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Have you ever wondered where online slots machines come from? Casino fans often take their favorite games for granted and never think about how those games make it from ideas to the Internet. Knowing isn’t integral to having fun and winning big but a peek behind the scenes can provide useful insight. The slots player who knows how these games work and distribute winnings is better for it.

Although slot games sometimes seem like magic, it takes a lot of careful planning and hard work to bring them to fruition. These machines are created by development teams who specialize in casino games. Sometimes games are created for traditional and online casinos at the same time, and sometimes a team will port an existing brick-and-mortar casino game to the online space. Slot fans tend to be a fickle bunch, so the manufacturers are always working on new games in order to deliver gameplay and themes that their potential audience has never seen before. These companies tend to develop their own character, and slot fans associate these brands with those characteristics. Game designers face the difficult task of keeping up with new trends without compromising the personality and features that have earned the loyalty of their core audience.

With that in mind, we present a brief introduction to many of the most important software companies that are developing the most popular casino games. Each section includes information about the company as well as the kind of software that their brands are known for best.

Companies from Las Vegas

The following companies are based in Las Vegas, which is arguably the casino capital of the world. Most of these companies have a strong presence in traditional casinos, but they’re all very active online as well. Through their association with Las Vegas alone, these companies have attracted millions of players who recognize these brands and associate them with the pinnacle of the industry. These developers have had a great effect on the online industry through innovation but also traditional standards.

Bally Technologies: Bally is one of the most recognized names it the industry. It can trace its history to the 1970s and the electronic revolution in Las Vegas during that decade. Only recently has it entered the online arena, and the brand has deliberately limited its presence to a small selection of online casinos.

IGT: International Game Technology is now one of the largest developers of casino games in the world. IGT has developed some of the most successful games ever and holds some of the biggest licenses, and its games can be found in local and online casinos throughout the world.

WMS: Williams Interactive is among the most established and successful companies in the industry. Its greatest successes have been in the U.S. where the brand is based, but the company has also made a name for itself throughout Europe with clever innovations and a spectacular game portfolio.

H5G: High 5 Games is another very important industry name, and its games are often in direct competition with games from brands like IGT and Bally. H5G games tend to be traditional but also of very high quality, and that has helped the company make a name for itself in Europe as well. H5G also made a mark for itself by embracing social games in addition to real money games very early on.

Other Land-Based Developers

Las Vegas may be the casino capital of the world, but it isn’t the only place to serve as home to developers of world-class slot games. There are a number of important developers of land-based and online casino games headquartered throughout Europe and other places outside the U.S. In fact, the great success of the online casino industry has inspired business interest in this arena in areas where little has existed previously.

Ainsworth: Ainsworth is based in Australia and a manufacturer of games for both traditional and online casinos. The company has enjoyed great success, and social gaming is a domain in which this company has innovated greatly and really distinguished itself.

Aristocrat: Aristocrat may be the most important and successful of the Australian companies. Not only does the brand have a huge presence at home but an influential presence in Europe. Its games are available worldwide and can be found both online and in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Barcrest: Having been founded in 1968, Barcrest is one of the oldest names in the industry. Barcrest is best known for its slot machines, and at one point, it was the only company like it in the U.K. Today, Barcrest games are available worldwide but predominantly online. The company still caters to its core U.K. audience but is now owned by Scientific Games Group, which also owns Bally.

EGT: Euro Games Technology is a casino game developer headquartered in Bulgaria. Originally, EGT just made games for a local audience, but now EGT is at the forefront of the industry and has physical machines and online games available throughout the world.

Konami: Konami may be the biggest name in this list, but that recognition in the West has more to do with its success in video games than casino games. Nevertheless, Konami is an influential developer of slot machines. Those games are primarily in land-based casinos and only in particular areas, but it seems likely that its success will extend much further than that soon.

Novomatic: The Novoline series is among the most popular casino games ever released in Germany, and that success is beginning to extend throughout the world. Established in 1980, the company is based in Austria and already has a strong presence throughout Europe and Asia.

Playtech: Playtech launched in 1999. It’s now one of the largest developers of casino games in the world, and it’s an interesting case study because the company formed and found success entirely due to the emerging online aspect of the industry. Although its focal point remains online, the brand has also begun putting physical machines into brick-and-mortar casinos as well.

Corporations, Which Can Be Found Exclusively Online

Online casinos aren’t the future any longer. They’re the right now, and they make up the core of the casino industry. Therefore, it comes as little surprise that there are casino brands that have chosen to operate only online and without a traditional land-based presence.

Ash Gaming: Ash Gaming is headquartered in the UK. It currently has a limited game selection on offer, and it chooses to restrict them to a select group of online casinos. The approach here is to make the games more attractive by not making them abundant, and Ash Gaming has been careful to choose high-profile partners that help maximize that limited presence.

Betsoft: Betsoft Gaming is another company that launched in just 1999 but has evolved into an industry giant. Betsoft games have a very unique and lively style, and this company was among the first to distinguish its online games with 3D graphics.

Cryptologic: Founded in 1996, Cryptologic is a pioneer in the online sector. The company not only developed some of the earliest games but innovated the software platform on which many online casinos operate. Cryptologic remains one of the most respected names in the industry, and its platform is very reliable and allows for integration of games from other developers.

Gamesys: Gamesys is a relatively new company that’s made a name for itself with a unique brand of online slots. The company has done particularly well with social gaming, which is an aspect of online gambling that’s experiencing a tremendous amount of success in Europe.

Leander: Leander Games is an Argentine developer that’s found great success in Europe in a relatively short period. The game portfolio is currently modest, but it has a charming and distinct appeal, and Leander has set a quality standard that’s extremely high.

Microgaming: Microgaming is the best-known and most prolific German developer. The company has an expansive portfolio of games for online and traditional casinos, and those games are available worldwide. The brand is an influential force in the industry, and consumers associate that brand with great games and reputable online casinos.

NetEnt: Net Entertainment is one of the largest companies in the online casino sector. The company develops highly unique and original games but also secures many licenses for film, television and other properties. The brand’s aesthetic and use of 3D graphics is instantly recognizable, and few developers offer slot machines with progressive jackpots as large as NetEnt boasts.

NextGen: NextGen Gaming is headquartered in Australia but has achieved a great deal of success in Europe as well. The company has focused on non-traditional casino games and on creating experiences that set the NextGen brand apart from the crowd.

Play’n Go: Play’n Go is a software developer that cut its teeth in the mobile space. It dabbled in mobile casino games and eventually made that a focus thanks to its successes in that arena. Since then, Play’n Go has expanded its portfolio and added to its partnerships. Its mobile games remain free-to-play and continue to stand out due to outstanding quality.

Rival: Rival is a relatively small software developer and one that chooses to be exclusive in terms of its partnerships. Despite its size, Rival has a large game portfolio, and these games stand out due to impressive graphics and many different clever features that slot fans really gravitate toward.

RTG: Real Time Gaming was founded in 1998, and its games remain some of the popular casino games online. RTG has numerous partnerships, and that means that its entire library is available at a large number of online casinos throughout the world.

Topgame: Topgame is a casino game developer founded in 2007. Although the name is still relatively unknown in Europe, it has developed games that have achieved great success and proved influential. The Topgame name will certainly become more widespread in the years ahead.

Yggdrasil: Founded by a former NetEnt executive in 2013, Yggdrasil blasted onto the scene with impressive 3D graphics and a fresh aesthetic. Not only has Yggdrasil created successful games but innovative platforms and services that are changing the online casino space.

This list of top casino software developers is by no means exhaustive, and readers should note that there are many new, small companies demonstrating tremendous potential. Developers that probably don’t receive enough attention are those who make games specifically for so-called Bitcoin casinos. There are also brands like NYX and Odobo that are making great games but aren’t well-known yet due to being a proprietary platform or focusing on small casinos. Those who want to learn more about these brands should look to our software reviews and the other detailed information we provide.