A closer look at some software developers
The casino software development market is an extremely competitive one. While there’s a set of established brands who’ve set the benchmark, there’s also a collection of new up-and-coming developers bringing fresh ideas. Let’s take a look at the software developers you’re most likely to encounter when playing at online casinos:
Microgaming claims to be the first company to launch an online casino – way back in 1994. One of the biggest names in the industry, it has a rich heritage of producing well-loved slots and table games, including Thunderstruck, Life of Riches and Untamed Giant Panda. These are just a few of the hundreds of titles Microgaming has released, offering one of the largest collections of online casino games. Microgaming are also well known for their assortment of progressive slots. Mega Moolah is the most famous example, having once paid out a mind blowing £13 million top prize. Microgaming has won a number of prestigious awards, including Digital Product of the Year at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Global Gaming Awards.
Net Entertainment (or NetEnt for short), formed in 1996, is a market leader and one of the best known names in casino software development. NetEnt is proudly responsible for some of the biggest slot titles, including Jack and The Beanstalk, Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest. Their games are broadly appealing and have generated a large fanbase for their quality, originality and respectable RTPs. This can be seen in the range of awards won by NetEnt, such as Best Casino Content Supplier at the EGR North America Awards 2018. Like Microgaming, NetEnt has also become known for its progressive jackpots games, such as Mega Fortune, which has made several lucky millionaires.
Rounding off the ‘big three’, Playtech is another huge software developer and winner of Platform of the Year at the 2018 EGR B2B Awards.Playtech covers all game categories and has produced a range of popular high paying slots, such as the progressive Age of the Gods. It is also renowned for its much-loved film and comic themed titles, including Gladiator and Superman. This is thanks to Playtech’s partnerships with the likes of Warner Bros. and DC Comics that give it exclusive rights to make these themed slots. Playtech is also well known for its live casino software. Fast, HD streams and a wide range of game variants have consolidated its position as one of the best in the business.
Evolution is unique in that it’s sole focus is on providing live casino software. It has become a world leader in this area, offering one of the most extensive collection of live dealer games on the market. Players can enjoy the likes of Live Dragon Tiger and Dream Catcher along with loads of variants of the traditional favourites, including progressive jackpot games. There’s also a unique multi-game feature which allows players to play up to four live games at once. Broadcast from specialist studios, Evolution’s titles are some of the most immersive games available online. The fact that they’ve won Live Casino Supplier of the Year at the EGR B2B awards for nine years in a row tells you all you need to know.
The history of IGT goes all the way back to the seventies; it was a major provider of land-based casino technologies before venturing into the online industry. IGT’s range of online classic slots, such as Triple Diamond, are inspired by its popular titles of the 70s and 80s. IGT has also produced many popular video slots, including Cleopatra, Monopoly and Wheel of Fortune. Slots such Siberian Storm feature the innovative Multiway Xtra feature, where wins are paid from right to left as well as left to right, opening up more potential ways to win. IGT also develops online lottery software, winning Lottery Product of the Year at the 2018 International Gaming Awards.
Like IGT, Novomatic initially made it’s name designing slot machines for land-based casinos, but has since branched out into developing online games. The focus has remained on slots, and Novomatic have created some of most iconic games in the online scene, such as Book of Ra and Dolphin’s Pearl. Their slots are particularly recognisable for their bold, colourful designs and exciting bonus features, such as the ‘gamble’ option which gives you the chance to double your winnings by betting on a bonus round. Winner of Casino Supplier of the Year at the 2018 Global Gaming Awards, Novomatic has also developed high quality table and live dealer games.
Play’n GO has gathered a devoted following primarily due to its exciting omni-channel slots, winning the coveted Slot Provider of the Year at the 2018 EGR B2B Awards. Omni-channel means that Play’n GO games can be enjoyed across a variety of devices, including mobiles and desktops. Play’n GO gained recognition for being among the first to develop this technology, focusing on creating high-quality Flash and HTML5 games that are compatible with handheld devices. It’s slots have become well loved for their vibrant and detailed graphics, extensive bonuses and plentiful free spin opportunities. Book of Dead, Rise of Olympus and Fire Joker are just a few of the most popular Play’n GO slots. As well as slots, Play’n GO also develops table games, video poker, scratch games and video bingo.
NextGen is one of the most respected developers on the scene and has several hundred games to its name. Best known for its slots, NextGen has produced many renowned titles including the likes of Merlin’s Magic, King Kong, The Mask and Foxin’ Wins Again. This developer places a lot of emphasis on the captivating artwork of its titles, as well as innovative gameplay. Nextgen’s ‘superbet’ feature is one such example of this, which allows players to alter in-game volatility and increase potential payouts. NextGen is part of SG Digital, which won Digital Industry Supplier of the Year at the 2018 Global Gaming Awards. NextGen itself has also won several awards, including RNG Casino Supplier of the Year at the 2013 eGaming Review B2B Awards.
Yggdrasil Gaming is a relative newcomer to the industry, having only set out in 2013. However, it’s already made waves with a number of beautifully designed and highly volatile slots. Vikings Go Berzerk, Sunny Shores and Jungle Books are some of their most popular titles. HD visuals, entertaining themes and smooth gameplay have become characteristic of Yggdrasil slots. Winner of Innovator Supplier of the Year at the 2018 International Gaming Awards, It’s also gained praise for its unique in-game features. One of these is the Fusion Realms mechanic, which allows players to jump between five different game modes, one for each of the slot’s five characters, opening up loads of different ways to win. You can try this out in Yggdrasil’s Jungle Books slot.
Playson are another brand that have only recently established themselves as big hitters in the online casino scene, having only been created in 2012. They’ve only produced around 50 titles to date, but have already garnered a respected reputation for their slot games. With a particular emphasis on cutting-edge design, HD graphics and animations, and omni-channel, mobile compatible software, Playtech is sure to continue its rapid rise. Popular slot titles include Viking Gods: Thor & Loki, Dracula’s Family and Fireworks Master.
Big Time Gaming
Founded in Sydney in 2011, Big Time Gaming is newer on the scene than some other casino software companies. But the software house has nonetheless firmly planted its flag in the gaming industry throughout the past decade. Specialising in slots, the company’s claim to fame is that it invented Megaways, a gameplay mechanic where different numbers of symbols appear on the reels with every spin. This means there can be up to 117,649 paylines to play for. Megaways has proven to be one of the most influential innovations in the world of online slots, having been adopted by other developers since BTG rolled it out. The mechanic can be experienced through top Big Time Gaming titles like Monopoly Megaways and Extra Chilli Megaways, which are among the best casino games to play if you’re an online slots aficionado.
Established in 2006 and headquartered in Malta, Betsoft doesn’t just create games — it’s also developed what ranks among the best casino software around right now. It also offers a casino management tool that’s used by its various operators in the gaming industry. Players, meanwhile, have been impressed by its sizeable portfolio of slot games like Take Olympus and Book of Darkness, which feature cinematic, 3D visuals and reverberating sound effects for an arcade game-like vibe. It also has its share of table games, as well as a popular video poker title, Deuces Wild. Signing up to provide games for innovative, Bitcoin-based gambling start-up CryptoBet in 2020, Betsoft looks determined to remain at the forefront of modern online gaming development.
Based in London and Luxembourg, iSoftBet has served up many of the best online casino games since it was founded in 2010. Online slots are a particular specialism, with some of iSoftBet’s titles utilising the Megaways feature pioneered by Big Time Gaming. Its popular games include Neptune’s Fortune Megaways and Queen of Wonderland Megaways. The company has also distinguished itself with movie tie-in slots including Basic Instinct and Jackpot Rango. On top of all this, iSoftBet has also released its own, glossy take on table games like roulette and blackjack. Its status in the gaming industry has been further bolstered by the proprietary game aggregation platform it has created. This platform provides the best online casinos with an easy way to host titles by both iSoftBet and dozens of other top developers.
Realtime Gaming (RTG)
Realtime Gaming has serious pedigree, having been founded in Atlanta, Georgia way back in 1998. Its portfolio of slots titles includes some eye-catching and quirky offerings, such as Builder Beaver, where you help a beaver run his building business, and The Big Bopper, a slot game in honour of the 50s rock ‘n’ roll star JP Rchardson Jr who tragically perished in a plane crash. Boasting vividly colourful graphics and some potentially lucrative progressive jackpots, RTG’s slots library certainly stands up to the output from other sites. Its online gaming expertise goes beyond that, however, with roulette, keno and bingo also having been given the Realtime Gaming treatment.
Aristocrat was already a long-established gambling brand way before the internet revolutionised the industry. The Sydney-based company was founded in 1953, and over the ensuing decades, it released pioneering products like the first-ever five-reel slot machine. But you don’t have to go to head to a land-based casino to play Aristocrat slot games. Instead, the company has fully embraced the digital age by releasing iconic online slot titles like Queen of the Nile. One of the first Ancient Egypt-themed slots, it was a truly trailblazing title that has inspired legions of other similarly themed slot titles. Buffalo and 50 Dragons are among the other games that have helped keep Aristocrat right up there among the top online casino software providers.
WMS Gaming has a long history in the gaming industry. It was launched in 1991, as an off-shoot of an even older firm, and became known for producing lottery terminals and casino slot machines including famous titles like Reel ‘em In and Jackpot Party. In 2013, it was acquired by leading Las Vegas-based gambling company Scientific Games, and these days you can experience the company’s decades of gambling know-how through hit online slots like The Wizard of Oz Emerald City, Zeus God of Thunder and Spartacus: Call to Arms. As you might expect from one of the most recognised and respected names in the business, many WMS titles are counted among the best casino games online right now.