03/20/2012 : The past three months, since our last review, have been packed with new developments across mobile, web and social gaming platforms – all three experiencing cross-over opportunities and a degree of convergence attributable to legislative and political changes, technology advances, an increase in internet connectivity and more tech-savvy consumers.
Recognising a need to be involved, predominantly land-based operators and/or small online operators have been expanding their offerings to appeal to a wider demographic in a rapidly growing and changing sector. New development studios and gaming development start-ups are coming to the fore and established content developers and providers have maintained the blistering pace in sending new offerings to market in an effort to keep their customers engaged.
A brief review follows covering the past three months of new releases in the internet games, mobile and social gaming sectors.
Aristocrat Online launched three new online slots – popular titles from its land-based portfolio that have been adapted to online. “Miss Kitty”, a 5-reel, 50-payline slot and “5 Dragons”, both of which were also developed and released for mobile, and a 5-reel, 25-payline slot titled “More Chilli”.
Online betting exchange Betfair has had a busy schedule over this review with something new across most of its channels. Launched under its Poker Cubed brand, three new online offerings “Dice Hold ‘em” – a new take on Texas hold ‘em, “Shoot the Moons” – an easy to learn betting game, and “Liar’s Dice” – an old pub favourite involving bluffing and an attempt to outbid their opponent were launched. A five-reel, twenty five-payline online slots version of the classic Atari video game titled “Sensible Soccer” followed. A cheeky but clever innovation launched by the online gambling provider allows punters who are looking for the best deal on competitor websites to see Betfair odds at the same time.
Crazy scientists and dancing rats theme two new releases from BetSoft Gaming. Depicted in cartoon-fashion, “Madder Scientist” and “Ned and his Friends” feature re-spins, Click Me and amusing bonus rounds. Its much anticipated 5-reel, 30-payline 3D video slot “Lost” also debuted at the ICE Expo in London. Outstanding graphics in this Egyptian-themed game and Dr. Dakota Bones are reported to be proving popular with online players.
“Worms”, a new 50-line slot adapted from the classic PC game, was launched by multi-platform game developer BluePrint Gaming.
Bodog88 went live with its “Super Six Baccarat” Live Dealer game, an online version of one of the fastest growing card games in land-based Asian casinos.
Endemol Games and 888 joined forces to launch “The Money Drop” into the Italian market. The new game joins Affari Tuoi, Endomol’s first game for 888 Italy. A deal signed with American gambling moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who own the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise, will see Endemol develop a UFC-themed slot for the UK market. Endemol Games UK and Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment partnered with up and coming developer MX Gaming for a Hulk Hogan-themed game titled “Hulkamania” due for release early 2013.
Genesis Gaming development studio’s have been hard at work with numerous releases over the period that include “Jekyll & Hyde” – an ALL PAYS™ game, which pays on adjacent reels from left to right, followed by the fast-action themed “Roller Derby” – a 5-reel, 25-payline video slot, a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland called “Alaxe in Zombieland” and an online slot released exclusively to Sky Vegas titled “Cash Cauldron”. A vintage look and feel 25-line video game “Drone Wars” released recently on Microgaming’s Flash platform has created quite a buzz.
High 5 Games released a 4×5 graphic-rich online game titled “Royal Lion” featuring split symbols and connected lines along with its most recent offerings “The Prince of Lightening” and “Golden Odyssey”.
“Fire Opals” from International Game Technology is a 5-reel, 720 ways to win game themed around all that is hot and red.
London-based games developer iSoftBet has released its latest video slot, “Farm Fair”. This graphic-rich game is a 5-reel, 9-payline slot featuring all things barnyard. Another three scratch offerings have also hit the market titled “777 Heaven”, “Lucky Sign” and “Keno”.
Amusement with Prizes developer JPM’s interactive subsidiary JPMi has been converting some of its most popular terrestrial games to the online environment. The company holds a strong presence in the Czech Republic, UK and Spain through its own patented gaming platform Gameology and some of its new online offerings include “Full House”, a popular 4-reel, single payline UK fruit machine, Play for fun or with real money on the 3-reel, 5-payline “5ive Liner” which features a Hi/Lo gamble and Mega Money Feature in a bright traditional fruit machine format. “Big X” is a simple but entertaining 3 reel game played on a single win line (except when the Big X is activated) with awards paid for three of a kind wins and last but not least, “Turbo Gold”, a classic fruit machine, 3-reel multi-stake game, played on 5-paylines – across all stakes.
Mazooma, the UK-based online games content provider’s newest releases include “Atlantis Treasure” a 5-reel, 20-payline slot with an innovative stepping function that resets after every win, triggering a cascade of new opportunities across the reels, “Monkey Business”, a 5-reel 20-pay-liner and a “Hi Lo Poker” game with a built-in progressive.
Veteran Microgaming kicked off the year with a bang releasing a multitude of quality games that included the 5-reel, 30-payline fantasy exploration slot “The Grand Journey”, an up-rated version of its popular Megaspin slot “Break Da Bank Again” showcasing new features such as expanding Wilds and Rolling Reels, “Atomic 8s” – the second addition to its Power Spins Series, and the much-anticipated Medieval-themed “Great Griffin”, a 5-reel 50-payline slot that is proving popular with players.
February was no exception with the launch of an improved Live Dealer suite of games titled “Diamond Edition Live Dealer Package” offering redefined graphics and more opportunities to win, the gold and jewel adorned “Jewels of the Orient, a royal 5-reel, 20-payline slot themed around the legendary Round Table titled “King Arthur”, an exotic-themed 5-reel, 20-payline slot “Mayan Princess”, and an interesting 5-reel slot set in a fantasy land lost in the mists of time called “The Forgotten Land of Lemuria”.
In March, collaboration with Pedigree Group Limited which owns the Shoot football brand will see the development of an online slot game using imagery from the popular football magazine that should prove particularly popular with online slot playing football fans. The company also signed a licencing deal with DC Comics that will see the iconic Batman brought to the online environment in a series of graphic-rich slots.
Microgaming’s Power Spin series welcomed its third release “Nuclear 9s” themed around fluorescent green nuclear-type material with an optional player-activated power spins mode. Joining its Rhyming Reels series was the video slot “Old King Cole Rhyming Reels” released on Microgaming’s Viper platform along with “Nuclear 9s” and the Multi-player Roulette Diamond Edition”.
Ending off Microgaming’s contribution to this review is the 5-reel, 40-payline video slot “Karate Pig”. This game is a big, multi-featured game with quality graphics and a comical twist. The game centers around a mythical Japanese pig that has talents as a celebrated sushi chef, a fierce samurai, a musician, a karate champion and a philosopher among other attributes, guiding players through an entertaining game.
Software developer Neogames launched its first 3D scratch slot titled “Go 777”. The scratch features realistic audio and the ability to switch machines between rounds.
Increasingly active was Swedish developer and provider Net Entertainment with the launch of a slot themed on the crime cult movie “Scarface”, flowing from its agreement with Universal Studios, “Simsalabim” themed around an amusingly crafty magician and his magic show, a new diamond studded 5-reel, 20-payline video slot “Starburst”, and the much anticipated underwater adventure “Subtopia”, a graphic-rich offering based on submarine exploration. Its latest release “Demolition Squad” features demolition Wilds that amusingly put the player behind the controls of a wrecking ball that ploughs through the reels.
NYX Interactive and NextGen development studio merger NYX Gaming has been rolling them out with “Andre the Giant” attracting a growing following. Licensed by CMG Worldwide, the 25-payline game’s wrestling theme is inspired by French wrestling champ André René Roussimoff. NextGen developed “Hot Hot Volcano” showcasing an explosive Eruption bonus, atmospheric audio and crisp graphics, “The Snake Charmer” with hypnotic expanding wilds below each of the five reels, a mining-themed thrill ride titled “California Gold”, its latest Select-A-Play title “Enchanted Mermaid” and “Gold Ahoy” – a new twist on the pirate theme where players dig for awards in the mapped out bonus round, offering multipliers and quadrupled prizes. Other recent releases include the 5-reel, 50 pay-line 3D-style slot “Merlin’s Millions”, “Oil Mania” and “Pizza Prize”.
A new 5-reel, 20-payline slot “The Rainbow King” and a 3-reel, 5-payline traditional slot “Ultra Hot Deluxe” were released from Novomatic, presumably from its GreenTube development studios.
A seemingly new player in the games development and white label sectors is KGR-Entertainment who power CashCasino777 and Playbet24.com. Games on offer from this German-based company include “The Rise of Napolean”, “Golden Fruits”, “Triple X”, “Wizard's Tale”, “Secrets of Da Vinci”, “Ramses II deluxe”, “Roulette French Classic”, “Lost Atlantis”, “Lucky Seven”, “Power Poker”, “Keno Professional”, “Fruit Poker”, “Hot Wheels”, “Mega Wheels”, “Crazy Seven”, “Black Jack”, “Dracula”, “New Butterfly”, “Gladius”, and “Keno Bomb”.
Newcomer NuWorks released its amusing “Red Raiding Hood” a twist on the classic tale featuring a gun-toting Little Red Riding Hood and a Runaway Coach.
Swedish software company OMI created interest at ICE 2012 with the launch of its Kazuri Casino Module and two new online slots “Tres Hombres”, a five-reel 243-payline video slot set in the Mexican desert and “Benny the Panda” – a five-reel, thirty ways to win video slot. Both games are expected to be launched to its mobile portfolio by the end of this month.
OpenBet, working in partnership with MX Gaming, developed a fully branded David Hasselhoff slot game and scratch card titled “The Hoff”. Subsidiary Electracade releases include “Alien Autopsy” themed around Roswell In 1947, a 5-reel slot that features an interesting bonus round and “Captain Scarlett Reactors” – a new take on an OpenBet classic.
Play’n GO developed “Pearl Lagoon”, a 5-reel, 20-payline undersea slot game featuring an optional Gamble round and “Enchanted Meadows”, a fanciful 5-reel, 15-line slot centered around an enchanted tree.
Three new scratch releases from Playtech take players on a search for a leprechaun behind a pot in the new “Irish Luck Scratch”, “A Night Out” and “Spamalot” based on the much-loved Monty Python musical comedy of the same name. Online slot releases included “Fishing with Buddies” a multiplayer slot game with animated 3D avatars, the second Universal Studio-branded slot based on the blockbuster movie “The Mummy”, and a television show-themed progressive slot titled “Everybody’s Jackpot”.
PokerStars launched its fast poker product “Zoom Poker” in Beta format which has reportedly had an excellent response. The game is a proprietary take on Full Tilt’s popular “Rush Poker” product.
Other operator’s targeting the fast-poker void left by Full Tilt’s abrupt shutdown include Unibet, Betsson and iGame (iGame.com, 24hPoker.com and Pokerihuone.com) who have all taken on Relax Gaming Network Ltd’s new “Fast Poker” product. Relax Gaming was recently awarded an Alderney Gambling Control Commission licence.
Rival Gaming released “Ice Picks” a winter-exploration themed 5-reel, 20-payline slot along with a 5-reel, 25-payline slot called “Wild Safari” and its latest games offering “Nuclear Fishing”.
Innovative Dutch-based 3D gaming studio Sheriff Gaming again impressed with its latest quality developments which included 20-payline online slots “Atlantis”, “The Amsterdam Masterplan” and “Ed’s Venture”. 20-payline progressive slot releases “Dinos Rhino”, “Pharoahs Tomb”, “Fortune Farm”, “The Kings Ca$htle” and “Zoo Zillionaire”. 30-payline slot games “Mr Good” and “Chinese New Year” along with a 3-reel progressive titled “Slot of Fortune” and scratchcard’s “Isle of Fortune”, “Treasure Tomb” and “African Hunt”. The company pledges to maintain a steady flow of new offerings throughout the rest of 2012.
UK-based digital data distributor, SIS, launched a new pool-based game in collaboration with Contagious Sports. The game allows bettors to bet into an in-running pool on live football matches to win jackpots.
Sky Vegas added “Lone Ranger”, a wild west-themed 5-reel, 20-payline slot to its games portfolio. It also entered into a games supply deal with the Argentinian online gambling software developer Leander Games.
Interesting new releases from Viaden Gaming included an advanced variation of its popular “Maya Pyramid” slot game offering extended gambling options and a new design, the fun vacation-themed “Cubana Tropicana”, a comical disco party-themed 5-reel slot dubbed “Non-Stop Party” and a 25-payline Parisian-set romantic video slot “Jour de l’Amour”.
WinADay Casino featured two new proprietary releases, 5-reel, 20-payline slot’s titled “Hold the Riches” and “Enchanted Gems” marking its 28th and 29th proprietary launches, which are both linked to the website’s progressive jackpot.
“The Gusher”, an oil baron-themed 5-reel, 30-payline slot from WMS Gaming launched on the company’s operational website Jackpot Party Casino along with “All That Glitters 2”, a 27-payline game featuring its popular cascading reels feature. The latest installment of the popular Star Trek Series also went live on JackpotParty, “Star Trek Episode 5: A Piece of the Action”, to the delight of Trekkie fans. Other recent releases include “Mermaid’s Gold”, a treasure filled undersea adventure and “Luau Loot”, a 5-reel 25-payline game adapted from WMS’s land-based slot game to the online environment.
A mixed bag from Malta-based World Match with the introduction of three new Far East-themed additions to its scratch and win portfolio by way of “Dragon of Fortune LO”, “Dragon of Fortune” and Dragon of Fortune HI” – all similarly themed but offering three different thresholds of maximum payout. “Superbikes” launched in January, a new 3-reel, 25 payline slot based around the world of MotoGP and in March “Hi-Low 3 Cards” a game with the simple dynamic of choosing one of three cards and guessing whether the next card will be higher or lower.
A new live blackjack game “Ventuno” from Evolution Gaming, which was developed for the Italian market features native-speaking Italian dealers. The game joins the company’s popular “Venezia Roulette” product.