Although there are over 100 software providers, it's probably fair to say that only a handful can be considered true industry giants. Still, the early-stage software providers of today can be tomorrow's industry giants, which is what makes them exciting to watch. Fortunately, many of these providers can be found at online casinos accepting Canadian players.
Introduction to game developers
All casino game developers try to differentiate themselves from the competition. Some decided early on to target segments of the market like live casino. Still, others employ cutting-edge 3-D graphics, soundtracks and animation in their games.
Another road taken by some providers has been introducing new slot mechanics, which they then trademark and license to other providers. Some developers have become known for their progressive jackpot slots. Highly successful progressive jackpot slots such as Mega Moolah have been around for years, showing no signs of disappearing any time soon.
Next, here at OnlineCasinoList, we'll introduce you to our top 10 developers.
Best Game: Age of the Gods
Playtech is a publicly listed (London Stock Exchange) software provider with an inception date of 1999, making it one of the oldest. It holds multiple jurisdictional licences. However, don't be fooled by its age because it is no dinosaur! It offers innovative gaming products and software platforms.
The provider has produced over 600 games, including casino games and in-house & branded slots. For example, Playtech has teamed up with DC Entertainment to create Superman, The Justice League, and The Dark Knight. It also offers a selection of premium movie-branded slots such as Gladiator, Robocop and The Matrix. Canadians are sure to recognize most if not all of these titles!
Playtech can also take credit for the Age of the Gods, Age of the Gods Norse and Kingdoms Rise series of pooled progressive jackpots. Additionally, the provider has a portfolio of live dealer casino games such as Speed Roulette, Casino Hold'em, blackjack, and more. It has become one of the biggest live casino providers of live games, some of which use augmented reality to blend reality with computer animation.
Best Game: Fruitbat Crazy
Betsoft is one of the pre-eminent providers, undoubtedly familiar to many Canadian players. It has established a reputation for being one of the premier content providers in the iGaming industry. It was founded in 1999 and has evolved into a world-class content developer. It holds licences from the MGA and Curaçao, among other jurisdictions.
Slots3TM is a trademark of Betsoft released in 2010, which uses arcade-style technology to produce 'true' 3-D cinematic animation and graphics. Popular slots based on this concept include Fruitbat Crazy, The Angler, Weekend in Vegas and Take the Bank. However, there are many more waiting to be discovered.
In addition to video slots, Betsoft has 20+ casino table games, including variants of roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat and craps. These use brilliant graphics and sound effects to mimic a table game experience.
These same games are why Betsoft has been nominated for and collected prestigious awards from different organizations. Most of its 200+ games are cross-platform compatible using HTML5, allowing enjoyment on a desktop computer, mobile and tablet.
Best Game: Baron Samedi
Yggdrasil was founded in 2013 and is licensed and regulated by the MGA, the UKGC, Gibraltar Regulatory Authority and Isle of Man Financial Services Authority, among others. Its headquarters is located in Sweden, with several offices throughout Europe.
Yggdrasil is known for pushing the boundaries when creating content reflected chiefly in its suite of popular video slots. Some of the more popular ones include Easter Island, Dr. Fortuno, Baron Samedi and Ozwin's Jackpots. Its games can be found at many of the leading online casinos.
The developer introduced their iSENSE 2.0 client framework in 2014. It allows cross-platform functionality over desktop, mobile and tablet. Furthermore, Yggdrasil established the Game Adaptation Toolkit & Interface (GATI™), a content aggregator platform supplied to casinos worldwide. It consists of third-party studios that use its proprietary technology.
In 2020, Yggdrasil introduced new slot mechanics: GigabloxTM, MultiMAXTM and SplitzTM. These innovative slot features can be found in some slots from Yggdrasil and its partners.
Yggdrasil runs frequent campaigns that sometimes include missions, prize drops or other promotions at participating casinos where players can win a share of a prize pool.
Big Time Gaming
Best Game: Bonanza
Big Time Gaming (BTG) is a New South Wales, Australia-based online slots provider founded in 2011. By the 1st half of 2021, its collection of popular games had reached a modest 34. Still, the provider has always prioritized quality over quantity.
BTG put itself on the map with the creation of the 2016 high volatility hit Bonanza, using its recently introduced MegawaysTM mechanic where ways to win can reach up to 117,649. It is an innovative feature that determines the number of ways to win by randomizing the number of symbols on each reel independently. The concept has become so popular that BTG has licensed it to other providers. For example, NetEnt has updated classic slots like Divine Fortune and Gonzo's Quest, incorporating the MegawaysTM feature.
BTG has continued to innovate with other trademarked features like MegaclustersTM and DuelReactionTM.
Although BTG has many unbranded slots like Donuts, Extra Chilli, and White Rabbit, it also has branded slots. For example, it has released a few based on game shows: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Mystery Box, Wheel of Fortune MegawaysTM and Survivor MegawaysTM. Monopoly MegawaysTM is the provider's first foray into branded board games and hopefully not the last.
The success of BTG caught the attention of Sweden-listed Evolution Gaming, which purchased the provider in 2021.
Best Game: Money Train
Relax Gaming is an award-winning software provider and content aggregator of casino games, bingo and poker on its Silver Bullet platform. This distribution platform enables over 30 providers to boost their visibility and penetrate new European and MGA markets. Its platform has over 2,000 casino games from providers such as Tom Horn, Big Time Gaming, Kalamba and Leander.
Players can also find in-house games from Relax Gaming, mainly consisting of slots. These include popular games like Temple Tumble and Money Train. Temple Tumble MegawaysTM is based on the theme of Templar Knights, released in 2019, and boasts a 46,656 ways mechanic. On the other hand, Money Train is a 20,000x bet max jackpot slot based on the Wild West, featuring wilds, a bonus round and 'Feature Buy.'
Relax Gaming also offers an online poker client service, allowing players to participate in online casino poker tournaments and more. This offering has won multiple awards, including GIA Poker Supplier of the Year in 2020.
Additionally, Relax Gaming offers variants of bingo, including 75-ball and 90-ball. These games are available in speed versions and with jackpots.
Best Game: Jammin' Jars
Push Gaming is a relatively small provider of approximately 20 online slots found at many leading casinos and aggregator platforms, including Relax Gaming, EveryMatrix, Gamesys and SoftSwiss. The London, UK-based company was founded in 2010 and is privately held.
The provider is well known to many players for awesome HTML5-optimised games, including Jammin' Jars and Tiki Tumble. Jammin' Jars is a fruit and disco-themed slot, released in 2018. It boasts a whopping maximum payout of 20,000x bet. Its success led to the release of Jammin Jars 2 with an even more mouth-watering maximum payout of 50,000x bet. Tiki Tumble is another slot innovation, featuring nudging wilds and free games with win multipliers. It has high volatility with a maximum payout of 18,278x bet. The theme is based on ancient Polynesian culture, featuring totem gods and masks.
Best Game: Mega Moolah
Microgaming is one of the oldest and largest providers of online slots and casino games. It released its first online software in 1994 and pioneered the first mobile casino software in 2004. In its existence, Microgaming has released many hit slots. One of its most famous is Immortal Romance, released in 2011. It is based on a love-vampire theme and comes with a 12,150x bet jackpot.
Microgaming has also produced several popular branded slots, including Jurassic World, Game of Thrones and Lara Croft Temples and Tombs.
The provider operates one of the biggest pooled progressive jackpot networks, which has paid out over €1.3 billion to date. The Mega Moolah series of slots now consists of 7 titles that share a massive progressive jackpot. 'WowPot' is a more recent series of slots, also sharing a huge progressive jackpot of their own.
In addition to over 800 Microgaming casino games, you can find 700+ games from other providers on its platform.
Best Game: Book of Dead
Play'n GO is another attractive provider of content with roots dating back to 1997 when it was started by a group of consultants. They are a privately held innovation company headquartered in Sweden.
Play'n GO is known for some of the best games on the market. Some of their best include the high volatility Book of Dead based on an ancient Egyptian theme. The success has spawned a franchise with sequels including Amulet of Dead, Doom of Dead and Shield of Athena.
The developer also has several branded slots based on music, including Twisted Sister, Demon, Annihilator, and Sabaton. Many of their past slots are high volatility with payouts of 5,000x or more.
Although mainly a video slots provider, they also offer a few table games such as blackjack, Casino Hold'em, Casino Stud Poker and Mini-Baccarat. Although most people don't know it, Play'n GO also has produced a few bingo games.
Play'n GO has grown into a top-rated developer with the regular release of new games - a testament to the quality of their team.
Best Game: Gonzo's Quest
Many consider Sweden's NetEnt, a pioneer in online casino games. With a history that dates back to 1996, this really is no surprise. The company was publicly listed on the Stockholm and NASDAQ exchanges until it was purchased by Evolution Gaming, creating an industry giant.
NetEnt has developed slots that have transformed into classics over the years. One of the biggest is Gonzo's Quest, released in 2010 based on a Spanish conquistador searching for the lost city of Eldorado. Other famous slots include Starburst and Butterfly Staxx. The developer has also made a name for itself in progressive jackpots with Divine Fortune, Mega Fortune and Mega Joker.
NetEnt has also collaborated with third parties to produce branded slots. For example, NetEnt created Street Fighter II in 2020. To their credit, they've also made other branded games: The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Guns N' Roses and Ozzy Osbourne.
Aside from slots, NetEnt also has a few casino table games, including roulette and blackjack. Until being acquired by Evolution Gaming, NetEnt Live offered live casino games, but this no longer appears to be the case.
Best Game: Trump It Deluxe
Fugaso is probably the least known of all developers on our list but certainly no less important in its own way. It was created in Israel in 2001 and is currently headquartered in Cyprus. Their primary focus is video slots, although they have a limited selection of table games (added in 2017). All games are optimized for mobile and desktop platforms.
Examples of their slot games include Trump It Deluxe and Trump It Epicways, parodies of Donald Trump and other famous world leaders. Fugaso offers roughly 55 slots, many of which have beautiful graphics matched perfectly with soundtracks. Themes include magic, ancient Egyptian, horror, fruit, Asian and many more.
Some slots from the developer also have progressive jackpots with Mini, Midi and Maxi jackpots. These are high-volatility games that might appeal to Canadians with a higher risk appetite.
The developer also offers white label solutions, producing games for other developers. Although their products are not found at nearly as many casinos as the others, we would expect that to change as it continues to grow.
Best Game: Monopoly Live
Created in 2006, Evolution Gaming is one of the largest software providers in the online casino industry. The parent company is publicly listed on the NASDAQ Stockholm Exchange. It began as a giant live casino provider but expanded into slots and virtual table games after purchasing NetEnt in 2020.
Evolution Gaming is licensed and regulated in Malta, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada. Its software is available at some provincially run online casinos in Canada. This includes British Colombia's playnow.com and Ontario's OLG.com.
Evolution Gaming is known for producing variants of live roulette, live craps, live blackjack, live baccarat and live poker. Most games (except Auto Roulette) are played with live dealers. These recreate the land-based casino experience where the player never has to step foot outside their door. Cutting-edge technology allows games to stream in real-time. Players can view the table, hear the dealer speaking and publicly chat.
Additionally, Evolution Gaming was a pioneer in Live Game Shows using money wheels. These include Crazy Time, Monopoly Live, Mega Ball, Dream Catcher, Lightning Dice and Deal or No Deal.
The addition of NetEnt augmented their live casino games with a great portfolio of slots and virtual table games.
Best Game: Big Bad Wolf
Quickspin is another Swedish gaming studio that primarily produces video slots. The company is based in Stockholm, Sweden and was purchased in 2016 by Playtech. It is licensed and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority and UK Gambling Commission. Games from Quickspin can be found at many casinos, including ones that accept Canadians.
The company was founded in 2011 and has produced approximately 80 slots with a release rate of 1-3 per month. Some of the more popular titles include Big Bad Wolf, Sakura Fortune and Sticky Bandits.
The game studio has been recognized for its achievements as the recipient of several awards and nominations. Canadians may even be able to find promotions such as tournaments and missions involving Quickspin slots at their online casino.
Best Game: Da Vinci's Treasure
Pragmatic Play is a multi-award-winning iGaming content provider, including live casino, bingo, slots, and more. These are optimized for different platforms, including mobile, tablet and desktop. The provider is privately owned, having been founded in 2015.
The developer is licensed and regulated by the MGA, UKGC and Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA). It has received several awards, a validation of its business.
Some of Pragmatic Play's more popular slots include Buffalo King, Great Rhino, Mustang Gold, Da Vinci's Treasure and Wolf Gold. The provider is quickly growing into a competitor in live casino games. Some of these games include Mega Sic Bo, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, Auto Roulette, Speed Roulette and Speed Baccarat.
The developer also offers promotions, including tournaments that offer prize pools on select slots at participating casinos.
Red Tiger Gaming
Best Game: Mayan Gods
Red Tiger Gaming is a software provider of multi-platform games (mobile, tablet, desktop PC) designed in HTML5. It was founded in 2014 and is regulated by the UKGC, MGA, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and HM Government of Gibraltar. It has received multiple awards over its life, part of why its games can be found at many high-end online casinos accepting Canadians. Undoubtedly, this success was the motivation behind NetEnt's acquisition of Red Tiger Gaming in September 2019.
If you look at the provider's games, you'll find close to 70 slots with a broad array of themes. Some of the more popular titles from this developer include Pirate's Plenty, Da Vinci's Mystery, Well of Wishes and Mayan Gods. Slots make up the bulk of their portfolio though they do have a small number of table games.
The most significant feature making Red Tiger Gaming stand out from other developers is its pooled progressive network of Daily Jackpots. The Must Drop and Daily Drop Jackpots are available as add-on features to many slots from the developer at participating casinos. Canadians might also find slots with the Super Drop, Mega Drop and Hourly Drop, tiered jackpots at participating casinos.