Every year, new online casino software providers come online and start offering their games to players. As a result of this surplus of developers, many top internet betting sites now host games from an excess of top providers. This creates a superb library of games for players to choose from. However, having such a variety of possible titles can also be a headache for members of casino sites, particularly if they don’t know which developer provides a specific sort of game.
Throughout this article, we will look at all the major developers currently active in the online casino world and peek at their leading qualities. With a little luck, by the time you’ve finished reading this piece, you’ll have a better idea of what each developer provides and be able to rapidly find slot and table games which suit your style and preferences.
Some of 2019’s Honorary Mentions:
The Legend That Is Microgaming
Microgaming is the oldest and most experienced of all the online casino software providers. It was their software that powered the internet’s very first online casino back in 1994. Now with 25 years’ worth of experience in the industry, and an impressive gaming portfolio numbering over 600 titles, they are many players’ first choice when it comes to games. Those games span classic slots, fruit machines, video slots, video poker and many table games.
This eCOGRA certified provider was the first developer to introduce the 243 ways to win payline structure. They were the originators of the Rolling Reels style of gameplay, and slots such as Immortal Romance and Thunderstruck II were amongst the first to offer randomly triggered bonuses to players. Many of these features are still found in their most recent games. Microgaming is also known for being one of only three major software providers (alongside Playtech and NetEnt) to offer progressive jackpot prizes in slot games which are worth many millions of pounds, in games such as Mega Moolah.
In more recent times, Microgaming has set up the Quickfire platform. This open gaming platform allows smaller developers to provide their titles at casinos run by Microgaming software. Of course, with Microgaming being one of the most trusted casino software providers around, this big fish’s games appear at most of the internet’s most successful casino sites.
Playtech: The Masters of Superhero Slots
For many years, Playtech was Microgaming’s main rival. Making their debut in 1999, Playtech is one of the big three developers (alongside Microgaming and NetEnt) although most of their games tend to be found in UK sportsbook/casino sites. Like Microgaming, Playtech also produces table games and even has a few live dealer casino games in their portfolio.
Playtech is widely renowned for its superhero-themed slots. In days gone by, they used to offer a wealth of Marvel-themed slots. However, Disney’s acquisition of the Marvel brand put paid to that. Instead, Playtech nicked the DC license from under Microgaming’s nose and started producing these superhero slots instead. At the same time, their Age of Gods slots are also considered to be some of the most generous around, while older titles such as Beach Life are still going strong, churning out multi-million-pound progressive prizes almost 15 years after they made their debut.
If Live Games Are Your Forte, Evolution Leads the Way
Live dealer casino games are at an all-time high in terms of popularity at the moment. Evolution Gaming was the first casino software provider to deliver these games, and they have not held back since. Widely regarded as the leading software developer in this industry, Evolution Gaming’s portfolio includes over 60 live casino titles, vastly more than any other rival, and they cover blackjack, baccarat, roulette, table poker, money wheel games, dragon tiger, and even oddities such as Football Studio and Monopoly: Live.
Evolution Gaming’s titles can be found in virtually all top casinos which offer live dealer games to their players. These titles are almost always mobile friendly, come with an array of adjustable HD camera angles, can be played in many languages and have flexible table limits. If live dealer games are your forte, Evolution Gaming produced games are the way to go.
Nothing Tops BetSoft Gaming’s 3D Graphics
While the overall quality of graphics in slot games has improved ever since they first appeared, even now so few providers are focusing on 3D imagery in their games. BetSoft Gaming has done so ever since they made their debut. Initially, the honour belonged to a Dutch casino software provider known as Sheriff Gaming. However, they went bust (under rather nasty circumstances if you fancy reading about it), and BetSoft Gaming picked up the mantle from there.
BetSoft Gaming is the world’s leading provider of 3D slots. These games will generally be a touch light on conventional special features, but they will often feature superb 3D imagery on the reels, while animated characters besides the reels dance, jump around and sometimes interfere with the reels themselves to dish out decent wins.
Net Entertainment Are Every Man’s Choice
For players who aren’t sure which developer is best suited for them, Net Entertainment is the way to go. This Scandinavian casino software developer is a part of the big three, and they are now widely regarded to be Microgaming’s chief rival, having overtaken Playtech a few years ago now. This provider has excellent coverage, with their games appearing at many of the world’s leading online casinos. NetEnt games don’t just span slots, either. They are known to dish out live dealer games and table games. Many of those table games also come as numerous variants, with each having a different set of table limits to cater to all players’ needs and budget constraints.
NetEnt currently holds the title of the provider who has the record for the biggest ever progressive jackpot won. That prize was valued at over £13m and was won on their Mega Fortune slot. Jackpot slots are something of a NetEnt speciality, with Hall of Gods, Divine Fortune and Mega Fortune: Dreams also regularly dishing out prizes worth many millions of pounds.
By and large, NetEnt games are very affordable, offering medium to low variance gameplay, and can be found across the net. Expect an array of features to appear in their titles. The Swedish games provider is also known for being imaginative, and many credit them introducing Walking Wilds and the Cluster Pays and Synced (Cloned) Reels style of gaming to the casino world.
The Inventive and Masterful WMS Gaming
Few casino software providers are as inventive as WMS Gaming. This developer has decades of history behind it and was originally a land-based provider of games. They still are, although a lot of their work is now done in the online casino world. WMS Gaming’s biggest strength is their dedication to creating unique and original gaming engines in their releases.
Most of the games you will find from WMS (who are now owned by Scientific Games) tend to feature gaming engines which appear in no other games. Graphically these games can be a little on the poor side, and the uniqueness of the features which appear in their gaming engines are often so complicated to trigger that players are advised to read the paytable before attempting to play the games. Amongst some of the creative features to appear from WMS Gaming are colossal symbols, colossal reels, and cloning symbols (from one reel to another). Many of these features are known commonplace in other providers’ slots. More than a handful of their titles are also directly ported to the digital betting world from the land-based one.
The Land-Based Legend That is IGT
Another provider who has their history in the brick and mortar casino world, and who regularly ports their land-based one is IGT. Arguably one of the oldest developers around (and a big hit in Las Vegas), IGT is known for developing slot games which are a bit on the costly side, and that do not offer a great degree of flexibility in terms of how players set up their bets.
Nonetheless, IGT has been responsible for an array of features coming into games. Many would credit their Da Vinci Diamonds slot as being one of the first to truly realise and utilise the Tumbling Reels feature, which now commonly appears in other providers’ slots and is referred to as cascading reels, collapsing reels, or the avalanche feature. IGT slots tend to be high variance releases, but if you’re after playing a land-based hit in a digital environment, IGT would be the way to go.
Big Time Gaming Think Outside the Box
Big Time Gaming used to be one of the smallest providers, and their games seldom caught anybody’s attention. However, the MegaWays gaming engine changed all of that. The MegaWays engine essentially sees as many as 117,649 paylines randomly occur on each spin. The engine also provides mystery symbols, wild symbols, cascading reels (as mentioned a moment ago), sometimes with increasing multipliers worked into them, free spins, and possibly even re-spins.
The MegaWays engine has been so popular that many rival providers have leased the gaming engine to incorporate it into their own games. If BTG goes down in history for anything, it will be for being the brains behind the MegaWays slot craze which is sweeping the online casino world in 2019.
Yggdrasil, Thunderkick, Red Tiger and ELK Rely On Creativity
Yggdrasil, Thunderkick, Red Tiger and ELK Studios are all very similar in terms of what they offer. Each provider is known for its wacky themes and outlandish imagery. Moreover, they all feature free spin and other special bonus rounds, which may not be triggered in conventional ways. Another highlight of the games from these providers is that they often contain bizarre payline structures, some with odd numbers of paylines to boot.
Games from these developers tend to be low variance titles, ideal for players operating on a budget. If there is an online slot which is miles different from anything else and stands out as being quirky, it will almost certainly come from one of this pack of four providers.
The Re-Branded and Revived Pragmatic Play
Pragmatic Play’s is a beautiful success story, eventually. Not too long ago, they were known as Top Game. They developed sub-par slots (some would even say they were rigged) and got into all sorts of hot water with regulators. Suffice to say, rather than folding; they decided to clean up their act. Re-branding from Top Game to Pragmatic Play wasn’t the only change they made, though.
By changing how they developed games (including scrapping all their former titles), offering low-medium variance gameplay with high RTP rates, stunning 3D graphics (although not entirely on par with BetSoft), and a surplus of inventive and attractive themes, Pragmatic Play was reborn and revived. While Top Game used to dominate the US offshore casino market, Pragmatic Play is a far more legitimate, worldwide company. Their games are now found at most major casinos, where they are rapidly emerging as one of the internet betting world’s most loved providers of titles; what a turn around.
Novomatic’s Obsession with the Same Old Fruit Machines
Novomatic is a leading provider of land-based games, but their online success has been limited. You are likely to find their titles in an ample number of casinos. However, you will quickly realise there is a flaw in Novomatic Greentube games. They are all, by and large, the same. Novomatic’s slots tend to feature the same engine, albeit with a different paint job on top. They are worth mentioning here for this reason, so players don’t get sucked into playing one of twenty-plus fruit machines which are all virtually the same games albeit with varying numbers of lines.
Ainsworth and Barcrest Offer a Rich Man’s Playground
Ainsworth and Barcrest are also flawed developers, in a manner of speaking, but for two very different reasons.
Barcrest is known for the much-hated “buy it now” side-bets. These essentially allow players to trigger special features such as free spin bonuses instantly but at the cost of up to 100x a normal bet. This would be fine if they didn’t lower the RTP rate (and the chance of triggering free spin bonuses normally) if you don’t play with the costly side-bet. If you find a Barcrest slot without this feature, though, such a handful of titles in their hugely successful Rainbow Riches series, these are well worth a go.
By contrast, Ainsworth is to be avoided by all save for the super-rich. Minimum spins on their games often cost at least £1, and the special features in their slots are threadbare. Prizes aren’t epic, either, so you get very little change from these high variance releases. Ainsworth slots are best avoided.
Rabcat – The Kings of the RPG Slot
Rabcat is known as the kings of the RPG slot. Their games include social media and simulation style gameplay. The role-playing game style of slots is a niche market, and games such as Castle Builder (while a hit) require players to continually level up to win big prizes. There is a lot more to these slot games than merely spinning the reels to win. Rabcat games are ideal for players who like a challenge and extensive non-slot gaming but should be avoided by those who just want to spin and win.
The Many Mid-Level Players You Want to Tell Apart, But Can’t
Of course, many of the other developers are mid-ranking providers of casino games. These include NextGen Gaming, Blueprint Gaming, NYX Interactive, Endorphina, Genesis Gaming, iSoftBet, Leander, Pariplay, Playson, and Quickspin.
There is often little to choose between these providers. Many are often hit and miss developers, with some slots being hugely successful and others falling by the wayside. One developer who may soon be leaving this mid-level pack, though, is Blueprint Gaming. Having successfully leased the MegaWays license from BTG, they are rapidly gained popularity in 2019. We may need to find a new spot for them in our list if they keep climbing and appealing to fans at the rate at which they are doing.