Why 7-Reel Online Slot Machines Failed – The Rise and Fall of 7-Reel Slots
Online slots Australia come in many different varieties and can differ in terms of bonuses, paylines, graphics, and themes.
But the easiest way to separate slots is in terms of how many reels they have. Modern internet slots are distinguished by if they have three, five, or six reels.
3-reel slots are holdovers from the old era of land-based casinos. Of course, online slots developers still produce a small number of 3-reel games today.
5-reel slots are definitely the most popular version offered at gaming sites. The biggest online jackpot slots always feature five reels.
6-reel games are a newer addition to the internet casino landscape. These slots have quickly caught on among players.
But there’s an additional kind of slot that many online gamblers aren’t aware of. 7-reel games are another version that can be found in a very limited capacity.
You might be surprised to know that 7-reel slots have been around for quite some time. However, they never took off like certain industry experts predicted.
It seems like 7-reelers should be more popular, given that they create some interesting winning possibilities. But these online slot machines have never experienced the popularity of their 3-, 5-, and 6-reel counterparts.
What held 7-reel slots from becoming kings of internet casinos? Find out as I cover the history, hype, and ultimate fizzling of these games.
Origins of 7-Reel Slots
Both land-based and online casinos have largely been dominated by 3- and 5-reel slot machines. Given that players have always enjoyed these games, it makes sense why developers continue producing them.
But WGS Technology (formerly Vegas Technology) came along with a novel concept in the late 2000s.
The internet gaming pioneer began producing 7-reel online slots, which added a completely new wrinkle to gaming.
I can remember gaming news outlets pumping WGS’ invention a decade ago. Many within the industry wondered if 7-reel slots were the next big thing in gaming.
I certainly can’t blame those who thought this way. After all, the idea of introducing slots with more reels than ever before was a catchy idea.
Another thing that WGS had going for it when these games were released was exclusivity. Nobody was producing 7-reel slots back then, and few online game developers are doing it today.
Everything seemed set for 7-reel games to be successful. But as you’ll see, these slots flamed out for a number of reasons.
7-Reel Slots Have Never Lived up to Expectations
WGS Technology may not be looked at as a top-tier gaming provider. But they were one of the biggest names in internet gaming when they introduced 7-reel online slots.
This fact brought a lot of publicity to their early 7-reel games. Countless news articles made it seem like these slots had already arrived.
But a funny thing happened: these slot machines fizzled out just as quickly as they were hyped up.
Players didn’t suddenly abandon the highly popular 5-reel slots just to spin seven reels. Instead, they largely ignored WGS’ novel concept.
It’s very likely that even the less-popular 3-reel games outperformed 7-reel slots on every stage.
The end result is that few game developers have experimented with 7-reel slot machines in the aftermath of their initial failure.
Why Did 7-Reel Online Slots Fall Flat?
The poor performance of 7-reel slots is due to several reasons. Let’s take a look at the main ones.
The Rise of Progressive Jackpots
The first reason for 7-reel games failing to gain traction is that WGS began releasing these games at a time when 5-reel progressive jackpot slots were coming into their own.
Microgaming released Mega Moolah in 2006, and it’s gone on to become the king of online jackpot slots. This African-themed game has broken numerous online jackpot records, including the current world record of €17,879,645.
NetEnt would launch another legendary internet jackpot slot in 2009 when they dropped Mega Fortune. This luxury-themed game started a jackpot race with Mega Moolah and has delivered the second-largest payout ever at €17,861,800.
Since this time, plenty of other multimillion-dollar internet jackpot slots have been released. That said, 7-reel slots never had an isolated stage to capture players’ attention.
Low-Quality Graphics and Game Design
Another reason why early 7-reel slot machines never took off is that they simply didn’t look good.
Online slot graphics obviously weren’t as good in the late 2000s as they are today. But 7-reel internet slots are on an even lower level.
Games like Farming Futures, Lucky 7s, and The 7 Reel Slot all feature low-quality visuals in comparison to other slots releases at the time.
The gap can especially be seen with The 7 Reel Slot, which features a bunch of multi-colored sevens set against a bland, muted backdrop. This game would’ve been ugly if it were released in the late 1990s — let alone a decade later.
7-Reel Slots Aren’t Ideal for Mobile Gaming
Mobile online slots didn’t take off right away. Casinos began releasing mobile slot machines in the mid-2000s when people were still using boxy flip phones.
But the advent of smartphones in 2009 took consumer mobile technology and gaming to another level. No longer were players forced to spin the reels on unsophisticated phones with lagging play.
In many ways, smartphones and tablets have driven the online slots market ever since they became popular.
Older 7-reel slots definitely don’t fit well with mobile play because they have poor graphics and a cumbersome format for smartphones. This combination of low-quality visuals and too many reels makes it hard to see the action on mobile devices.
Therefore, it’s little surprise that 7-reel slot machines have been left in the dust, while 5-reel games have thrived on smartphones and tablets.
Adding More Reels Wasn’t an Original Idea
Bringing seven reels to online slots was a trailblazing move. But it wasn’t completely original with regard to the overall scope of casino gaming.
Many ideas in the internet slots world come from land-based casinos. And brick-and-mortar slot developers had already been experimenting with seven reels or more.
Online casinos weren’t the first platform for 7-reel slots. Some players had already experienced this concept before it hit gaming sites.
Early 7-Reel Slots Had Too Many Classic Elements
Several internet slots developers were trying bold things in the late 2000s. Playtech launched their Marvel Comics games, Microgaming was running the biggest jackpot slot, and NetEnt was upping the ante on 3D graphics.
7-reel online slot machines also brought a unique element to the gaming world. But there were also many classic elements involved with these games.
Early 7-reel slots featured archaic symbols like 7s, BARs, cherries, moneybags, and fruit. The betting options and background were often fashioned into an old-style slot.
Farming Futures was the first online 7-reeler to break this trend by introducing original symbols to the genre. But even this game has an older feel due to its muted barndoor background.
Players Enjoy 3-, 5-, and 6-Reel Slots More
The premise behind 7-reel slot machines is simple: add extra reels to create more onscreen action and entertainment. But players have never jumped on this concept for the novelty alone.
Instead, online gamblers have always gravitated towards high-quality slot machines above all.
5-reel slots entail many of the aspects that are popular with players, which is why they’re so common at gaming sites. 5-reel slots typically offer the largest jackpots and best second-screen bonus rounds.
3-reel slot machines are highly valued by anybody who wants a simplistic gaming experience. Gamblers who are feeling nostalgic or simply want a relaxing slots session enjoy 3-reelers.
RealTime Gaming (RTG) has had success recently with online 6-reel slot machines. These slots introduce more reels while still maintaining quality graphics and gameplay.
7-reel slots have just never found a proper fit alongside these other options. The earliest versions didn’t compare well to other games in terms of features, graphics, or gameplay.
Even today, 7-reelers just aren’t a draw when compared to slot machines with different reel formats.
Are 7-Reel Slots Still Around Today?
WGS still offers the original line of 7-reel slot machines that they put out in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Farming Futures, Lucky 7s, and The 7 Reel Slot can still be found online. WGS operates in the unregulated US market, meaning you can play these games at offshore casinos.
WGS’ 7-reel slots felt dated almost immediately upon being released. Today, they simply feel like classic slot machines with several more reels.
Perhaps there could be a revival of the 7-reel concept because a couple of game developers have recently jumped into this genre. 2017 saw Play’n GO release Reactoonz and Betsoft launch Giovanni’s Gems.
Reactoonz is a playful space adventure that features exploding reels and entertaining animations. This game also offers two meters that you can fill to boost your chances of winning.
Giovanni’s Gems follows a young man who sets foot into the woods in search of riches. This slot is notable for its rich 3D graphics and plentifully bonus features.
Again, the 7-reel slots market never took off in online casinos. But it’s not totally dead, either, especially with premier gaming providers like Betsoft and Play’n GO launching relevant games.
The point of this post isn’t to make fun of WGS Technology for their early experiments with seven reels. After all, WGS is a famous slots developer that’s released a number of hits over the years.
But for all of the hype that 7-reel slot machines generated a decade ago, they fell way short of expectations.
The idea of seven reels alone has never quite piqued players’ interest. These slots need good design and graphics behind them to draw gamblers.
The 7-reelers that WGS released simply lacked many other aspects that make a slot great.
Early efforts didn’t feature good graphics, original symbols, or unique bonuses. Instead, these were just basic slots that included seven reels.
Most of the innovation in online slots has gone with 5-reelers, which is why they rule online casinos. Furthermore, the biggest progressive jackpots are found on 5-reel slots.
But this isn’t to say that 7-reel games are totally dead. Betsoft and Play’n GO have recently introduced games into this genre.
Perhaps these two providers will continue producing 7-reelers and make the market grow.
It’s safe to say, though, that these slots will never live up to the expectations that were originally raised in the late 2000s. The best that 7-reel slots can do is to become a fun supplement to the more popular 5-reel games.