As the iGaming industry (a loose term describing the online betting and gaming sector) expands around the globe, there is something of a heated battle going on behind the scenes. Software developers, i.e., those companies that create online casino games (as well as the software architecture for platforms), are operating in a hugely competitive sector. Competition is healthy, of course, and it is to the players’ benefit when companies making the games are constantly trying to improve and get ahead of their rivals.
But which developer is best? That’s not an easy question to answer. If we were asked the same question 20 years ago, then the answer may have automatically been Microgaming. The company was one of the early pioneers of the early internet era in the 1990s and basically set the tone of modern online casino gaming. If we were asked 10 years ago, then perhaps Playtech would be the most likely answer. The company, more than most, benefitted from the global network of the iGaming sector.
Pragmatic has rocketed to the top
However, ask any player who makes their favorite games today, and you’ll hear a few mention Pragmatic Play casino games. Founded in 2015, Pragmatic has quickly become one of the foremost names in casino games. It now boasts a library of over 100 games, and it has a foothold in slots, classic games, live dealer gaming, bingo and other genres. While it’s still somewhat behind Playtech and Microgaming in terms of the number of games, it is matching those in terms of influence. Not bad when you consider that both Playtech and Microgaming were founded in the 1990s.
Information on the popularity of individual casino games isn’t always readily available. However, we can list games like Sweet Bonanza, Wild West Gold, Big Bass Bonanza, The Dog House, John Hunter (a series of games based on a character reminiscent of Indiana Jones), Buffalo King, Voodoo Magic and several others among the top casino games on the planet right now. We know this due to their prominence at casinos, and the fact they are showcased by casino streamers on Twitch and YouTube.
But as we mentioned earlier, the iGaming sector is wildly competitive. Moreover, trends in players’ tastes can seemingly change overnight. At the moment, Pragmatic seems to be benefitting from a focus on high variance (volatile) gaming. Many of its titles offer just that – chances to win many times your stake – but the trade-off is that the games are volatile, so there’s a greater chance of winning very little. This is one of the reasons that Pragmatic games are popular with streamers – they can showcase the exciting “hits” in videos when they do come along.
However, while Pragmatic is among the slot kings of the 2020s, many believe that the future of online casino lies in live dealer games. Pragmatic does have plenty of live dealer titles, but it must play catch up with Playtech and Evolution Gaming. The latter is particularly dominant in this sphere of online casino gaming. Nevertheless, we have seen several new Pragmatic live dealer games, including Sweet Bonanza Candyland, which suggests it is serious about taking on Evolution for the crown.
For many of these competing developers, the prize is a slice of the American market. Ever since the US Supreme Court made its decision on sports betting in 2018, which has had a knock-on effect for casino, there has been a rush to capture the American market as states begin loosening gambling restrictions. Pragmatic is well-positioned in that market already. And if it stays on the same trajectory, it will soon be the global leader in the iGaming industry. For the moment, it is the best games maker in the eyes of many, many casino players.