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A New Era of Video Slots Developers

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/12/2020

Video slots are the most popular games at any online casino. It is not uncommon for sites to list over 2,000 games in their catalogues. This mirrors the offline world where row upon row of chiming cabinets and blazing lights greet any punter who enters the chasm of a real casino floor from Vegas to Macau. For years now the online slots market has been dominated by names like NetEnt and Microgaming who staked a claim to the territory in the very early days of online gambling back in the 1990s.  Or offline specialists like IGT and Novomatic who have successfully brought their products into the virtual world where games like Cleopatra or Book of Ra are as popular as they are in the gambling houses of Nevada.

But in the last five years a change has happened and new and ambitious young studios have sought to make their mark and challenge the hegemony of these big businesses. Developers like Big Time Gaming from Australia have had a massive influence on player tastes, whilst innovative start-ups like Nolimit City and Relax Gaming are successfully staking a claim to their own patches too. How have they done this? Here we take a short look at the profile of each of these slots studios and show why their popularity is a much-needed shot in the arm of the slots gaming industry.

You can play all the games mentioned here at the UK casinos listed at AllSlotSites.com.

Big Time Gaming

Without doubt, Big Time Gaming (BTG) are the biggest thing to happen to online slots since the first reel was spun in the 90s. It is their unique Megaways™ game engine that has been the catalyst for BTG’s incredible growth. Megaways™ uses random reel modifiers to change the number of rows on each reel on the slot after every spin. Each reel can display as many as seven symbols, such that when six reels are fully expanded, 117,649 paylines are in play. This feature, combined with high variance maths models, free spins, wilds and multipliers has made games like Bonanza, or branded slots like Monopoly and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, into instant classics played by hardened gamblers who want high risk, high octane game play.

BTG’s success is also driven by a creative edge that makes their games stand-out from the crowd. Rather than rolling out games with tried and tested themes like Ancient Egypt or Irish Luck, BTG have mixed anthemic or alternative rock soundtracks with striking artwork to produce stunning games like Danger! High Voltage, The Final Countdown and Lil Devil.

When they started out, CEO Nik Robinson said Megaways™ could replace the standard 5x3 reel format as the most popular online slots engine. And since rival studios have now also licensed the engine to create games of their own, this dream seems like it may soon become a reality. The speed at which this company has grown has been incredible and they have created a path for other young developers to follow, including the next pioneering one in our list.

Nolimit City

Since Bonanza Megaways™ arrived back in 2016 and subsequent high variance slots like White Rabbit and Danger! High Voltage followed, high risk slots have been gaining popularity. They are characterised by short bursts of high value payouts with manic win sequences that please those who like the adrenaline rush of this kind of gambling. Every slot studio from Quickspin to Red Tiger began cracking up the variance to match their rivals.

And one young studio who has done this very well is the excellent Nolimit City. In particular in 2020 Nolimit have pushed out a string of games with excellent themes and narratives and very high variance where big wins are possible in the free spins rounds. The best of these are slots like Deadwood, a wild-west shoot-up, and Barbarian Fury, an Ice-Age game with lots of re-spins and wilds.

And just as BTG came up with the Megaways™ engine, so Nolimit have invented their own trademarked feature, xNudge Wilds. This clever system uses wild stacks and multipliers to create tension and big win opportunities. It’s a small but significant part of the success of this game developer, and whilst they are in the early stages of their journey, many are expecting big things from them.

Relax Gaming

Finally, we highlight another small but important studio called Relax Gaming who are having an influence thanks to their own highly skilled design work and partnerships built on their Silver Bullet platform.

Relax’s titles stand out because of the intriguing themes and interesting gamification features they add to the current mix of slots. Gamification is an engagement feature that has been used very successfully by social gaming companies and in popular mobile games like Candy Crush. Now casino developers are realising its potential too. In their recent release, Hellcatraz, players have to collect keys during the base game to unlock a Super Free Spins Round. And in Hero’s Hunt, released in partnership with Fantasma Gaming and built on the Megaways™ game engine on license from BTG, Experience Points are awarded by landing special symbols to unlock Hero powers and enhanced payouts.

Just like their peers, Nolmit City, Relax Gaming are bringing something new and exciting to the world of online slots. And just like Big Time Gaming, who paved the way for both of these young studios to make their mark, Relax are providing serious competition to the old guard. This is a thrilling time for slots fans and it looks set to continue in the new decade.

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