Casino Software Providers
An Introduction to the Online Casino Software Companies
Online casino software is the crux of online gaming – it is the reason why you are here. No software? No casino.
Some software companies have been here since the very beginning – most notably Microgaming and Realtime Gaming which were active in the late 90s, then came Playtech in 2001, NetEnt and the rest followed suit.
Since the early 2000’s, we have gone from a handful of software providers to several hundred. If you are into video slot games, online casinos host slot games that will do laps around their land-based brethren. If you are into video poker, Microgaming downloadable versions offer loads of VP that is only rivaled by Action Gaming. Live casinos just recently became a reality with the technical improvement of proper streaming and licensing. A decade ago, it was archaic and problematic.
Joining the fray a bit too late in the game are your traditional land-based software providers like Scientific Games, Aristocrat, Bally, etc., these games can only be accessed in certain jurisdictions – which will be disappointing for those of you who live and play from “grey areas” or unlicensed territories (i.e. Australia, most of the US, Pakistan, Iran etc.).
In essence, there is something for everybody. I hope that you will find these few modest pages to be helpful. Caveat, the list is not exhaustive, but we will be expanding and adding more reviews as time progresses.
Online casino software – if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t have online casinos. Really. Over the past two decades, gaming software has gone from acceptable to just plain amazing. In fact, many of the games that are being launched now outdo their off line competitors.
The first online casino games produced by Microgaming, Playtech, Cryptologic, and RTG were pretty good – and comparable. The software that Betsson was developing was absolutely horrible – rinky dink slots and clunky video poker. Funny to see them evolve into Net Entertainment – which is one of the leading companies producing some mind blowing slots.
RTG was the first software company that launched a slot game that included the climatic buildup when one or more scatters appear – Cleopatra’s Gold was the first of these launched in November 2004. That, in my opinion, was a game changer for slot games – that effect can really get your adrenaline going, and now it is a standard feature for any slot game that uses scatters. Unfortunately for RTG – there hasn’t been much development or expansion in their games portfolio for years.
Gaming software can make or break a casino – most of the casinos nowadays have several software providers. Back in the day you had only Microgaming casinos, Playtech casinos, RTG, Crypto – or Netent. Now most casinos have hundreds of games – mostly slots, so this makes things awesome for the player, nearly every casino is going to have at least one slot game that you like.
What about Video Poker – unfortunately there is only one software provider that produces great video poker games: Microgaming. And this is the Viper download casino. There are still quite a number of casinos that host these downloadable games, but the sad thing is some of these casinos are chasing the slot player and opting for the play-in-your browser version – which suck. I hope Microgaming does not give up the viper software – there is nothing comparable online, not even with IGT.
Live games have been revolutionized by the fact that we no longer use dial up modems, and can play with HD quality dealers – many of whom are in Europe – or in the US for players in New Jersey – they are located in the NJ Atlantic City casinos. This is an awesome development for the casinos and player.
In the early 2000s, I used to go to conferences live the G2E in Vegas and the ICE in London mainly to get an idea on what we could be expecting as an online slot. Many game developers would scan the aisles and have an epiphany or be visited by a muse, and come up with a marvelous slot game based on new features of Vegas slot machines. Now it looks like this has flip flopped – the online slots you can find today are in many cases superior to what you might find in Vegas – or they are the same since most offline slots have gone online today.
What you should understand about gaming software.
For one thing – without the software, you wouldn’t have the casino. And in most cases, the quality of software reflects the quality of the casino. But this is more or less a rule of thumb – there are many casinos to avoid that have outstanding games.
Right after the big bang of the Internet explosion of the 90’s, most software developers started with their own casinos: Microgaming gave birth to Gamingclub.com in 1996, Playtech to Clubdice in 2001 (which they immediately spammed the forum here: ClubdiceCasino.com) , Crytpologic gave birth to Intercasino, and NetEnt had Casinodomain.com.
As the software got better, and since more people wanted to get their hands in the pie – these software companies began to create more casinos and license them out – either the casino, the software or both. Within a few years there were over 3000 casinos – most all being run with one software provider and one licensing jurisdiction.
Each software provider had different approaches towards players and towards their operators. It used to be that most software providers were willing to reign in a misguided operator, but it was a bit problematic for them since these operators were bringing in a lot of cash (software providers receive either licensing fees, a percentage of revenue, or both), so obviously many became reluctant on correcting rogue operators.
Microgaming was a hands on entity – they would intervene, Playtech would give lip service or none at all, RTG would try and help – but some of their operators were so out of line it was almost funny, and as time went by, the more distanced they became.
It was in the early 2010s that casinos were able to host games coming from several providers via Quickfire and other multiplatform game launchers. The paradigm shifted from NetEnt, Microgaming, or Playtech only casinos to multiplatform mega slot casinos. Competition and players’ expectations have been the catalyst for this development.
There are several aspects of gaming software that players should look for. Here are only a few:
- Variety of platforms (Slots, Video poker, table games, etc.)
- Aesthetics (graphics, appearance, etc.)
- Transparency (RTP listings, licensing
- Mobile friendly
If you are a video poker fan or table game fan, then you should be looking for downloadable Microgaming casinos, if you are into video slots – then you have a load of software providers to wade through. The thing is to know what you want to play before playing.
Aesthetics is really related to the quality of the software. There are still a number of casinos that host clunky software – and some players don’t mind. But if you are looking for something innovative – or absolutely mind-boggling, hopefully our reviews will help you out.
Transparency is important. As a player, you need to know if the games you are playing are the real deal – not rip off variations of NetEnt being hosted from servers in Belarus. Where is the casino licensed? This is a good indicator where the casino is licensed. If it is licesned in the EU, UK, or the US, you should be good to go (software-wise).
And mobile friendly speaks for itself. As the old-timers start kicking the bucket – there won’t be nothing but folks playing on their phones, probably having slotgames embedded in their arms. We’ll see.
Please note: You will notice that we have rated the software on a scale of 1-10. One is my rating which I take a number of things into account: transparency, aesthetics, innovation, responsiveness to player input, etc. Then we have a player rating – this is based on input from our Meister Minions – our members who are assisting us in maintaining the data in our Casinomeister reviews.
Also, the number of casinos listed is based on how many Accredited Casinos and Grey Zone.
Anyway, I hope these reviews help you out. If you have any questions about anything in these reviews, please feel free to post these question in our forum.
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