If you were to pick up a video game that was poorly coded and badly developed in general, what would you expect? A world-class gaming experience that kept you engaged indefinitely, or a recipe for disappointment, frustration and a waste of money?
The answer is, of course, the latter.
Consequently, it should be no different when it comes to casino software. And nor is it, given how software is what powers (literally) everything at every online casino worldwide.
The online casino industry has evolved beyond recognition over the last twenty years. Now, there are well over 120 software developers creating games, platforms, and all manner of other things. As with cars, clothes, food, and virtually everything elsewhere – something the best casino software providers know only too well.
In a nutshell, if you’re going to spend your money on something, it needs to be of acceptable quality – software included.
But what is it specifically about online casino software that has an impact on quality, enjoyment and so on? Does the quality of the software behind the scenes really make a noticeable difference to the experience?
The short answer is yes – and in a very big away.
Gameplay and UX
For starters, quality casino software prioritise is the player’s experience and interaction with the casino. The world’s leading developers therefore invest heavily in keeping things as smooth, seamless and slick as possible. Something that often comes down to the tiniest details, like the number of seconds that the reels will spin for on an online slot machine or the way the cards are displayed to online blackjack players.
The gameplay and UX quality issues has taken on all-new significance in the age of mobile gaming. Today, developers face the challenge of ensuring there is no reduction in quality whatsoever, irrespective of the device used to access the casino. The industry’s leading casino developers have this covered, typically, by producing mobile-first games and then reformatting (if required) to larger screens. Quite the opposite of the traditional approach, where mobile gamers were usually short-changed compared to their desktop counterparts.
Licensed and regulated Providers
A general rule of thumb is that players should only sign up with sites that are licensed and regulated by a reputable authority or a governing organisation for a particular region. For example, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for players in the Garden State or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission for customers in Britain.
But what’s often overlooked is the importance of siding with software providers that are also licensed and regulated by the same governing bodies. Where this is the case, they must comply with all of the licensor’s rules in the same way as the casino. Their games will be audited regularly to check that they are fair and the published return to player (RTP) percentages are accurate.
Of course, all gamblers know that the casino holds an advantage. It doesn’t matter what game you play – slots, craps, blackjack, roulette or baccarat – the house has the edge. We accept that, but rigged games that effectively cheat you out of your money are unacceptable. Good casino software is at the forefront of the fight to keep gaming fair and honest.
Graphics and Audio
In theory, you could say that the visual appeal and audio quality of an online casino game are inconsequential. Gameplay is what matter most, so elaborate visuals and ostentatious presentation aren’t at a big deal. Nevertheless, encounter a seriously uninspiring game with amateurish presentation and you’re unlikely to give it a penny of your money.
Consequently, quality graphics and audio do matter…a lot.
For the software developer, the challenge lies in pulling off the perfect balance between simplicity and sleek presentation. Under no circumstances can elaborate visuals substitute for quality gameplay. What’s more, software that is too resource-heavy due to OTT visuals and animations can make for a clunky experience.
When you come across something that runs like a dream and is also fantastic to look at (and listen to), you know it has come from a developer that know what it is doing.
Special Features and Unique Attributes
From progressive jackpots and free spins bonus rounds to roulette win multipliers and additional side bets in blackjack, top games are loaded with cool features. In recent years, with Big Time Gaming’s invention of Megaways, we’ve seen repeatedly what happens when a software developer releases something new and exciting.
Before Megaways, slot games were somewhat rigid in the number of symbols that were on the reel set. Many video slots had five reels and three (or four) rows, which gave a maximum of fifteen or twenty symbols on display. Big Time Gaming threw this conventional format out of the window. Each reel of its Megaways games could display between one and seven symbols. This subsequently meant that there were tonnes more ways to win – over 100,000.
Innovation and breaking boundaries lies at the heart of the quality online casino experience. Putting out a decent game is not about simply regurgitating what’s already out there. The best in the business are always thinking about how to do things better, or transform the gaming landscape in its entirety with something completely new.
The subject of casino software importance can be surprisingly contentious. This is due to the fact that tastes, preferences and priorities vary wildly from one player to the next.
You’ll encounter plenty who genuinely do not care how a casino game looks or sounds. All they care about is the basic gameplay mechanism, and the potential for a prize or two. Elsewhere, you’ll find a (much larger) pool of punters who base most of their decisions on the way a game looks.
Either way, there’s much to be said for the kinds of top-name developers who go the extra mile to put together outstanding games that look the part and provide an immersive experience. Giving the near-endless library of games the web provides access to, there really is no point settling for second best with something substandard.
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