In the increasingly popular world of online slots, there are some titans of development that have long stood at the forefront. NetEnt will be the first name that comes to mind for some experienced slot gamers, and over the years this company has indeed become a behemoth. Just two years ago, it was the subject of a $2 billion (£1.75 billion) purchasing deal by Evolution Gaming, which speaks to the development company’s immense value. Not too far off, Playtech is another established giant in the space; the creator of such hits as White King, Safe Cracker, and Jackpot Giant (to name a few) has a market cap of $1.35 billion (£1.18 billion), according to Yahoo Finance.
With such massive players having long dominated, it can be easy to assume that there isn’t much space in the casino world for newcomers. However, we have actually seen some development companies break through in the past five or 10 years. And one such company – Pragmatic Play, founded in 2015 – has more recently emerged as a significant force in the sector. In fairly short time, this developer transformed from a fringe competitor into a common name atop casino site game grids. So, how did they do it?
A comprehensive answer would speak to the significant talent behind Pragmatic Play’s game design. The company consistently releases slots and jackpots with some of the most eye-catching graphics and appealing game elements we see in the casino space. On top of the pure quality of design however, Pragmatic Play has also gained attention by thriving in popular categories within the slot genre….
It’s unclear exactly why food items have appeared on slot reels essentially since slots were invented. Nevertheless, people are used to seeing cherries, bananas, and the like in these games. In fact, people see so much of these elements that they’ve become quite dull. A slot offering up prizes and icons that amount to distributed fruit bowls are simply not interesting anymore. Pragmatic Play, however, has managed to tap into the familiar concept of food slots while offering more inventive and exciting games. With Fruit Party 2, the company has effectively supersised the concept, laying out a massive fruit grid over a comforting, fantastical background. With Chilli Heat, Pragmatic Play has captured a sort of culture surrounding spicy food, rather than just presenting an array of peppers. And these are just two of many examples.
Through the years, Pragmatic Play has actually produced quite a few animal-themed slots. Of late however, some of the newer offerings in this category have taken off as some of the most popular casino games available. Currently, Gala Casino is presenting Pragmatic Play’s Buffalo King, Buffalo Blitz, and Big Bass Bonanza as its “top Megaways” options (with Great Rhino Megaways featured as well). At some of the other platforms, one might run into titles like Wild Hop & Drop, Happy Hooves, or Black Bull as top slot options. Altogether, these games perfectly demonstrate what happens when high-end developers embrace and perfect a stagnant category. Animal slots have been around forever. But as with fruit slots, Pragmatic Play has effectively improved upon them with these titles.
Cultural Tie-In Slots
Lots of developers out there today seek out licensing deals with studios and other entertainment companies in order to tap into cultural relevance. This is how we wind up with slots based on everything from Batman films to British soap operas. Pragmatic Play, however, has been somewhat more inventive in its presentation of games that tie into the broader culture. For instance, its retro-style Snakes & Ladders slot was undoubtedly designed to appeal to generations who played Snakes & Ladders board and arcade games growing up. Its Christmas Carol slot is a loose homage to the Charles Dickens work, but an original game rather than a straightforward licensing play. Even the company’s decision to build a game around Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration is a shrewd cultural play; according to Statista, some 80% of Mexicans celebrate the holiday, and that alone makes for a built-in audience for the game!
Even beyond these categories, Pragmatic Play’s decisions consistently appear to be strategic and effective. The company has embraced the ever-popular theme of historical slots, but has done so through a handful of exceptional titles (most recently Down The Rails) rather than a scattershot of generic Ancient Egypt titles. It has tapped into the trend of character-driven slots by inventing Wild West outlaws and jungle explorers to accompany the reels.
Ultimately, it’s decisions like these that have helped Pragmatic Play to establish its footing in this competitive space – and we have no doubt more clever games are on the way. As you keep an eye out for those meanwhile, come back for more gaming news any time.