The Evolution of Online Casino Software
Online casinos have a long history, and the software that fueled these games is irrevocably tied with its history. To understand both the timeline of online casino development along with the software companies entangled with them, we need to first look at the origins of it all. Picture this, it's 1994 and you have AOL dial up. Kurt Cobain recently died, and you or your neighbor probably have an extensive collection of flannel shirts. Meanwhile, in South Africa a man named Martin Moshal started a humble company named Microgaming . Its goal was to develop the first online casino software in the world. This was a daring feat, and Martin clearly had a revolutionary mind for being brave enough to become one of the first to attempt this. Later that year, Microgaming marked its place in history as one of the pioneers of the online gambling industry by launching the first ever online casino. With that single Microgaming platform, everything has changed forever. The industry is experienced exponential growth since then, and technology evolving at a rapid rate has also helped the industry boom.
Microgaming truly holds the crown for being the first online gambling software. Gaming licenses were actualized when the Free Trade & Processing Act was passed, which brought in a sizable pool of investors and gambling organizations, which later became the IGaming industry. The bill was passed in 1994,and the first ever gambling site was born. It was called The Gaming Club. By the time the end of the 90s came around, safe and secure online gambling was a common occurrence. Microgaming wasn't the only software developer publishing games and casinos anymore either.
In 1996 NetEnt was developing games and casinos. This company in Sweden published many games that are still popular to this day, like Starburst , Gonzos West, and Mega Fortune which featured a pooled jackpot slot. By the time 1998 came around, the gambling industry was booming. The game developers were releasing new online gambling content every day, and it became a frenzied competitive market of companies trying to outdo each other. Microgaming was the first yet again to prioritize taking revolutionary steps by offering the first online progressive jackpot. The progressive jackpot they released titled Cash Splash changed the trajectory of the industry forever. The online progressive jackpot was similar to the land version of these games. With these jackpots, a portion of every bet made will help form the progressive jackpot. The money is stored until the jackpot is finally paid out and then the game resets to its original base jackpot value. For most virtual slots, the progressive jackpot can only be triggered if a specific combination of symbols land on the reels. Many of the games have their own criteria however, for example some games might award the jackpots randomly as long as you've wagered a certain amount, while other jackpots pay out only during the games mini game or bonus game. To this day, Microgaming remains a staple figure in the world of online progressive jackpots and still offers some of the best and most popular options.
As the 90s rolled on, the development of gambling games was a slow and tenacious process. Sure, they were still frequently developing new websites and adding new games, but it was still the 90s and the internet wasn't yet the revolutionary giant it evolved into. The internet was still relatively rudimentary, so it wasn't the fault of the companies involved. Of course, the popularity of online gambling couldn't be denied either. Many companies were jumping on the Microgamings bandwagon, such as Intertops. Intertops was actually a sports betting company that took over phone bets in the 1980s, so the evolution into online gambling was natural for them. Slot games were the first type of game to be offered online, but a different sort of game really brought the industry to the masses, and that's online poker.
Few companies could compete with the recording breaking jackpots of Microgaming, and that was NetEnt. NetEnt hosted a huge jackpot of their own, called NetEnt's Mega Fortune Dreams. NetEnt has four multi-million dollar jackpots in total, and that's built up its reputation as one of the best in the IGaming industry. NetEnt was also known for the quality of their games, and the high number of slots with a favorable return to player percentages. NetEnt was also one of the first companies to released tumbling reel slots, which was title Gonzo's Quest , along with other games like Twin Spin, Guns 'n Roses and Wild West.
This is one of the first companies to exist in the internet based gambling sector and launched in 1996, introducing the world to InterCasino. This company's game collection might pale compared to Microgaming from a numbers perspective, but that can't detract from the fact Cryptologic Limited was well received for its innovation and technology. They actually are most well known for their innovative proprietary technology that developed safe online casino transactions.
The next evolution in online gambling was thanks to the brilliant minds at BetSoft . Like Microgaming, BetSoft is still an important brand in the industry in 2024. BetSoft made a name for itself by introducing the world to their 3D slots. BetSoft set the trend, causing an influx of 3D gambling slots on the market nowadays. 3D slots are beloved for their impressive game quality. These animations were unlike anything else they'd ever seen before. These games has cinematic graphics that resemble Pixar movies, and BetSoft also added their own innovative special features. BetSoft is responsible for games like Safari Sam , Three Wishes, The Slotfather and others.
Summary and The Future of Online Casinos
Many of the big names that created this fantastic industry remain staples to this day, and the initial boom of online gambling wasn't a flash in the pan moment. Instead, it's become a phenomenon. Every day new online casinos join the ranks of the existing sites- some of which have been aground for over 20 years. Technology is developing at such a rapid rate many companies are scrambling to keep up. A new casino or game is being released every day!
Slot games in particular have come so far, from its minimalistic bulky 90s graphics to the detailed and sophisticated visuals we know today. You can play any casino whenever and wherever thanks to software developers enabling smartphone compatibility for their games and platforms. You can play slots, baccarat, blackjack or poker wherever. You don't even need to always play against a computer, you can even join in on a live dealer game from a remote location!
To think companies like Microgaming and BetSoft laid the groundwork for this constantly evolving industry! As time marches forward, AR and VR gambling will grow in popularity similar to how smartphone gambling started, and sooner or later we'll all be playing games with high tech headsets. If there's one element that's obvious when you look back on the history of gambling in general, you'll notice the love of the games themselves remains the same, it's just how we play the games themselves have changed!