The modern online casino industry is almost as big and lucrative as the offline one, but that hasn’t always been the case, even in the internet age. This industry has only really broken through in the last decade or so, and it got to where it is today after a very slow and uncertain start.
The Early Days
It all began with Microgaming. Today we recognize them as the biggest casino software brand in the world, a company that creates the software for casinos such as Royal Vegas Casino and other major brands. They have hundreds of slot machines, table games and more, and they work tirelessly to improve, update and develop new and even more exciting games.
In 1994, however, it was very different. Back then Microgaming was actually an online casino — the very first in fact. They found a niche that would later take off and become a multi-billion dollar business, but with few people on the internet back then, and with few people trusting online payment systems, they didn’t get many customers. There was also the fact that few people had seen online casinos before and they were wary of trusting the first and only one that existed.
Over a couple of years Microgaming were able to find customers and slowly build a brand, at which point others began to take notice. Online casinos are common nowadays because software like Microgaming and Playtech make it easy for them, but back then you had to create your own slots and table games if you wanted an online casino.
Microgaming eventually decided that there was more money to be made licensing their casino software, than actually running an online casino. They received countless requests from other aspiring online casinos seeking to acquire their software, and eventually they relented. They realized they could take a step back, focus on creating more games and newer technologies, and leave the running of casinos to others.
Key Moments on the Road to Progress
In 1997, Microgaming became a founding member of the Interacting Gaming Council, which continues to provide a safe industry for gamblers to this day. Just a year later, they released their first progressive jackpot slot, which was also the first the industry had seen. Microgaming have become renowned for their progressive slots in the modern age, but back then this was an entirely new concept. Named Cash Splash, this slot machine took off and told Microgaming all they needed to know about what their customers wanted and how they could give it to them.
As they moved into the new millennium, Microgaming received many awards and many new customers, as the online casino industry began to grow at an unprecedented rate. Their success also continued to be aided by their progressive slots, when it 2002 a player won around $2 million on the Major Millions slot, which set a world record at the time. It seems very tame by today’s standards, when you have games like Mega Moolah paying closer to $10 million, but this was a huge leap for an industry that was still very much in its infancy.
The increased popularity of Microgaming allowed the company to improve its software and many upgrades followed. Much of the things we recognize in the modern Microgaming were implemented during a very busy year through 2003 and into 2004.
The Final Steps
These formative years were instrumental in creating the industry that we know and love, otherwise gambling might be something that was reserved purely for the big casinos and card rooms. Microgaming didn’t just inspire other casino software providers, they also inspired online poker rooms and even sports books.
In more recent years they increased compatibility, offering instant play casinos that worked with most machines, downloadable casinos for Mac, and mobile casinos for Android and Apple devices. Of course, there have been other software developers that have had a hand in helping to turn this industry into what it is today, but Microgaming were there from the beginning and for many years they were working alone.
There is no telling where Microgaming and other casino software will turn next. There are more players on online casinos than there have ever been. This is a global industry that stands to make a lot of money for everyone involved. In an effort to make more money we will no doubt see games that are more fun, more addictive. There has also been talks of more multiplayer games, such as the Playboy game created by Microgaming, one which allowed 6 players to play at once, with all of them sharing in the joys of a bonus round after 1 of the players landed the required symbols.
New laws have also been passed in Las Vegas recently to allow more skill based slot machines, which have since been something that gamblers could only dream of. If Microgaming and other developers get involved, and if these games come to the online world, then in just a few years you could be shooting zombies, racing cars or playing sports in a slot machine bonus round, with skilful players being rewarded financially.