Facebook games pioneer Zynga on Wednesday said it was expanding its
casino-style offerings with an "Elite Slots" title that weaves social
and story elements with luck-based play.
"It's kind of like going to
Las Vegas and sitting around a social slot machine with other people,"
Zynga design director Josh Gause said while demonstrating the new game
for AFP. "Unlike Vegas, everyone is a winner."
Gause and fellow
game design director Nate Ratcliffe built role-playing and mini-game
elements into Elite Slots, which Zynga promised would be available at
Players are represented on screen as animated pets
that progress through levels and find in-game treasures based on
outcomes of spins at virtual slot machines.
Themed levels include
an enchanted forest and a vampire "house of fangs." At certain points
players are pitted against powerful enemies in "boss battles," the
outcomes of which are determined by slot machine spins.
"Every one of our themes tells a story," Gause said. "There are bosses, heroes, and every pet has a back story."
After big wins at the slot machine, victorious animated characters appear on the screens of other players dropping rewards.
Slots is free to play, but Zynga is hoping people will spend money
buying animated pets with upgraded powers and on in-game coins for extra
pulls at slot machine handles.
"Cool collectibles" and being able
to progress through games by leveling up abilities are among features
typically found in successful Zynga and Facebook games, according to
"Those game mechanics work," Ratcliffe said. "We are
taking basic principles like those and looking at how to make a slots
The slot machine part of the experience was kept
"pure" when it comes to the odds of getting winning spins, according to
the game designers.
Elite Slots will be Zynga's fifth casino-style game in a lineup that includes poker and bingo.
did not reveal how Elite Slots fits into what the struggling social
games pioneer has described as a "strategic effort to enter regulated
ream money gaming markets."
Zynga has applied to the Nevada Gaming
Control Board for a "preliminary finding of suitability" that would
clear the way to seek a license to let players bet money on its online
games in the state that is home to Las Vegas.
Zynga expected it to take a year to 18 months before the outcome of the
application is known and did not reveal whether it intended to pursue a
Nevada gambling license of any kind if it is successful.
Nevada move came less than two months after Zynga announced a
partnership with RMG operator Bwin.party to run poker, roulette,
blackjack and other virtual casino games in Britain.