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It’s an understatement to say that online casinos are big business. The popularity and legitimacy of mobile as a platform for gaming, plus the potential unlocked by the ever-increasing power of the smartphones we carry in our pockets, has drawn huge swathes of new gamers across all demographics across all genres. Casino games too, have found a new audience, one which may never have set foot in a bricks-and-mortar casino.
With such a competitive marketplace, casino operators need to offer the best possible games, and these are getting more hi-tech and immersive by the day. Competition between casino software developers is fierce, and healthy, in that it drives the quality of user experience ever-upwards. Let’s take a look at four of the major players in casino game development.
Often considered the pioneer of online casino games, software company Microgaming launched the first true online casino in 1994, and hasn’t relinquished its place at the sharp end of the industry ever since, seeing massive growth after smartphones launched and proliferated in the late 2000s. Microgaming’s most well-known title, and one that no doubt inspired many to take up online casino gambling, is the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot slot.
In May 2009, Microgaming's progressive slot Mega Moolah paid out $6,374,434, the largest online casino payout to date. A new Guinness world record was set on 6 October 2015 when it paid £13,209,300 to an extremely lucky British soldier.
In addition to Mega Moolah, Microgaming boasts an extensive portfolio that includes classic slots, video slots, table games, and live dealer games. They were one of the first companies to release games featuring popular franchises like Jurassic Park and others, paving the way for the vast array of themed slots we see now.
NetEnt, short for Net Entertainment, is another heavyweight in the casino software development industry. Renowned for its innovative approach to game design, NetEnt has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity, and is a pioneer in themed and more involved slots. One of its standout games is Gonzo's Quest, based on the real-life figure of Gonzalo Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador. It’s a visually stunning slot that introduced the industry to the concept of cascading reels, as well as proved the popularity of history-themed games — one look at Paygamble, the best gambling resource for UK players, will show you just how many games are set in Roman times, or Ancient Egypt, for example.
Another iconic creation from NetEnt is Starburst, a visually dazzling slot that has become a staple in many online casinos. Its simplicity, coupled with vibrant colours and an engaging soundtrack has made it one of the best-known (and widely played) slot games in online casino history.
Another giant in the online gambling industry, Playtech offers sports betting as well as online casino games. Known for its commitment to providing a seamless gaming experience and developing the latest tech to provide a more immersive experience for players, Playtech has developed an impressive array of slot games, table games, and live dealer games.
One of Playtech's flagship slots is Age of the Gods, a series of progressive jackpot slots that draw inspiration from Greek mythology. As the jackpot system is interconnected it offers potentially higher winnings, increasing the excitement for keen punters.
Beyond slots, Playtech's live dealer games, such as Quantum Roulette and Buffalo Blitz Live are among the first of their kind, and most online casinos have now followed suit to include games with live dealer interaction, and even AR/ VR capabilities.
While many casino software developers focus on slots and traditional table games, Evolution Gaming has carved a niche by specialising in live dealer games. Since its launch in 2006, it has become the industry leader in live casino solutions, Evolution Gaming has transformed the way players experience online gambling — we’ve used the word already, but making games as immersive as possible is a major selling point that online casinos use to attract and maintain customers.
Games like Lightning Roulette and Monopoly Live are good examples of Evolution’s meshing of live dealers with the newer innovative use of technology, with AR and multiple camera angles, elevating the realism and atmosphere of the games.
The world of online casino software development is a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape. Leading developers in stiff competition are contributing to the industry's growth, the quality of the games, and the overall online casino experience.