Online Casino Software Provider Stepping UpBy: Rick Balding, Wednesday October 14th 2009
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Playtech is one online casino software provider that has taken several steps in the last year to increase its potential in the online gaming industry. Regulation of online gaming appears to be imminent in both Europe and the United States. Playtech has ensured that it is in a position to exploit that situation when it arises.
Playtech was founded in 1999 by a group of entrepreneurs. In 2006 it was listed in the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. However that year Playtech received its worst setback when the UIGEA was passed in the United States and Playtech had to withdraw from the American online casino market. Since then Playtech has fought its way back with a number of well-timed and the lucrative licensing arrangements and is now producing some of the most innovative online casino games.
One of the first agreements was with Paramount Digital Entertainment. This agreement allowed Playtech to develop online slot games based on two of Paramount Pictures most popular film releases. One of these slot games, Gladiator, was released earlier this year. The slot game was path breaking in the sense it featured the images of the actors who played the various roles in the movie. It also featured video clips from the movie. The other major agreement was with Marvel Entertainment Inc. This agreement was for developing online slot games based on superheroes featuring in Marvel movies. Of these, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man have just been released. Both these online slot games feature exciting bonus rounds and expanding wild symbols.
The improvement in online casino games is not restricted to the slot games alone. The recent pack of games released has scratch cards, roulette and fixed odds games that promise to take online casino gaming to a new level. The scratch cards have exciting themes such as romance and football. The quality of graphics has been much enhanced from earlier scratch cards and the payouts are fantastic. Playtech is also introduced the first ever 3-D fixed odds game called Knockout. So good is the animation and the audio that players can actually feel the thrill of being inside the ring. However, the best of the latest games is the 3-D roulette. Players are transported into a 3-D animated Casino. This game is not only visually superior to its competition but also has innovative game features.
Playtech's closest competitors in the online casino software industry are Microgaming and Cryptologic. In terms of number of online games being offered and addition to the portfolio each year Microgaming is far ahead. It crossed the 400 games mark earlier this year. The quality of Microgaming online casino games both in terms of audiovisual appeal and games features is excellent. However Microgaming is staying away from branded games, even though it was the first online casino software provider to introduce such games with Tomb Raider and Hitman. Cryptologic is less innovative but it has an excellent portfolio of branded games. Most of these are based on Marvel Comics superheroes. Playtech has now directly positioned itself against Cryptologic with its Marvel Movies superheroes. Cryptologic has chosen the route of expansion by licensing its games to operators that are functioning on other platforms and has signed a large number of deals using this business model.
Playtech was always counted in the top three of online casino software providers, but placed at number three. Very clearly Playtech is intending to change this and is fast narrowing the gap between the leaders and itself and would soon even overtake them.
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