Every day, millions of people visit online casinos for anything from a few minutes to a few hours of fun. They know the games they like to play and the slots that they think are going to bring them the biggest winnings, but not many of these people know very much about who creates these games and the companies behind the software that makes them all possible.
So while you might mention NetEnt to some people who might be able recognize the name, many more would likely have no idea what you are talking about. But as a company responsible for around 35% of all the slots and online casino games out there, NetEnt is a pretty big deal in the field.
First, a little history. NetEnt was first launched in Sweden in 1996. Previously it had been operating as a company called Cherry that made traditional slot machines that were direct descendants of the original “Liberty Bell” slot that had been invented a century earlier in California by a young engineer called Charles Fey.
The Birth of NetEnt
Two things led to the birth of NetEnt. The first was the cracking down by the Swedish government on the installation of slots machines in bars and other places. The other was the emergence of online gaming. So, using the knowledge and skills that had been gained by Cherry, NetEnt started applying them to the new technology.
By 2003, NetEnt was already making a name for itself and supplying a number of online casinos; over the years the number has steadily grown. The company has been officially listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange since 2009 and has gradually expanded to offer games in almost all of the countries around the world where online gambling is legal. Today its market capitalization is over $5 billion, making it a dominant force in this sector.
While the company also creates software for casino games like blackjack and roulette, as well as “live casino” software that recreates the experience of playing in an actual casino complete with live dealers, it’s the slots games that have really built up NetEnt’s fortunes.
These have always been incredibly popular games, whether players are trying their luck on the stand-up machines or their online counterparts. For relatively low stakes, they offer the chance for a variety of different win sizes and there are generally very few rules to understand.
Even so, it’s remarkable that one company should achieve such huge dominance in what is a very competitive market with a number of other big players also vying for superiority,
So what’s the secret of NetEnt’s success? Essentially it comes down to two elements: One is their drive for innovation and quality and the second is their selection of games.
In the case of the first point, NetEnt has always strived to find new and exciting ways to enhance the player’s experience, whether by changing the ways the reels move or even introducing elements like video sections and dramatic music. From the perspective of the online casino operators, they know that a NetEnt game will have been well-designed, fully-tested and, most importantly, that it will be very popular with players.
Finding the Best NetEnt Games
In fact, players who are in the know will actively seek out a list of the top NetEnt games on sites like slots.info that will then lead them to the very best online casinos where they can be played.
The most popular of their slots will be found across multiple casinos; perhaps the very best known is Starburst. Month after month it tops the list of most popular slots among players. Launched back in 2012, Starburst included some features never seen before in an online slot machine, particularly in the way that traditional “wilds” — or symbols that could stand in for any others — were replaced with Starburst wilds that took over a whole reel and could stay in place for up to three spins. This meant that big prizes can be won whenever you play.
Another innovative feature of Starburst was that it was one of the very first slots that looked as good and played as well on a mobile device as it did on a PC screen.
Other notable games in the NetEnt line-up include Gonzo’s Quest, which introduced a novel “avalanche” feature that sees the symbols topple to the bottom of the screen as well as original video content that many reviewers have described as being almost as good as anything Disney or Pixar could produce. Combine this with the captivating story inspired by the true life tale Francisco Pizzaro’s quest for the gold of El Dorado and it’s easy to see why this is also a game that’s always near the top of the most played lists.
Pulling in Movie and Music Fans
In their own quest to appeal to as many people as possible with their games, NetEnt have followed a trend in casinos by also developing strong ties with movie and TV franchises. “Aliens,” “Scarface” and “The Invisible Man” have all been recreated in games and, from the small screen, there have been games including “Dallas,” “South Park” as well as “Hotline” — an homage to classic 1980s detective shows like “Miami Vice.”
They’ve also harnessed the power of music by creating games that reward players with blasts of rock from legends like Guns N’ Roses and Motorhead, bringing in a whole different group of players in the process.
Even so, no one is more aware than NetEnt that they can’t rest on their laurels. Major competitors like Microgaming, IGT and Playtech are always snapping at their heels, not to mention adopting ideas that NetEnt have originated.
But the company’s official tagline is “Better Gaming™” and it’s this commitment to going a little further and offering a better gaming experience than anyone else that means that NetEnt’s dominance of the online slots world doesn’t look like it’s going to be seriously challenged anytime soon.