Top Game Providers for 2023
Game providers are the companies that create and develop the pokies and other games you enjoy at your favourite online NZ casinos.
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A Deep Dive Into Game Providers in New Zealand
Many Kiwi players are surprised to learn that the casinos they enjoy playing at don’t actually create the games they offer. Instead, NZ casino operators purchase games from software providers who license their titles out to sites across the industry and around the world.
Online game providers have existed since 1994, when the first online casinos were launched. Microgaming was the earliest company to develop functional, safe gambling software, making it the first major game provider in the early years of the industry. While land-based game providers such as Aristocrat launched as early as 1953.
Many of the top game developers for land-based casinos soon jumped into the online casino world, porting their classic slots and creating new games especially for the internet. Companies like Scientific Games, IGT and Barcrest existed alongside early online-specific developers like Betsoft, Realtime Gaming, and Playtech.
In the 21st century, new providers have had to innovate in order to carve their own niches in this increasingly competitive industry. Developers like Evolution Gaming have pushed the online gambling industry into new directions like live dealer games. These new types of games have kept online casinos fresh for players even after three decades.
You don’t have to specifically choose a game provider to play with, as most of our top NZ casinos feature games from several developers like Konami, Novomatic and Bally. However, you might find that you have a favourite provider that you turn to time and again.
If you want to pick casinos based on game providers, be sure to stick with trusted software developers that have built a reputation for fairness and security. All of our recommended casinos only use software from trusted, quality providers.
Top Game Providers in the Industry
We promote New Zealand casinos that use a wide variety of software providers. That said, a few companies have set themselves apart as the top names in the industry. Here’s a look at a few of our favourite game providers.
The oldest online casino software provider in the world, Microgaming has been in business since 1994. Today, the company is best known for its progressive pokie machines such as Mega Moolah, which have paid out millions to some lucky winners. Microgaming is also known for its innovative 243 ways slots, as well as licensed pokies from properties like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Jurassic World.
NetEnt is another of the first wave of online casino game providers, launching in Sweden in 1996. Today, the company is now listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The company is best known for its beautiful, iconic pokie machines like Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest, as well as its signature progressive jackpot slot, Mega Fortune. It also creates a small number of table games like blackjack and roulette.
Based out of the Isle of Man, Playtech was founded in 1999 and now provides software to many of the biggest brand names in online gambling. The company is a frequent game provider for licensed sites in regulated jurisdictions thanks to its strong global reputation. Playtech offers an impressive variety of games, including pokies, table games, live dealer options, and alternatives such as virtual sports and bingo.
Evolution Gaming has established itself as the top name in live dealer casino games. This game provider offers blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps and more in their live dealer suite. Evolution also creates unique game shows and branded live experiences, all of which have allowed it to stand out from the crowd in this area. However, it does not create its own traditional pokies, instead working with other providers to round out its offerings.
Established in 1998, RealTime Gaming (RTG) has long provided the backbone for countless online casinos. They offer hundreds of games, with their “Real Series” of pokies being the most popular. These games use a similar framework on which the company can build countless different themes and concepts. While this collection is showing its age, many players still enjoy these classic online slots.
Popular Software Providers
Beyond the big names above, there are many more trusted software providers you’ll see at many of our top-rated NZ casinos. Here’s a breakdown of five more leading game developers whose games you might enjoy.
Founded in 2006, Betsoft Gaming quickly made a name for itself with its uniquely styled pokie machines. Each game features rich characters and unique themes that are brought to life with stylish 3D art design. This has made titles like the Slotfather and Mr. Vegas among the most beloved titles in the online casino industry, though the style of these games isn’t for every player.
Founded in 2011, Quickspin is a Swedish firm that is focused primarily on making pokies. In 2016, Playtech acquired this game developer, but Quickspin remains its own studio with its own style of graphics and gameplay. Titles like Book of Inferno, Raven Rising and Beastwood all show off the colourful graphics and innovative features this provider has become known for.
Named after the world tree of Norse mythology, Yggdrasil has been creating some of the best games in the business since 2013. The company has consistently pushed the envelope with its video pokies, mixing classic themes with the latest innovative features that players are demanding. Yggdrasil also has a small number of table games that it can provide to round out a casino’s offerings.
Even if you’ve gone out of your way to play with other game providers, chances are you’ve played some titles that NextGen has developed. That’s because this studio – around since 1999 – has licensed out many of its titles to other businesses that include those games in their own packages that are sold to casino sites. Popular NextGen slots include Cash Stampede, Dolphin Reef, and the Foxin’ Wins series.
A subsidiary of Light & Wonder (formerly Scientific Games), NYX Interactive now has its games in hundreds of online casinos across the globe. The company develops the complete range of casino games, from pokies to table games, bingo, scratch cards and anything else an online gambling site might need. This provider is best known for slot machines like Eye of Horus, Dragon Kings, and StarMania.
New and Upcoming Game Providers
The sheer number of game suppliers on the market has made it difficult for new companies to make their mark. Even many of the companies we look at as “young” now have a decade of experience in the industry. However, there are still some new game providers that have found their own niches in the online casino software market.
For instance, OnAir Entertainment was founded in 2020 with the goal of furthering innovation in the live casino space. They’ve accomplished this by going beyond the normal offerings of table games in its live dealer collection. OnAir also provides a live slot machine, allowing Kiwi players to play 9 Pots of Gold with a live host who guides the entire crowd through the journey of each spin.
Another newer player is Hacksaw Gaming, which began operations in 2017. This Maltese company is best known for making mobile-friendly pokie machines that are designed from the ground up with phones in mind. They’ve also become one of the larger providers of virtual scratch card games, offering a variety of themes along with customized games for some casinos they work with.
Popular Game Categories
You probably know that game providers create pokies and table games. But there’s a whole world of other options out there in the online casino world. If you want to learn more about the variety of casino games you can play online in New Zealand, read more below!
At virtually every casino online, you’ll find more pokie machines than any other type of game. You can play classic pokies that resemble the old-fashioned three-reel mechanical machines, more complex video slots, or progressive jackpot pokies that can win you millions on a single spin.
Pokies are the best way for new and casual gamblers to enjoy the casino experience. There are an endless number of themes out there, so you’ll always find something you like, and there’s no strategy required to get the best returns from these games. However, slots do tend to have a lower return-to-play on average than some other casino games.
From blackjack to baccarat, from roulette to craps, table games offer some of the most recognizable casino gaming experiences on the planet. These classic games have been augmented in recent years by propriety games like Spanish 21 and Three Card Poker, not to mention countless variations on the classics.
By and large, table games offer better returns and lower house edges than slot machines. However, they tend to have higher minimum bets attached to them, and some require complex strategies in order to get those maximum returns.
Live Casino Games
Live dealer games give you the chance to get an authentic casino experience right on your phone or computer. These games take place over live video feeds with real dealers using physical casino equipment to determine the results. Table games like blackjack and roulette are the most common live casino games, though other options do exist for New Zealanders.
Live dealer games are perfect for any Kiwi player who wants a more social experience at an online casino, or anyone who doesn’t trust the random number generators used by these sites. However, the minimum bets do tend to be higher than in typical table games, and you may not be able to try free versions of live casino games before playing for real money.
Whether we’re talking about scratch cards or drawing style games like keno, lottery games allow you to have the chance at a jackpot every time you place a bet. These are some of the simplest and fastest games you’ll ever play, making them perfect if you don’t want to try games with complex bonus rounds or strategic decisions to make. However, the house edges tend to be very high on these games.
Video poker games are some of the most popular options in the casino for veteran gamblers. If you play games like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild with perfect strategy, you can enjoy extremely low house edges. In fact, in some configurations, these games can even have a player advantage!
That said, such setups are rare at online NZ casinos. In addition, video poker is a deeply strategic game, and it takes lots of hard work to play perfectly. Finally, many players find video poker boring and repetitive, though others find having to consider their moves on every hand to be thrilling.
The specialty games label can apply to a wide range of games. Some casinos consider everything outside of pokies, table games, and video poker a specialty game. Some more exotic examples include fixed odds games, virtual sports betting, arcade-style action games. However, anything under the sun could be a specialty game, and many providers come up with new, innovative titles all the time.
These specialty games are perfect if you’re looking to try something different and unique. However, since it is difficult to find strategies or information on these niche titles, you may not be able to get as much advice as on more mainstream games.
Free Demo Versions of Games
Most NZ casino games are available in free play demo versions that allow you to try them out without spending any of your own money. These games give you the chance to try them hands-on before you decide whether you want to play them for real money later on.
You can find these free demo games at our recommended New Zealand casinos and on the sites of game providers. Playing these free versions can allow you to practice strategies or get used to gameplay in a safe, risk-free environment.
However, be aware that you cannot win real money by playing these free games. The lack of risk and reward can also make these games feel boring if you try playing them for too long.
Game providers are the designers and artists who make all the games you love at your favourite casinos. Even if you never think about them, the online casino industry only works because these companies provide games to gambling sites.
If you want to play with the best game providers, be sure to stick with our recommended casinos. Each site works with a variety of software companies to create a varied and extensive collection of games.
If you want to seek out providers on your own, be sure to find companies that offer the games you enjoy playing and that have at least a few titles you want to try out. Then, check our reviews to find the best casinos that have games by your favourite software provider!