Disclaimer – there’s never going to be an uncontroversial top three list, especially in such a competitive market as casino software development. Sure we could measure purely by size and market exposure, but there’s also the more qualitative aspect to consider as well. Does being big automatically qualify as being ‘top’? If this is the case calling a top five or seven would be tricky enough given the quality out there. Anyway without further conjecture, here’s a personal top three casino software companies!
1) Microgaming (est. 1994)
Any other company claiming the top spot would have been causing controversy for controversy’s sake. Without question Microgaming are both the biggest and best casino software company currently operating. With nearly 25 years pedigree within the industry at no stage have they ever chosen to kick-back and rest on their laurels. Instead their mantra is one of constant improvement; no mean feat given the extensive opposition they currently face.
Key to their success has been the ability to attract and retain top quality operators such as Red Flush Casino, the kind of sites where players expect not just the best games but also a ready supply of high quality fresh content. Microgaming release a steady stream of 2-4 new releases each month, constantly pushing the boundaries of technology in order to deliver a greater customer experience. They lead the way in mobile play, and are making inquisitive steps into the possibility of VR should the tech finally be set to take off.
2) Playtech (est. 1999)
Few in the industry would doubt Playtech’s position at second is this totally arbitrary list! However it’s a position well earned as they are perhaps even ahead of Microgaming when it comes to sheer innovation, with many of the features we enjoy today being pioneered by the company originally founded in Estonia. currently valued at around $1bn this it a truly global operation that has fostered key partnerships with many of the world’s largest multinational casino gaming companies.
When the history of online casinos is finally written Playtech will play a prominent role in the development of ‘live’ play. They were the first to develop effective software for interactive video casino games and more recently mobile formats of ‘live hand’ blackjack. Recent major developments have been heavily based upon forming partnerships with a number of major franchises such as Marvel, giving them exclusive rights to the incredibly popular series for many years to come.
3) NetEnt (est. 1996)
NetEnt are the third entry on this list and in fairness it could also have gone to two or three other companies. The reason they earn the place is because once again they’ve developed a key aspect of online casino play that has hugely enhanced the end user experience. Nobody was sure if 3D play would ever really take off – NetEnt went with it anyhow and the rest is history, with such graphical features now being standard across the industry.
However NetEnt have proven themselves to be far from a one trick pony. They’re also of the best companies at staying relevant and have a games portfolio full of popular mobile games as well as major movie tie-ins (especially classics). There’s also the footnote in online casino history when they paid out an at the time record $8.7m in a progressive jackpot (the game was Hall of Gods for those taking notes!). There’s no better way to make yourself popular with the players.
So there concludes a personal and relatively uncontroversial top three of the current leading casino software companies. Honorable mentions to the highly respected Realtime Gaming, up and coming BetSoft and of course IGT – on paper the largest gaming company in the world!