gainer by MAU in the last week. The game has appeared on the top gainers chart in the past day, with a gain of 460,000 MAUs or a 1,150 percent increase.
Basic gameplay in The Price Is Right Slots takes the same format as the many other slot machine games Facebook currently plays host to. Players select a machine loosely based on one of the Pricing Games from the The Price Is Right TV show, purchase up to 20 “win lines,” choose how much they are going to bet per line and then spin the reels. If a winning combination of symbols comes up, they win soft currency. If it does not, they simply spin again until it does, gaining experience points equal to their total bet with every spin. Leveling up allows players to unlock additional machines and to increase their maximum bet. It also increases the size of their “special bonus” of coins which can be collected every four hours.
So far, so predictable, but it’s the addition of minigames and their implementation that helps add an addictive quality to The Price Is Right Slots. This particular mechanic helps set the game apart from its numerous rivals, many of which demand nothing more from their player than the patience to keep clicking the “Spin” button.
Rather than making the ability to play a minigame dependent on getting a correct combination of symbols on a single spin, The Price Is Right Slots allows players to collect tokens when they match three or more special “token” symbols on a machine. These take two forms — “Contestant’s Row” tokens and a token unique to the specific machine they are playing on. Collecting three of the same token types lets players take on a gambling minigame based either on the theme of the machine they are currently playing or on the show in general. The games are very simple and the rewards often disproportionately small for the amount of effort required to start a minigame, but the token acquisition process adds a sense of tension and the desire for “just one more spin” that simply isn’t present in simpler Facebook slots games.
Also worthy of note is the “Showcase Jackpot” mechanic. Each machine carries a gradually-increasing jackpot total, beginning at 50,000 coins and gradually increasing over time as players place bets. Should a player succeed in spinning five “Wild” symbols on a single line, they win this jackpot, which then resets to 50,000. The “Showcase” part of the mechanic comes with the fact that the player’s profile picture and name is then displayed next to the jackpot total. Again, it’s a simple mechanic, but an effective one that makes playing the game feel a little less “lonely” for players — seeing the name and picture of a previous winner helps promote a small sense of community and may encourage some players to seek out the winners and congratulate them on their victory.
Monetization is kept simple with Credits-for-currency transactions. There are no boosts or powerups for players to purchase, and no virtual items to collect. Social features are limited to gifting packs of five free spins to friends and comparing levels on the in-game leaderboard.
Slot machine games are rarely the deepest titles on Facebook and this often makes them feel unimaginative, uninspiring and predictable. The Price Is Right Slots doesn’t deviate significantly from the basic formula used in every game of the genre, but the simple addition of the token collecting mechanic and the minigames set it apart, giving it an addictive quality that many of its rivals lack. It’s a good example to look to when considering how to create a video slots game which may retain its users beyond the point where their chips run out for the first time.
While not deviating significantly from genre conventions, The Price Is Right Slots has an addictive quality that many of its rivals lack.