There are software developers in the world of online casino games. Some companies never really get off the starting blocks, and some budding amateurs are really making a new for themselves. Few of them can challenge the dominance of the big three, though. Each caters to their own specific core audience, and has their own perks. In this article, we will examine each of the three in turn, and provide you with the strong and weak points. Let’s start with the big dog – Microgaming.
The first thing you need to know about Microgaming is that where online casino games are concerned, they were here first. IGT and others may have had a good run at the land-based slot world, but online, Microgaming ruled and still reigns supreme.
Microgaming launched in 1994 and they have some of the most recognisable slots on the net. They are big lovers of franchise slots (like the other two developers in this piece), and are the undisputed kings of the progressive jackpot slot.
Microgaming developed the 243 ways to win structure that is used in many major slot games, today. They are based out of the Isle of Man, and are known for their multi-lingual, multi-currency games. As a founding member of eCOGRA, their games are vetted for fair play, and they regularly release new slot titles each month.
Microgaming does the lot. You will find table games, video poker, classic slots, progressive jackpot slots, video slots, mobile slots, instant win games – the works. Their Mega Moolah slot machine is currently the world record holder for the biggest paying progressive jackpot slot, after it coughed up a prize worth £13.2 million.
Microgaming slots are available to play in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Aside from the USA, they really do have a worldwide audience.
The Scandinavian online casino software provider Net Entertainment, didn’t always dominate. In fact, even five years ago, it was a smaller-scale operation. They have rapidly expanded in the last few years, with their games no longer being restricted to the UK and Scandinavian, but they are also available in Australasia, too.
NetEnt developed games tend to have quirkier themes than their rivals, but they are also more original in terms of features. Until very recently (when it knocked off the top spot by the aforementioned Mega Moolah slot), NetEnt held the record for the biggest progressive win via their Mega Fortune slot.
Net Entertainment have a number of top franchise themed slots such as Aliens, and South Park to their name, but their original titles such as Starburst, and Gonzo’s Quest are about as big as you can get in the slot world, too.
This developer caters to hundreds of websites, and has a specialised mobile platform known as NetEnt Touch to offer mobile casino games. In fact, many would argue that this is their strongest feature. They certainly do seem to rule the roost when it comes to mobile slot machine games.
Many casinos which run NetEnt software also offer games from other developers, such as Microgaming, Thunderkick, IGT, and Yggdrasil.
Launched in 1999, Playtech used to be considered the number one rival to Microgaming’s dominance of the online slot market. Nowadays, many people consider NetEnt that rival, although Playtech are still a huge company to contend with. They are not as quick as Microgaming or NetEnt at releasing games, but you could argue that their games are better from a gameplay perspective, and they tend to be more flexible when it comes to wagers.
Like the other two, Playtech have also developed a full series of games, including table games, slots, instant win titles and more. Playtech replaced their tiring Dollar Ball feature with four randomly triggered progressive jackpots, which until very recently used to be known as the Marvel Progressive Jackpot Network. It was only last month that their range of 20+ Marvel superhero themed slots were the top progressive games you could play. With the Disney takeover, Playtech has had to rethink their strategy.
Playtech recently underwent a major change in that department. They decided to develop a new series of games known as Age of Gods, which should replace the Marvel themed progressives. Their slot seems to run smoother, offer some cracking free spin features, and many of the newer ones are mobile friendly. Playtech also runs a top notch bingo platform. Known as Virtue Fusion, it is present at many leading UK bingo sites. Playtech’s weakness is that they don’t quite have the hold over international markets quite like NetEnt or Microgaming. Playtech tends to be most popular in the United Kingdom, particularly at all-in-one casinos, such as those which offers sport betting as well as casino games.
Which is best?
There isn’t really a winner out of these three. Microgaming titles are best suited to serious casino revellers, who want added realism in their games. NetEnt titles are best reserved for the modern type of casino players, such as those who love to play on the go with their mobiles or fancy zany themes. Lastly, Playtech offer you specialist games and ones which are more ideally tuned to players in the United Kingdom. All three develop a full suite of games, so that even on their own (without games from other developers) casinos running their software have solid and extensive gaming libraries. As we’ve said, there is no winner – each has its strong points. It is up to you to decide which caters to your needs the best.