🔔 Branded Slots: Licensed Movie, TV & Music Slots
If there is one thing slots are not short of, it’s themes. Just about any concept, you can think of has been used to give a slot personality. When it comes to attracting players, few things have the pulling power branded slots do. A branded slot is one themed after some famously recognisable aspect of pop culture. This could be, though not limited to, entertainment forms such as movies, tv, board games, cartoons, books, superheroes, celebrities, and music.
Using a brand often comes with a hefty price tag in the form of licensing fees. Because of this, developers may choose to pour additional resources or ideas into a branded slot to make the venture worthwhile. Not always, though. Some developers are under the impression that shiny packaging is good enough on its own to entertain players. While that might have been the case in the past perhaps, modern players want solid gaming to go with their famous faces. With this in mind let’s delve into the exciting branded slots category to navigate our way through the great and not so great ones.
Why branded slots?
From a developer standpoint the allure is clear - you can create a game that comes with a readymade audience. Even if the slot isn’t great, some punters will be so overjoyed at seeing something they love it’s hard not to give the game a try. This is where reviews and demos are critical because branded slots are certainly not all created equal. On one side are the cynical cases where little thought has gone into the actual game other than shoving a familiar image on the packaging. On the flip side, when a brand is well integrated with features or mechanics, the resulting experience can be super entertaining. These ones feel like real passion projects, and can be an absolute blast to play.
For players, branded slots can offer the fun and winning potential you’d find on practically any other slot. The difference is the extra thrill you get from interacting with a brand you follow – like meeting a celebrity in real life. The range is vast and constantly growing which means there is bound to be a favourite show or movie (amongst other things) starring in its very own slot.
How did branded slots come about?
They say merchandising is where the real money of the movie is made, and developers were quick to spot the opportunity. The first branded slot to hit online casino shelves was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2004, by early pioneer Microgaming. It proved a hit, inspiring several follow-ups starring everyone’s favourite tomb raider. WMS was also early to the scene releasing a bunch of Monopoly themed games, starting a trend which sees no signs of abating. Playtech is another developer to get the ball rolling with Avengers slots starring Thor and Iron Man. Though since Marvel partnered with Disney, they are nigh on impossible to track down now. Once begun, the ball has not stopped rolling ever since, so players are spoiled for choice.
Should you play branded slots?
If you find a branded slot you like that matches your playing style and bankroll requirements there is no reason why not too. There may have been a tendency to find lower RTPs in the past due to the high cost involved in licensing of the games, but that does not seem to be the case so much anymore. As always, read the paytable to absorb the details such as the ever-important return to player rating. Most, if not all, branded slots can be demoed too which is usually the best way to get to grips with a new game, along with reading reviews of which there are many here to get you started.
What types of branded slots are there?
There is a great variety, though some types are more abundant than others. Here are three of the most populous subcategories, with a few examples provided to have a crack at. Remember, this is just a taste of what is available should you pop the branded slot lid to delve in.
Movie themed slots are huge with many stars of the silver screen grace the reels. Movie slots are decked out with characters from films, as well as their soundtracks, effects, and video clips. Some to check out are Terminator 2, Jurassic Park (Microgaming), Beetlejuice Megaways (Barcrest), or 80s cult classics Gremlins (Red7), or The Goonies from Blueprint Gaming. Blueprint is infamous for their branded slots, pushing the boat out with wacky, feature-rich slots like, Mars Attacks!, Sausage Party and slacker anti-heroes Beavis and Butthead.
We are moving through a real golden age when it comes to home entertainment with tv at the forefront. Steaming is king and viewers are even more spoilt for choice than slots players. The budgets on modern shows are staggering, as are is the intricate plots writers manage to weave. It all adds up to fertile ground for developers with loads of tv shows making the crossover. Look out for uber-popular shows lighting up reels like Game of Thrones 243 (Microgaming), Survivor Megaways (Big Time Gaming), Narcos (NetEnt), Conan (NetEnt), Vikings (NetEnt), and Friends (WMS).
Music is another sector that is blowing up with some crackers available from developers like Play’n GO. Roll with 80s rockers Twisted Sister, take a walk on the harder side with thrash groups like Testament, or get jiggy with the Village People in Village People Macho Moves (Fortune Factory Studios).
Oh yeah, there is a ton of weird and wonderful stuff out there from Hoffmania to several Playboy slots. Video games are a well-represented and growing subcategory in their own right. NetEnt dazzled with their coin-op inspired slot Street Fighter 2, while Red7 used the world’s most popular game in their release Tetris Extreme. Relax Gaming has even put the most famous voice in sports to use (boxing MC Michael Buffer) in Let’s Get Ready to Rumble – proving that anything can be used to drive a slot.
Which branded slots are the best to play?
In some ways this is tricky to answer because choosing the best branded slots is a very personal matter. One player may enjoy spinning along to the Guns ‘n Roses soundtrack, another might hate the band, so no amount of features or potential will be enough to win them over. As such, the best branded slot is the one you love the most. Top brands don’t necessarily make top slots though. So read reviews and don’t be shy to demo. No matter how good the audiovisual production, the mathematical model is something that should be taken into consideration as well if you want to get as much out of a slot as possible. That applies to branded online slots as much as any other type of slot.