US 20110065492 A1
Embodiments of the present invention are directed to implementing a near-miss outcome on a gaming device. The display characteristics of the near-miss outcome including the representative indicia that makes up the near-miss outcome and the display positioning of this representative indicia is determined. The near-miss outcome may be directly selected as a game outcome from a plurality of possible game outcomes, or may be identified as the result of a triggering game event and displayed instead of or in conjunction with a determined game outcome.
1. A method of implementing a near-miss game outcome on a gaming device, the method comprising:
receiving an indication that a game outcome is a near-miss outcome;
determining display characteristics of the near-miss outcome including representative outcome indicia of the near-miss outcome and display locations of the representative outcome indicia; and
displaying the near-miss outcome on the gaming device.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
tracking prior gaming events on the gaming device; and
updating the weighted range of numbers associated with the plurality of possible near-miss outcomes based on the tracked gaming events.
7. The method of
8. The method of
9. The method of
10. The method of
11. The method of
determining if each possible payline of the gaming device is played; and
selecting a winning outcome to display on a non-played payline when every possible payline on a gaming device is not played.
12. The method of
13. The method of
selecting a winning outcome to display on the gaming device; and
selecting the reel positions such that the winning outcome is not displayed on any possible payline.
14. A method of implementing a near-miss game outcome on a gaming device, the method comprising:
identifying a triggering event to display a near-miss outcome;
determining display characteristics of the near-miss outcome including representative outcome indicia of the near-miss outcome and display locations of the representative outcome indicia; and
displaying the near-miss outcome on the gaming device.
15. The method of
tracking gaming events on the gaming device; and
monitoring when one or more tracked gaming events satisfies a predetermined criterion for triggering a near-miss outcome.
16. The method of
17. The method of
18. The method of
19. The method of
determining if a next game outcome to display is a winning outcome;
replacing the next game outcome with the near-miss outcome when the next game outcome is a losing outcome; and
selecting display locations of the representative near-miss outcome indicia to not interfere with the next game outcome when the next game outcome is a winning outcome.
20. A gaming device comprising:
a player interface panel including at least one game initiation device;
a memory to store a plurality of possible game outcomes including at least one near-miss outcome;
a processor configured to determine a game outcome from the plurality of possible outcomes and configured to determine display parameters of the game outcome; and
a game display to show the game outcome having the determined display parameters.
21. The gaming device of
22. The gaming device of
23. The gaming device of
24. The gaming device of
25. The gaming device of
26. The gaming device of
27. The gaming device of
28. The gaming device of
29. The gaming device of
30. The gaming device of
This disclosure relates generally to gaming devices, and more particularly to gaming devices configured to include near-miss game outcomes during game play of the gaming device.
Game outcomes on gaming devices are typically determined at random where winning outcomes award a player money, credits, promotions, prizes, or other incentives, and losing outcomes typically result only in a lost wager. Player excitement is typically generated by providing the possibility of winning large awards for a relatively meager wager. Business principles require that most outcomes not be large winning outcomes for the player. However, this often times must be balanced with giving the player some incentive to keep playing. Therefore smaller valued winning outcomes are typically included in the game to drive up the hit frequency of winning outcomes while not awarding extremely large prizes too often.
It was quickly observed that while these smaller prizes were valued to a player, an outcome associated with a much larger prize that just missed being awarded also strongly incentivized players to keep playing because of the generated excitement of almost walking away with a large prize. For example, on a three reel spinning-reel slot machine, a game that had a jackpot symbol landing on the payline on a first reel, followed by a jackpot symbol landing on the payline of the second reel builds great player excitement because of the possibility of the third reel stopping with ajackpot symbol on the payline. As the reel slows down, ajackpot symbol can be seen coming into view. However, it stops just past the payline so that a blank symbol lines up on the payline. While the player feels like she just missed winning the jackpot, this outcome ultimately does not pay the player anything. Gaming device designers noted the excitement caused by this “near-miss” losing outcome and began developing games that tried to encourage this phenomenon. This was largely accomplished by stacking a large number of virtual reel stops on the symbols directly adjacent to jackpot symbols associated with large awards. This configuration causes several problems, however. First, regulatory agencies became concerned that players were being treated unfairly and in some cases imposed restrictions on the ratio of the number of virtual stops that can be assigned to any two given reel strip positions. Second, excessive use of the near-miss outcomes makes the situation less exciting for the player because they are used to seeing it often.
The gaming device 10 includes a cabinet 15 housing components to operate the gaming device 10. The cabinet 15 may include a gaming display 20, a base portion 13, a top box 18, and a player interface panel 30. The gaming display 20 may include mechanical spinning reels (
The base portion 13 may include a lighted panel 14, a coin return (not shown), and a gaming handle 12 operable on a partially rotating pivot joint 11. The game handle 12 is traditionally included on mechanical spinning-reel games, where the handle may be pulled toward a player to initiate the spinning of reels 22 after placement of a wager. The top box 18 may include a lighted panel 17, a video display (such as an LCD monitor), a mechanical bonus device (not shown), and a candle light indicator 19. The player interface panel 30 may include various devices so that a player can interact with the gaming device 10.
The player interface panel 30 may include one or more game buttons 32 that can be actuated by the player to cause the gaming device 10 to perform a specific action. For example, some of the game buttons 32 may cause the gaming device 10 to bet a credit to be wagered during the next game, change the number of lines being played on a multi-line game, cash out the credits remaining on the gaming device (as indicated on the credit meter 27), or request assistance from casino personnel, such as by lighting the candle 19. In addition, the player interface panel 30 may include one or more game actuating buttons 33. The game actuating buttons 33 may initiate a game with a pre-specified amount of credits. On some gaming devices 10 a “Max Bet” game actuating button 33 may be included that places the maximum credit wager on a game and initiates the game. The player interface panel 30 may further include a bill acceptor 37 and a ticket printer 38. The bill acceptor 37 may accept and validate paper money or previously printed tickets with a credit balance. The ticket printer 38 may print out tickets reflecting the balance of the credits that remain on the gaming device 10 when a player cashes out by pressing one of the game buttons 32 programmed to cause a ‘cashout.’ These tickets may be inserted into other gaming machines or redeemed at a cashier station or kiosk for cash.
The gaming device 10 may also include one or more speakers 26 to transmit auditory information or sounds to the player. The auditory information may include specific sounds associated with particular events that occur during game play on the gaming device 10. For example, a particularly festive sound may be played during a large win or when a bonus is triggered. The speakers 26 may also transmit “attract” sounds to entice nearby players when the game is not currently being played.
The gaming device 10 may further include a secondary display 25. This secondary display 25 may be a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD), a liquid crystal display (LCD), a cathode ray tube (CRT), a plasma screen, or the like. The secondary display 25 may show any combination of primary game information and ancillary information to the player. For example, the secondary display 25 may show player tracking information, secondary bonus information, advertisements, or player selectable game options.
The gaming device 10 may include a separate information window (not shown) dedicated to supplying any combination of information related to primary game play, secondary bonus information, player tracking information, secondary bonus information, advertisements or player selectable game options. This window may be fixed in size and location or may have its size and location vary temporally as communication needs change. One example of such a resizable window is International Game Technology's “service window.” Another example is Las Vegas Gaming Incorporated's retrofit technology which allows information to be placed over areas of the game or the secondary display screen at various times and in various situations.
The gaming device 10 includes a microprocessor 40 that controls operation of the gaming device 10. If the gaming device 10 is a standalone gaming device, the microprocessor 40 may control virtually all of the operations of the gaming devices and attached equipment, such as operating game logic stored in memory (not shown) as firmware, controlling the display 20 to represent the outcome of a game, communicating with the other peripheral devices (such as the bill acceptor 37), and orchestrating the lighting and sound emanating from the gaming device 10. In other embodiments where the gaming device 10 is coupled to a network 50, as described below, the microprocessor 40 may have different tasks depending on the setup and function of the gaming device. For example, the microprocessor 40 may be responsible for running the base game of the gaming device and executing instructions received over the network 50 from a bonus server or player tracking server. In a server-based gaming setup, the microprocessor 40 may act as a terminal to execute instructions from a remote server that is running game play on the gaming device.
The microprocessor 40 may be coupled to a machine communication interface (MCI) 42 that connects the gaming device 10 to a gaming network 50. The MCI 42 may be coupled to the microprocessor 40 through a serial connection, a parallel connection, an optical connection, or in some cases a wireless connection. The gaming device 10 may include memory 41 (MEM), such as a random access memory (RAM), coupled to the microprocessor 40 and which can be used to store gaming information, such as storing total coin-in statistics about a present or past gaming session, which can be communicated to a remote server or database through the MCI 42. The MCI 42 may also facilitate communication between the network 50 and the secondary display 25 or a player tracking unit 45 housed in the gaming cabinet 15.
The player tracking unit 45 may include an identification device 46 and one or more buttons 47 associated with the player tracking unit 45. The identification device 46 serves to identify a player, by, for example, reading a player-tracking device, such as a player tracking card that is issued by the casino to individual players who choose to have such a card. The identification device 46 may instead, or additionally, identify players through other methods. Player tracking systems using player tracking cards and card readers 46 are known in the art. Briefly summarizing such a system, a player registers with the casino prior to commencing gaming. The casino issues a unique player-tracking card to the player and opens a corresponding player account that is stored on a server or host computer, described below with reference to
To induce the player to use the card and be an identified player, the casino may award each player points proportional to the money or credits wagered by the player. Players typically accrue points at a rate related to the amount wagered, although other factors may cause the casino to award the player various amounts. The points may be displayed on the secondary display 25 or using other methods. In conventional player tracking systems, the player may take his or her card to a special desk in the casino where a casino employee scans the card to determine how many accrued points are in the player's account. The player may redeem points for selected merchandise, meals in casino restaurants, or the like, which each have assigned point values. In some player tracking systems, the player may use the secondary display 25 to access their player tracking account, such as to check a total number of points, redeem points for various services, make changes to their account, or download promotional credits to the gaming device 10. In other embodiments, the identification device 46 may read other identifying cards (such as driver licenses, credit cards, etc.) to identify a player and match them to a corresponding player tracking account. Although
During typical play on a gaming device 10, a player plays a game by placing a wager and then initiating a gaming session. The player may initially insert monetary bills or previously printed tickets with a credit value into the bill acceptor 37. The player may also put coins into a coin acceptor (not shown) or a credit, debit or casino account card into a card reader/authorizer (not shown). In other embodiments, stored player points or special ‘bonus points’ awarded to the player or accumulated and/or stored in a player account may be able to be substituted at or transferred to the gaming device 10 for credits or other value. For example, a player may convert stored loyalty points to credits or transfer finds from his bank account, credit card, casino account or other source of funding. The selected source of finding may be selected by the player at time of transfer, determined by the casino at the time of transfer or occur automatically according to a predefined selection process. One of skill in the art will readily see that this invention is useful with all gambling devices, regardless of the manner in which wager value-input is accomplished.
The credit meter 27 displays the numeric credit value of the money or other value inserted, transferred, or stored dependent on the denomination of the gaming device 10. That is, if the gaming device 10 is a nickel slot machine and a $20 bill inserted into the bill acceptor 37, the credit meter will reflect 400 credits or one credit for each nickel of the inserted twenty dollars. For gaming devices 10 that support multiple denominations, the credit meter 27 will reflect the amount of credits relative to the denomination selected. Thus, in the above example, if a penny denomination is selected after the $20 is inserted the credit meter will change from 400 credits to 2000 credits.
A wager may be placed by pushing one or more of the game buttons 32, which may be reflected on the bet meter 28. That is, the player can generally depress a “bet one” button (one of the buttons on the player interface panel 30, such as 32), which transfers one credit from the credit meter 27 to the bet meter 28. Each time the button 32 is depressed an additional single credit transfers to the bet meter 28 up to a maximum bet that can be placed on a single play of the electronic gaming device 10. The gaming session may be initiated by pulling the gaming handle 12 or depressing the spin button 33. On some gaming devices 10, a “max bet” button (another one of the buttons 32 on the player interface panel 30) may be depressed to wager the maximum number of credits supported by the gaming device 10 and initiate a gaming session.
If the gaming session does not result in any winning combination, the process of placing a wager may be repeated by the player. Alternatively, the player may cash out any remaining credits on the credit meter 27 by depressing the “cash-out” button (another button 32 on the player interface panel 30), which causes the credits on the credit meter 27 to be paid out in the form of a ticket through the ticket printer 38, or may be paid out in the form of returning coins from a coin hopper (not shown) to a coin return tray.
If instead a winning combination (win) appears on the display 20, the award corresponding to the winning combination is immediately applied to the credit meter 27. For example, if the gaming device 10 is a slot machine, a winning combination of symbols 23 may land on a played payline on reels 22. If any bonus games are initiated, the gaming device 10 may enter into a bonus mode or simply award the player with a bonus amount of credits that are applied to the credit meter 27.
During game play, the spinning reels 22A may be controlled by stepper motors (not shown) under the direction of the microprocessor 40 (
A gaming session on a spinning reel slot machine 10A typically includes the player pressing the “bet-one” button (one of the game buttons 32A) to wager a desired number of credits followed by pulling the gaming handle 12 (
Because the virtual spinning reels 22B, by virtue of being computer implemented, can have almost any number of stops on a reel strip, it is much easier to have a greater variety of displayed outcomes as compared to spinning-reel slot machines 10A (
With the possible increases in reel 22B numbers and configurations over the mechanical gaming device 10A, video gaming devices 10B often have multiple paylines 24 that may be played. By having more paylines 24 available to play, the player may be more likely to have a winning combination when the reels 22B stop and the gaming session ends. However, since the player typically must wager at least a minimum number of credits to enable each payline 24 to be eligible for winning, the overall odds of winning are not much different, if at all, than if the player is wagering only on a single payline. For example, in a five line game, the player may bet one credit per payline 24 and be eligible for winning symbol combinations that appear on any of the five played paylines 24. This gives a total of five credits wagered and five possible winning paylines 24. If, on the other hand, the player only wagers one credit on one payline 24, but plays five gaming sessions, the odds of winning would be identical as above: five credits wagered and five possible winning paylines 24.
Because the video display 20B can easily modify the image output by the video display 20B, bonuses, such as second screen bonuses are relatively easy to award on the video slot game 10B. That is, if a bonus is triggered during game play, the video display 20B may simply store the resulting screen shot in memory and display a bonus sequence on the video display 20B. After the bonus sequence is completed, the video display 20B may then retrieve the previous screen shot and information from memory, and re-display that image.
Also, as mentioned above, the video display 20B may allow various other game information 21B to be displayed. For example, as shown in
Even with the improved flexibility afforded by the video display 20B, several physical buttons 32B and 33B are usually provided on video slot machines 10B. These buttons may include game buttons 32B that allow a player to choose the number of paylines 24 he or she would like to play and the number of credits wagered on each payline 24. In addition, a max bet button (one of the game buttons 32B) allows a player to place a maximum credit wager on the maximum number of available paylines 24 and initiate a gaming session. A repeat bet or spin button 33B may also be used to initiate each gaming session when the max bet button is not used.
The player selectable soft buttons 29C appearing on the screen respectively correspond to each card on the video display 20C. These soft buttons 29C allow players to select specific cards on the video display 20C such that the card corresponding to the selected soft button is “held” before the draw. Typically, video poker machines 10C also include physical game buttons 32C that correspond to the cards in the hand and may be selected to hold a corresponding card. A deal/draw button 33C may also be included to initiate a gaming session after credits have been wagered (with a bet button 32C, for example) and to draw any cards not held after the first hand is displayed.
Although examples of a spinning reel slot machine 10A, a video slot machine 10B, and a video poker machine 10C have been illustrated in
Gaming devices 71 coupled over an optical line 64 may be remote gaming devices in a different location or casino. The optical line 64 may be coupled to the gaming network 50 through an electronic to optical signal converter 63 and may be coupled to the gaming devices 71 through an optical to electronic signal converter 65. The banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network 50 may be coupled through a bank controller 60 for compatibility purposes, for local organization and control, or for signal buffering purposes. The network 50 may include serial or parallel signal transmission lines and carry data in accordance with data transfer protocols such as Ethernet transmission lines, Rs-232 lines, firewire lines, USB lines, or other communication protocols. Although not shown in
As mentioned above, each gaming device 70-75 may have an individual processor 40 (
Thus, in some embodiments, the network 50, server 80, and database 90 may be dedicated to communications regarding specific game or tournament play. In other embodiments, however, the network 50, server 80, and database 90 may be part of a player tracking network. For player tracking capabilities, when a player inserts a player tracking card in the card reader 46 (
The various systems described with reference to
As noted above, gaming outcomes that nearly miss providing the player with a result associated with a large prize can be very exciting for a player. However, conventional methods of encouraging this type of “near-miss” or “near-win” game result are fraught with issues. Many of these issues are caused by the brute-force methods used to generate conventional paytables and reel strips that encourage near-miss game outcomes. As opposed to these brute-force methods, embodiments of this concept provide a gaming device that strategically employs near-miss outcomes to promote player excitement while avoiding over-use or under-use issues associated with conventional techniques.
Here, because the five bonus symbols do not correspond to a payline, the player does not win the five symbol pay. A similar near-miss embodiment may have four or another number of bonus symbols landing on the reels near a pay-line without displaying the full five symbol combination. With five (or more) reel multi-line games, two, three, or four symbols on a payline (or even a single symbol) sometimes pay something, although this award value is typically much less than the award value for a five symbol pay. This illustrates another type of near-miss outcome. As shown in
A winning symbol combination appearing on a non-played line is one example of this type of near-miss outcome. In another example, a certain game feature may only be available with a max bet placed or certain threshold bet placed. For example, a bonus may only be available if three coins/credits are wagered during a game. If the player wagers only one or two credits, the bonus symbol or combination of symbols may appear, but is not awarded to the player because they have not made the necessary wager. In another example, a certain feature may only be available to an identified player with a player account. If the player does not have such an account, they would not be eligible for the prize when it appears as part of the game. Near-misses of this type often encourage a player to modify their wagering or gaming habits. For example, a player may always play five lines after receiving the five symbol bonus combination on a non-played payline.
The appeal of the near-miss outcome is in the anticipation it builds and feeling by the player that they almost won a large award. A near-miss of a large award is often more exciting to a player than the winning of a relatively small award. This is because most players play gaming devices, and in particular slot machines, for the possibility of winning a large award with relatively little wagered. As discussed above, this concept is not limited only to slot machine gaming devices. Rather, the determination and use of near-miss outcomes can be used with a variety of different gaming device types or themes. For example, this concept may be used with keno, video blackjack, video poker, etc. The above figures have set out various embodiments of gaming devices and near-miss outcomes. Selection processes for these near-miss outcomes for use on these gaming devices will now be discussed. Some of these selection processes utilize an outcome selection process described in detail in patent application Ser. No. 12/542,587, filed on Aug. 17, 2009, entitled DETERMINATION OF GAME RESULT USING RANDOM OVERALL OUTCOME SUMMARY (hereinafter referred to as “the Ser. No. 12/542,587 application”), the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The selection of a near-miss outcome may be associated with a determination of a game outcome or may be the result of a triggering event. In some embodiments, a particular near-miss outcome may be directly selected as the game outcome, while in other embodiments a generic near-miss outcome may be selected or associated with a selected game outcome. Additional details regarding these selection methods are discussed below. In embodiments where the near-miss outcome is the result of a triggering event, the near-miss outcome may replace a determined game outcome or may be presented in addition to a determined game outcome. Where the game outcome is determined by conventional methods, the specified near-miss outcome may either replace the determined game outcome or be held and displayed during a subsequent game. For example, if the near-miss outcome can only replace a game outcome that is determined to be a losing outcome, the near-miss outcome may be held for two or more games that have winning outcomes before replacing a losing outcome in a later game. Where the game outcome is determined by a direct selection of a game outcome, as detailed in the Ser. No. 12/542,587 application, the near-miss outcome may be displayed with a selected game outcome, may replace the selected game outcome, or may be stored for a period before being implemented and displayed. Triggering events that may dictate the selection and display of a near-miss outcome include receiving one or more predetermined game outcomes (e.g., losing ten games in a row), reaching a wagering or play threshold (e.g., triggered by the 500th credit wagered in a gaming session), based on game play characteristics of the player (e.g., the player has played less than all possible paylines for 20 consecutive games), based on other gaming events (e.g., the player has a banked nudge that has to be used in the next 10 games), or based on another type of event associated with a player or gaming session.
The “Paytable Weight” column provides a number range for each of the outcomes that determines how often that outcome occurs. The “Hit Frequency” column reflects what percentage of spins will result in a corresponding wager. The hit frequency is simply determined by dividing the associated paytable weight by the total of all of the paytable weights, which is “2246” in all of the examples. The “Contribution” column is achieved by multiplying the value in the “Pay” column with the value in the “Hit Freq” column. This contribution relates to the relative or normalized weight each outcome has on the payback percentage of the game. The sum of these contributions results in the overall payback percentage of the game. The hold percentage of a gaming device is simply 100% minus the payback percentage.
Note that each of these near-miss outcomes is not associated with any award. As such, the paytable weights used for these near-miss outcomes were taken from the generic losing outcome “X X X” without affecting the overall hit frequency or payback percentage of the game. The only difference in the play of the game would be that one of the three specified near-miss outcomes would appear about 4.45% of the time. During selection of a game outcome using this paytable, one of the near-miss outcomes may be directly selected as the game outcome. For example, the “JP JP XJ” near-miss outcome may be directly selected as the game outcome and displayed on the payline using the outcome display techniques discussed in the Ser. No. 12/542,587 application.
Near-miss outcomes may provide ideal opportunities for using nudges or other advantageous items. As such, in some embodiments, they may be tied to an award of a nudge or other item so that a near-miss outcome is triggered a particular number of games after a nudge has been awarded to the player. In this situation, the paytable may fairly value the award of the nudge at the value of the award resulting from its use on a later triggered near-miss outcome. For example, suppose a player is awarded a nudge that must be used in the next 25 games. Nineteen games later, the player is presented with a near-miss outcome, triggered by the earlier nudge award in which the nudge may be used to complete a mid-level symbol combination. The player may choose to use the nudge at this point or may choose to wait and use it in one of the next six games. Essentially, the player is risking losing a sure use of the nudge for the possibility of being able to use it the next six games to achieve a larger award. When a nudge is awarded, a subsequent near-miss outcome may be chosen to be presented during the active period of the nudge. Additionally, a game in the active period of the nudge may be selected for displaying the near-miss outcome. These selections may be made at random from a weighted table, or other selections means, to emphasize certain near-miss outcomes and the most opportune times to present the near-miss outcome.
In other embodiments, near-miss outcomes of mid-level symbol combinations may be presented when a player has one or more banked nudges or items to induce the player to use the items rather than holding on to them for use in completing a much larger valued symbol combination. Additionally, near-miss outcomes may simply be part of a gaming device that utilizes banked items. The gaming device, however, may recognize when a near-miss outcome has occurred and encourage the player to use a banked nudge or other item in this situation. Referring again to
Although nudges are discussed above with respect to
If process (314) determines that the selection of a particular near-miss outcome has not yet been selected, such as where the game outcome indicates a generic near-miss outcome, a near-miss outcome is selected in process (330). The selection of a near-miss outcome in process (330) may include selecting a near-miss outcome from a table of possible near-miss outcomes, as is illustrated in
If it is determined that the indicated game outcome is not a near-miss outcome, the gaming device then determines if a near-miss triggering event has been received in process (320). If a near-miss triggering event has not been received, the gaming device displays the indicated game outcome according to the outcome determination methods discussed in the Ser. No. 12/542,587 application or according to conventional techniques in process (350).
If a near-miss triggering event has been received, on the other hand, the gaming device then determines if the triggering event specifies a particular near-miss outcome in process (325). As discussed above, a near-miss outcome may be triggering even when such an outcome is not originally indicated as a game outcome based on a variety of criteria and/or triggering events. In some embodiments, a near-miss outcome will not be triggered if the indicated game outcome is a winning or preferred game outcome. In other words, only a losing outcome would be modified into a near-miss outcome by a triggering event. In other embodiments, even if a game outcome is indicated as a winning outcome, a near-miss triggering event may cause a near-miss outcome to appear on a different payline, near a payline, or even as part of the indicated winning outcome.
If a near-miss outcome is not specified by the triggering event, the gaming device then selects the near-miss outcome in process (330). After selection of the near-miss outcome, flow 300 proceeds to again to process (340) to select the indicia and location of near-miss outcome. If the near-miss outcome is specified by the triggering event, flow 300 proceeds directly to process (340) to select the indicia and location of near-miss outcome. After the indicia and location of the near-miss outcome has been selected, the near-miss outcome is displayed to the player on the gaming device in process (360).
In the embodiment illustrated in
The count of near-miss outcomes may be player specific, game specific, game-type specific, casino specific, etc. In embodiments, where it is player specific, an identified player may be able to store the count of near-miss outcomes in a player account database 90 (
In the illustrated embodiment shown in
In other embodiments, near-miss outcomes that increment the meter may increment the meter by different amounts relating to the quality of the miss. For example, a four symbol cherry combination near-miss may increment the near-miss meter 427 by one while a near-miss of a five symbol bonus may increment the meter by five. An incrementation schedule along with the qualifying near-miss outcomes may be included on the gaming glass or help screen to clarify this difference in incrementation to the player.
The near-miss meter 427 may become visible or more prominent as the near-miss count approaches an award threshold. A gaming button 432 or soft button may be used to access the near-miss meter 427 if it is not visible at certain times to the player. The near-miss meter 427 and associated prizes may only be available to certain players, such as identified players or players playing above a certain coin-in threshold. The prizes or promotions awarded for the near-miss outcome meter 427 reaching a certain threshold level may be built into the game paytable, or may be taken out of a marketing or promotional budget.
Some embodiments of the invention have been described above, and in addition, some specific details are shown for purposes of illustrating the inventive principles. However, numerous other arrangements may be devised in accordance with the inventive principles of this patent disclosure. Further, well known processes have not been described in detail in order not to obscure the invention. Thus, while the invention is described in conjunction with the specific embodiments illustrated in the drawings, it is not limited to these embodiments or drawings. Rather, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents that come within the scope and spirit of the inventive principles set out in the appended claims.