When we talk about software providers in the iGaming industry, we simply refer to the companies which create casino games and, in some cases, also offer complete casino solutions. The truth of the matter is that the main driving force of online casinos is in fact the games they offer. Today you can find casinos powered by a single provider or you can easily find operators which have thousands of games on offer, powered by as many as 100 different providers or even more.
An interesting fact is that the choice of software for online casinos can also affect their overall reputation. Every experienced player will tell you that if you come across an online casino which offers games from the top software providers you can be sure that it’s a legit site. All leading casinos want the best for their players and it begins with the games they have to offer.
We can easily say that gambling has been around for ages. Some evidence dates gambling all the way back to the Paleolithic era, but the earliest written evidence can be found in ancient Mesopotamia, as far as 3,000 BCE. Gambling houses were incredibly popular across China, while dogs or even cock fights can be traced back to classical times.
As far as online gambling goes the first online casino was launched in 1994 by Microgaming. Named the Gaming Club, they proudly carry the title of the world’s 1st online casino and they are still in business even today. After Microgaming’s success, new companies started to launch their own online casinos and soon this became a billion-dollar industry. Today there are thousands of online casinos across the world and hundreds of software providers, driving the iGaming industry forward.
Let’s be realistic, in this age anyone can create casino games. All you need are a few decent designers and programmers and you’re golden. You can easily license the games, find casinos that are willing to offer them and you’re in business. There are dozens of examples like that, even though we’re not so cruel to name any names.
But there are a lot of details that make the best providers in the industry stand out from the rest. The minor differences are easily picked up by players and that is why some providers sit on the throne and the rest fight for the scraps. For a provider to truly be deemed as the best one it has to meet a number of criteria. Below are some of the most important ones.
In the past 3-reel classic slots dominated casinos. But today this is not the case. The top software providers release modern casino games, which are real eye candy. After all, the first thing you see is the appearance of the game. Chances are if you don’t like what you see you will move on to the next one.
Every player want’s excitement while playing at the casino. What better way to achieve this by creating games with attractive bonus features? The most popular slots in the industry today are played because of the bonus features they have to offer. It’s incredibly exciting to watch the bonus round play out, as you’re waiting for that mega win to light up the screen.
Every gambler that makes a deposit at an online casino and starts playing the games wants to win as much as possible. Some slots today come with massive maximum payout limits and that’s one of the reasons so many players flock to their reels. It’s very disappointing to land a full screen of Wilds, only to see that the max payout per spin is 500 times the total stake.
Yes, almost all of the leading software for online casinos in the industry today have branded games in their portfolio. Usually, these games come with hefty licensing agreements, and only the top providers can afford to obtain them. So, the next time you come across a game based on your favorite movie or singer, you can be sure that the provider behind it is one of the best there is.
High RTP games are common across the online gambling industry today, but you can find them most at the best software providers. A high RTP value (Return to Player) means that the odds of winning on the game are a bit higher and over time the game is predicted to have the highest return of all bets in the form of winnings.
Of course, if they weren’t you can be sure that the company would’ve been out of business a long time ago. The truth is that in the long run, every casino game will bring a profit for the casino. This is ensured by the RTP value, the variance, and the RNG (Random Number Generator). So, no company needs to cheat to earn a profit.
All of the games a software provider releases go through a licensing process and scrupulous testing. If the criteria and the RTP value of the game are met it’s approved and can be publicly released. Some casinos also employ the services of independent testing agencies like eCOGRA, TST, and iTech Labs, which confirm on a monthly basis that the games are fair and random.
As a founder of the online gambling industry Microgaming held the throne for a very long time. They have great games and millions of loyal players even today. But when NetEnt released a new collection of slots, they took the iGaming industry by storm. They released many great games and we saw a rise of NetEnt casinos by the hundreds. Many other providers hold a notable piece of the market today, some of the most popular ones being Pragmatic Play, Play’n Go, Evolution Gaming, Quickspin, and Elk Studios. A common detail for all of them is their great games, but this is not generic software. They all differ in many ways, making for a versatile game portfolio at the leading online casinos.
We already mentioned that for a long time Microgaming was the leading software provider in the iGaming industry. They are still one of the leading ones even today, with a massive number of loyal daily players. The most notable detail about this provider is its jackpot slots. They have a big jackpot collection, including the most popular one of them all, Mega Moolah. This slot can payout millions of dollars in a single spin, which is why thousands of players flock to its reels daily.
Today NetEnt is considered to be the leading software provider when it comes to slots. Their games can be found at pretty much every online casino and they brought a number of innovations to the industry. They managed to bring thousands of daily players to their games and that was the main reason for the acquisition of NetEnt by Evolution Gaming. The agreement came at a hefty price of $2.1 billion, but considering the revenue the company rakes in on a yearly level, it was well worth it.
For a long time, Play’n Go was a B2B supplier. They had a small, but solid collection of video slots and slowly started attracting more and more players to their games. They worked hard to expand their portfolio with new and exciting slots. One of their most popular slots is Book of Dead, a slot with a great bonus round and the potential for some hefty payouts.
Pragmatic Play came online in 2015, so they are a fairly new kid on the block. But the company managed to note a massive expansion in a short period of time. They launched a big number of great video slots and also have excellent live casino software. Their “Bonus Buy” slots are incredibly popular among regular players and casino game streamers. They are constantly releasing new games on the market and, so far, none of them disappoints.
Evolution Gaming was founded in 2006, with headquarters in Riga, Latvia. From the start they knew that they had to bring something new to the table, to have a fighting chance to beat the fierce competition. So, instead of creating slots like everyone else, they released live dealer casino games. The company built a live casino floor and the tables were streamed in HD quality via cameras, allowing the players to interact with the dealer. Needless to say, it was a massive success and today most reputable online casinos offer live dealer games, mostly from Evolution Gaming.
We covered the most popular software providers in the iGaming industry, but we also have to mention some of the other ones as well. We have to state that we don’t consider these providers to be bad ones, on the contrary. Many of them have great games on offer, but they are simply smaller companies fighting to make a breakthrough in the market. Here’s a list of some of the most popular ones:
In the past pretty much all software providers relied on the download platform. To play at a casino you would first need to download their software and install it locally on your computer. Then when you opened the casino and the game it would connect to their server and you’d be ready to play. This was mostly due to slow internet speeds and frequent crashing of the web browser. But once internet speeds hit broadband and the HTML5 protocol was introduced, casinos moved to the instant play and mobile play format.
Today it’s almost impossible to find a download casino, other than the Playtech and Realtime Gaming ones, but even they have a stable instant play platform. The instant play format has many benefits. It allows for hassle-free gameplay, custom casino sites, and a high level of security. Even the live casino software is instant play, which just shows how far technology has advanced this sector.
By now you know that not all software providers are the same. But how do you compare them to one another and how can you determine which are the best ones? Well, there are many ways to do this, but in this section, we will cover the most popular ones.
This one’s easy. The best software providers are also the most popular among players. All you need to do is spend a few minutes for some basic research about the company and the games it offers. Gambling forums are a great place for this, as nothing beats the first-hand experience of real players. You can find some great recommendations there about the games from that provider, or even games from other providers.
The leading providers in this industry are also very transparent. Some providers don’t reveal the RTP value or even the volatility of their games. This makes it harder for you as a player to know what to expect from the games. You are basically going in half-blind, and even though they are games of chance, the info can help you build a strategy on which games to play. All of the leading providers are very transparent, clearly stating the RTP value, the volatility, or even the hit frequency of their games. You can easily find the info in the games or on the game provider page.
The best providers in the industry pay a great deal of attention to the visual details of their games. They want to make them as attractive to the players as possible. If you open a game and it doesn’t catch you at first glance you can easily move on to games from another provider. This results in a loss of revenue and none of the leading providers wants to see that happen.
For many players this is NetEnt, for others it can be Pragmatic Play. It really all depends on your personal taste and what kind of casino games you like to play.
If the provider is licensed and their games are proven to be fair, no. But if you come across a rogue casino, operating without a valid license, yes you might be playing rigged games.
Yes, in this age it’s pretty much impossible to find a provider or an online casino that doesn’t have a mobile casino platform. Many leading brands also have dedicated mobile casino apps.