Online gambling has developed hugely thanks to software providers, who have transformed this one-time solely land-based industry into today’s fully functional and exciting world of digital gaming.
Software has such a big impact on the experience of players, as it dictates the cutting-edge gameplay, maximum immersion and 3D entertainment now available on casino sites.
Each software platform produces its own variety of games, whilst offering unique and modern twists on classic games as well as coming up with their own entirely new concepts.
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How software providers affect your casino experience
Software providers have a huge influence on how players enjoy their online casino experience. We’ve broken them down into these main areas.
Perhaps the first impact of software developers that players feel is through the platform they choose to play a game on. If you are playing on a dedicated app that has been downloaded to your device, the look, feel and overall experience this is dictated by the software provider and how they have built the game for your device. The same goes for mobile-optimised sites that are accessed through your phone’s web browser. The best developers create downloads that are accessible for different types of devices – so it’s up to you to figure out which experience you prefer.
The level of software provider will have an impact on game selection in the following ways:
Game variation – There are over 15 different variations to the game blackjack, for example – from Atlantic City blackjack to Single deck blackjack and European blackjack – and the top providers will cater for all of this demand.
Mobile – Mobile casinos are hugely important and the best produce as many mobile-optimised titles as possible, including a number of games tailor made for mobile play, such as those created by innovative software house Play’N Go.
Quality – The best produce games with clear image quality, realistic and accurate audio sound effects, clean and user-friendly interfaces and sophisticated special features.
The very best software providers not only account for the large number of variations to certain games, but produce advanced gameplay for each version.
For example, in a certain blackjack game can you split aces, double down more than once or get paid 3:2 or 6:5 for a blackjack hand? If a developer creates unique variants of games, with extra features and stipulations and variations on game rules, then that will impact the odds you can receive as a player.
Before smartphones and tablets truly took off, the only way to play slots online was on your computer. In the early days of mobile phones, they weren’t advanced enough to run the technology needed to function with online gaming. Slot machines were coded with animation software Flash by Adobe, but today the innovative providers have migrated their titles to a fully functional HTML5 framework.
This has allowed for better graphics and slicker gameplay across all devices, giving players the opportunity to gamble online using their mobile phones. The best slots software providers also create many new titles with mobile players in mind, such as NetEnt and Play’N Go.
Volatility is another element to slot software influenced by providers. High rollers want slots with high volatility, which means the hit rate will be slower but the payouts higher. But players who prefer to relax and gamble for fun will likely want a higher hit rate and accept lower payouts – slots with low volatility.
Table games software
Software developers offering a wide range of table games with variations of classic rules is great for players. The best providers will do this across as many roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker variations as possible, whilst including flexible bet limits, intuitive user interfaces and navigation and plenty of customisable in-game settings.
Live casino providers
Live casinos have really improved in recent years down to advances from software providers. They first emerged in the mid 2000s but were nowhere near the standard they are today.
Live dealer sites bring the atmosphere of a real casino for players to enjoy wherever they are. Cards are dealt and wheels spun by real-life professionally-trained croupiers who usually work from a custom-designed live studio.
Players can place bets in a similar fashion to a random number generated (RNG) animation game. Of course, the live croupier will control the pace of the game and you can watch the action unfold in real-time in front of your eyes. Cards can even be read using scanning devices allowing the real cards in the studio to match the virtual ones on your screen.
These live tables are streamed in high-definition with impressive camerawork capturing all the subtle nuances of gameplay that has truly raised the bar for players everywhere.
NetEnt is a software company based in Sweden that was established in 1996 and was one of the first developers to produce on a Java platform. NetEnt is considered a pioneer of the industry having initially created its own online casino site. However, it now powers over 140 casinos across multiple languages.
NetEnt is licensed and regulated ensuring players of security and fairness on all its games, producing titles across mobile and desktop and have recently added live dealers to its casinos although they remain best known for slot games and innovative design. Among NetEnt’s most popular titles are Gonzo’s Quest, Robin Hood and Mega Fortune. It also offers progressive jackpots with prizes pooled across the various casinos that use its software.
One of the most recognisable names in casino software, in 2014 alone NetEnt processed 21.4 billion gaming transactions, with its team comprising of 700 staff around the world landing the company an array of awards.
Microgaming are based on the Isle of Man and has been around since 1994 as one of the founders of online gaming. With over 850 casino titles on offer across mobile and desktop as well as browser and download, Microgaming aims to create unique and original games to the highest quality. It has one of the largest range of games available online and is considered by many to be the best provider in the industry.
Microgaming also produces live dealer games and only service countries which permit online casinos by law and recently expanded their portfolio with the launch of independent software brand StormCraft Studios. Features of its games include auto play and expanded game help as well as a game statistics and strategy interface which allows players to set a game strategy while also doing something else – perhaps playing another game or doing something in real life.
Born in 2006 to revolutionise live casino gaming online, Evolution Gaming has all the main casino games in live format plus many unique titles and slants on casino classics. It has picked up numerous awards for their live casino products across games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette, hold ‘em poker, Caribbean stud poker and three card poker.
You can find its titles on Leo Vegas, 32red casino, William Hill, Casumo and other respected casino sites which is sure to grow as they aim to fulfil their vision of being the leading live casino provider in the world.
Big Time Gaming
Software houses have sprung from all corners of the globe throughout the years, but not many have hailed from Australia. This is where Big Time Gaming has burst through and broken the mould. These guys launched out of New South Wales and hit the market with their first games in 2011.
It’s not like Big Time Gaming joined the rest by simply trying to create awesome casino games either. Instead, the software developers established one of the most revolutionary gaming technologies of the last decade – Megaways. This is backed up by Big Time Gaming’s portfolio of sensational Megaways-style games including Spicy Meatball Megaways, Beef Lightning Megaways and Monopoly Megaways.
Among these Megaways games, Big Time Gaming also offers plenty of regular online slots, which are all well-suited for desktop, as well as mobile gaming.
Relax Gaming was founded fairly recently in 2010, but it has wasted no time in creating an incredible offering. After just 10 years in the industry, compared to more than 20 for some other providers, Relax Gaming has already managed to secure a strong foothold in India. Having teamed up with some of India’s top casinos, Relax Gaming titles can regularly be found under the ‘featured’ tabs, which tells you all you need to know regarding popularity. Games like Let’s Get Ready to Rumble, Money Train, Temple Tumble and Hellcatraz have all performed incredibly well in the Indian market, and we see no signs of Relax Gaming slowing down.
In fact, Relax Gaming has started to incorporate a growing number of Megaways and Infinity Reels games, which just adds an extra layer of quality on top of its existing portfolio. For us, this is one of the most exciting software houses to keep track of right now.
At the time of writing, Playtech has managed to build up a portfolio of more than 600 casino games. As you’d imagine, this has provided endless entertainment for Indian casino players, and Playtech is still pumping out new titles today. The standout feature for Playtech, however, is the seamless integration across all gaming platforms, making Playtech one of the most accessible and user-friendly of all software providers. Then again, Playtech has been in the industry since 1999, so you would expect big things from a software developer with more than 20 years’ experience.
For the reasons mentioned above, Playtech has become one of the dominant providers found at mobile casinos. Here’s the best part, too. Playtech’s live titles, RNG games and other verticals can be accessed from wherever you like.
Red Tiger is quite literally an award-winning software provider, having more accolades than most. Most recently, in 2021, it has won awards for Mobile Supplier of the Year, as well as the prestigious Innovation in Slot Provision trophy. Given the stiff competition Red Tiger faced to win such awards, things are certainly looking promising for the future of this software provider. But like most software developers, there has to be something which separates Red Tiger to make it stand out, right? There most certainly is.
The fantastic slot games that Red Tiger has in its portfolio work amazingly well on mobile, especially through cutting edge mobile apps. The performance is seamless. In our opinion, this makes Red Tiger one of the top software houses for flexible gaming in the entire world.
Much like other software developers mentioned here, Play’N GO has managed to move with the times incredibly well. Having re-configured all of its games to now work with HTML5 technology, they can be now played instantly without the need to install anything at all. On top of this, Play’N GO has ensured the titles it offers integrate perfectly for mobile gaming. This is particularly evident when you play any of their hundreds of games available through designated gambling apps, with major titles like Gunslinger and Reactoonz being fan-favourites. But wait, there’s more.
Arguably, Play’N GO is creating the greatest number of fresh games on an annual basis. Take 2020 as a prime example, when Play’N GO released more than 50 games within just 12 months. That’s relentless by anyone’s standards.
Generally speaking, the greater the range of games and subsequent verticals offered by any software providers, the better they are going to be. When it comes to Pragmatic Play, this developer has set the standards for the rest. Currently, Pragmatic Play offers more than 200 video slots, all developed with HTML5 software. But the range doesn’t stop there. Dive into the verticals and you’ll discover a comprehensive live casino, 24/7 bingo offerings, various drop and wins and even virtual sports betting.
To this day, Pragmatic Play is still producing fresh games at quite an impressive rate, although games such as Sweet Bonanza and Wolf Gold have still held their own as all-time classics.
What are some other top software providers?
We’ve listed our favourite three in the industry above – NetEnt, Microgaming and Evolution – but there are many more we could have included, such as Playtech, IGT, Novomatic, Play’n GO, NextGen, Yggdrasil and Playson. Our expert reviews will go into more detail about the range of software used at certain casinos.
Do all software developers produce free versions of their games I can try?
Yes, the majority of major developers produce free demo versions of their games to go alongside real money titles. You can try these demos out at most online casinos which are great for beginners, to familiarise yourself with the rules or try out new strategies.
What factors make a great online casino software provider?
Firstly a commitment to great graphics is important as visuals are what the player will be initially greeted by. The speed of gameplay, a wide variety of different games and downloaded software for mobile and desktop are also key.
Do these software providers all produce real money games?
Yes. All of the games available in their portfolios can be played for real money. This means you must be over 18 and based in India to sign up at online casinos and play them. With that said, the amount of money you ultimately choose to spend with online gambling is up to you, although we would always encourage you to play responsibly.
How much must I spend to play games from these software developers?
The amount you must spend as a minimum depends on the game you choose to play. Video slots have the lowest wager minimums of all casino games. In terms of minimum deposits, you’ll typically need to stump up at least 350-400 INR for your deposit to be accepted.
Can I play games offered by these software houses for free?
Yes, but you are still required to open an account at a legal online casino. This is because even when you play for free, whether it’s free slots, free table games or anything else, the activity is still classified as gambling.