Popular Casinos 2021
What are some of the top slots software developers?
This is a tough question to answer. We don’t have a scientific measure for this beyond the popularity of the games these companies provide. Otherwise, it’s hard to quantify these things: there’s market value, there’s a number of employees, and a load of other measures you could use to measure which are the biggest slot companies. One thing you can be sure of is that all these companies provide games that are safe and legal to play – as long as you use safe and legal sites to play them!
NetEnt was founded in 1996 in Sweden, the home of much of the cream of the European slots industry. The company hit the ground running, and in fact, some of their biggest hits were released very early in the long and successful NetEnt story: chief among them, Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest. In 2017 the company was reckoned to have nearly 1/5th of the world slot market and nearly a 1/3rd of the European market. That’s serious market power and that means you will find NetEnt games wherever you go. They’re quality too, with a slew of awards from all the big industry bodies. NetEnt are also now big players in the burgeoning world of live casino games. You can play NetEnt games sure that they are safe and legitimate because the company has numerous licenses for the supply of casino software and a fantastic reputation. The company now supplies nearly 250 slots, around 80 casino games, 36 live casino games, with its nine licenses. Starburst, that old favourite, remains their biggest title, but you can also check out Reel Rush, Twin Spin, Irish Pot Luck, and Aloha! Cluster Pays. New titles keep coming too, with Fruit Shop Megaways, Aloha Christmas, and Riches of Midgard coming out around the end of 2020. Pragmatic Play Founded in 2015, Pragmatic Play are relatively newcomers, but look at how many titles they have: 270! That’s insane! Around 200 of those are video slots, but the company has also branched out into live games and casino simulation games. The company’s games are top quality and cover all the genres. Their biggest current hit is Chilli Heat, a Mexican-themed game; then Mustang Gold, Wild Wild Riches, Wolf Gold, and Fire Strike. The company keeps new titles pouring out all of the time, and has recently released a new progressive jackpot network called Drops and Wins with seven-day tournaments awarding enormous cash prizes. Among the new slot s titles to have come out in 2021 are Dragon King Eyes of Fire Madame Destiny Megaways, and Congo Cash. Eyecon Eyecon might not be a familiar name to you if you’re standard slots and casino player. However, they release a slot of slot games, so what’s going on here? Eyecon’s games are massive in the bingo world! Their top title by a long way is Fluffy Favourites, which is the biggest title in bingo lobbies and as a side game in bingo chat rooms. That doesn’t mean you need to be a big bingo fan to play these games. You will find them at casino sites. The company was founded in Australia in 1997, and it is licensed in the UK, Malta, Gibraltar, and Alderney. It’s not just Fluffy, and Eyecon has a catalogue of 121 games. Fluffy Favourites is the long-established top title, and you can see that cute aesthetic in 99th time, and another of their top five hits is another Fluffy title, Fluffy Too. They do have other genre styles though: Clover Rollover 2 is an Irish themed game, Temple of Iris is Egyptian, Shaman’s Dream (another massive bingo hit) is based on Native American culture. Eyecon games should probably be more popular than they are in the straight-forward slots world, and we’re happy to recommend you give them a try.
Play n GO
Look at the top of the Play’nGO catalogue and you’ll see why they’re a top-rated slot provider. Up there at the top is the enormous and long-lived hit is Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead. This game has spawned a huge set of sequels and a load of copycats from all sorts of developers. The company’s second most popular title is another Dead game, Legacy of Dead, followed by Reactoonz 2, a really innovative science-fiction cartoon game. You’ll also find classic slots like Fire Joker, fantasy games like Rise of Merlin, and ancient culture game Rise of Athena. They keep the new titles coming too, with Lord Merlin Lady of the Lake, Eclipse of the Sun God, and Thunderscreech slated for 2021 release, and Bull in a China Shop, Minder Donkey Trouble, and Piggy Bank Farm all coming out recently. They’ve also given Rich Wilde a daughter and a whole new slew of games in the shapely shape of Cat Wilde.
Here we come to a truth of the slots world that it’s important for players to understand. Red Tiger are no longer independent producers, they are part of NetEnt. NetEnt paid £220 million for the company, which valued it extremely high, especially when you consider they only launched in 2014! They are based in the Isle of Man, and they are major innovators, with a huge new progressive jackpot network their latest new release. The titles that have done the best recently are: Reel King Mega, Regal Streak, War of Gods, Gonzo’s Quest Megaways, Dynamite Riches, and Mystery Reels. As you can see from the presence of Gonzo’s Quest in that list their partnership with NetEnt is already paying fruit for players. Not only is Red Tiger now a part of NetEnt, but NetEnt is now in the sights of Evolution Gaming, the world’s biggest live casino producer, who obviously fancy themselves a slot company (who also produce a load of great live games). You need to keep an eye on this situation if you’re going to understand exactly whose games you’re playing.
Blueprint are not quite such juveniles in the market. The company was founded in 2001 and has a portfolio of over 200 games. And that birthdate hides the fact that we’re dealing with another company that is a component part of a bigger one! Blueprint are part of the enormous German company, the Gauselmann Group, who have been in the gambling business since 1957, when the internet was a sci-fi fantasy in the wild eyes of a man who’d had too much beer on his last trip to Munich. Their big titles are Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways, Ted, Fishin’ Frenzy, Diamond Mine Megaways, The Goonies, and the Goonies Jackpot King. The company has a lot of Megaways titles, but they didn’t invent this gaming engine, that was done by Big Time Gaming. BGT have had a couple of big hits with the engine, but the majority of its success has been in licensed titles from other companies. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you can be sure that if Megaways delivers great results for anyone it certainly delivers great results for the company’s that count the money from the games.
Slingo is only just a slot. These games work something like a cross between bingo and slots: the game is perhaps more like a scratch card than a traditional slot, and they are very often makeovers of existing slot games. And these games are massive hits! The company has been around since 1994, and in that time has produced a relatively small amount of games, with just 50 total games out there. Nearly 30 of those are slots, but the vast majority of Slingo’s hits are their trademarked games. Their big hits in this genre include: Slingo Rainbow Riches, Slingo Lightning, Slingo Ante Up, Slingo Ing Yun Xian, Slingo Berserk, and Slingo Extreme. These games are great fun and a really new way to play slots, plus you can win really big prizes on a slingo so give them a chance and see if they’re for you.
Barcrest are giants from an older age, but they remain big and influential in the internet age. Founded in 1968 this American company is a genuine veteran. Now, a lot of its market power is down to acquisitions and mergers, including the purchase of IGT, the giant company that has an empire straddling all sorts of gambling worlds. The company’s most popular slots by far are the Rainbow Riches series. These games are a phenomenon and they now come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. The original Rainbow Riches was a big hit when it came out in 2009 (that was a good year, Starburst came out that year too!), and its mix of simple graphics and gameplay and massive prizes continue to attract players more than a decade later. There are all sorts of variants on the Irish-themed game but they keep the fundamentals the same and those games are the vast majority of Barcrest’s hits.
Microgaming have massive slot hits, but they are perhaps most important as a casino software company. Founded in the UK, on the Isle of Man, in 1994 Microgaming let you know that they are the original online casino company! That’s quite some claim, and it’s got them a fantastic reputation. So even if you don’t know it then you have almost certainly used Microgaming software of some sort. Their slot portfolio takes in more than 500 titles now, and they have a big casino selection too, though they haven’t gone into the live casino business yet. Their biggest hits are Immortal Romance, the vampire game, Thunderstruck II, Mega Moolah, Lucky Leprechaun, and Break da Bank Again. Mega Moolah is one to pick out here because it’s a regular record-breaker, paying out progressive prizes in the millions and millions of coins, as hundreds of thousands of players chase its top pay-outs around the internet.
Big Time Gaming
As we’ve mentioned Megaways we have to list Big Time Gaming, who must be one of the most successful slots companies of the past couple of years – though often not in their own name. We’ve seen Megaways games hitting the tops of the charts for the past couple of years, and all of the big games are being remade in Megaways versions. This is an innovation and an important one: but it’s one that has relatively little effect on players. The games have very similar RTPs and hit rates to most other games, and the gameplay innovations that the style has are relatively mundane (respins, multiple ways to win, and atypical reel sets), while there must be something quite clever going on in the mathematics. Because we reckon the reason why this gaming engine is such a big hit is that the companies who use it love it, so it’s going in all the big new releases. That generally means that these games are making a good profit. We shouldn’t pretend that the company doesn’t have hits in its own rights, and Bonanza was the first big Megaways hit. The company continues to innovate and Megaclusters is the next new engine to come roaring out of their labs, and you should probably keep an eye on that.
Does any of this matter?
We have listed a top 10 of top slots software companies. We made it clear at the top of the article that this isn’t a scientific process. It’s not possible to come up with an accurate measure of “big”, and in this case, we’ve gone with the companies with the most number of most popular games in the markets we cover. This leaves out a lot of very important companies. That includes, for example, Playtech, who call themselves the world’s biggest online gaming company, with thousands and thousands of employees all around the world. But Playtech do most of their business behind the scenes from our point of view. We also haven’t listed Evolution Gaming, who make the world’s most popular live casino games but don’t really yet have a foothold in the slots world. They will instantly become one of the biggest slots companies if they do go ahead with their proposed takeover of NetEnt.
Does this matter?
Yes and no. You can play slots without knowing any of this. But it’s good to understand the industry we think. One of the things we like players to know is who is behind everything. There is a lot of false competition in the online slots world (and in all of late capitalism). Companies take each other over, and if you don’t know it, you could be playing a game from a company you don’t like without even knowing it. Very big companies are now doing this with their slot development. For example, Microgaming, a massive slot company now run a Studio that provides a framework for tons of smaller developers. In fact, we omitted from our top 10 a company, Gameburger that is simply a part of Microgaming. Microgaming Studios has 11 studios producing games on its platform, including Stormcraft, Switch Studios, Pulse 8, Triple Edge, and all41studios. This only goes to confirm to us that the big guys win. Signing up these companies to produce for them is a way to outsource risk. Customers may well benefit: perhaps Microgaming or NetEnt have got too big and confident (and maybe complacent) to produce really great titles, and bringing these companies to a big audience will bring innovation into their studios. But it also means that these companies are going to be squeezed into the mathematical parameters that the big company operates on. This matters because we can end up with games that are very similar while pretending to be very different played at sites that are all owned by a very small number of companies that brand their sites as if they were independent stand-alone operations. Whatever your opinion of this you cannot deny that it is useful to be well informed, and perhaps it might just be interesting. But the most important thing through all this is to play safely only at licensed sites and with your own best interests at heart.