Has Microgaming Gone Downhill in the Slots World?

Casino Slot Machine Reels, Microgaming Logo
Microgaming is no doubt one of the most legendary names in online gaming. They’ve produced countless hit slots over the years and supply a large number of US casinos.

However, many younger slots fans don’t really play games from Microgaming. Some haven’t even heard of this developer.

How can it be that one of the greatest slots providers of all time isn’t relevant among the younger crowd? I’ll answer this question by covering Microgaming’s rise and where they’re at today.

The Original Pioneer of Online Gaming

Microgaming may have gained fame for its many popular slot machines over the years. But one lesser-known fact about them is that they started the first-ever online casino.

In 1994, Microgaming launched the Gaming Club. This casino was launched at a time when consumer internet technology was relatively new.

Other developers would quickly follow suit by launching both online casino games and sites. Many used Microgaming as a model for their early efforts.

What’s amazing is that both Microgaming and Gaming Club is still around over two and a half decades later. In contrast, many early slots developers and casinos fell by the wayside years ago.

Movie Deals, 243 Ways, and the Explosion of Microgaming

Microgaming has never rested on its laurels after developing the first online casino. Instead, they’ve continued to innovate over the decades.

Burning Desire Slot ReelsThey’ve had many milestones along the way. But perhaps their most notable is the advent of 243 Ways slots. Microgaming rolled out Burning Desire in 2009. This release marked the first time that a game featured 243 Ways.

A 243 Ways slot doesn’t have paylines. Instead, it sees you land matching symbols in adjacent reels to earn wins. The result is that you get 243 winning possibilities on every spin. This figure comes from multiplying the number of spaces in each of the five reels: 3x3x3x3x3.

Up until 2009, every online slot had been based on the traditional payline model. Microgaming bucked the trend, though, and created a format that’s since been used in countless games.

They haven’t retained a prominent position in gaming through 243 ways alone. They’re also notable for the many movie-based slots they’ve made.

In fact, Microgaming was one of the first online slots producers to sign lucrative deals with movie studios. They’ve created games based on everything from Tomb Raider to Lord of the Rings.

Jackpot Mania

Yet another reason behind Microgaming’s rise is the huge jackpots that they offer. This developer has become very famous for its jackpot slots.

Mega Moolah Online Slot ReelsTheir Mega Moolah currently holds the record for the largest online slots jackpot in history. In September 2019, an anonymous player hit the Mega Moolah “Mega Jackpot” for €18.9 million.

Mega Moolah has paid out several other prizes worth eight figures. The only slot that comes close to matching this feat is NetEnt’s Mega Fortune.

Microgaming also features other progressive slots with huge jackpots. King Cashalot and Major Millions each have the potential to pay out seven figures.

This provider even has a progressive roulette game that delivers big wins. Roulette Royale has paid as much as $440,000 in the past.

Microgaming Is Still Producing Plenty of Online Slots

The theme of this post is to question where Microgaming is at regarding the biggest slots producers. But before I get into this, I’d like to discuss how they’re still fairly relevant today.

This company is developing new slots on a regular basis. Their latest releases may not generate as much buzz as when Microgaming was churning out games based on blockbuster movies, but they’re still newsworthy.

Some of their latest slots at the time of this post include:

  • A Dark Matter
  • Crystal Dawn
  • Deco Diamonds Deluxe
  • Jungle Jim and the Lost Sphinx
  • Lock a Luck
  • Long Mu Fortunes
  • Mega Vault Millionaire
  • Tiki Mania
  • Treasures of Lion City

Of these games, Jungle Jim and the Lost Sphinx is especially noteworthy. It’s part of their series about a jungle explorer who’s in search of lost treasure.

Is Microgaming in Trouble?

Let me be clear, Microgaming isn’t going to fold up anytime soon. The Isle of Man company employs over 200 people and boasts more games than any other developer (600+).

They’re also one of the few providers that doesn’t drag jackpot payouts over the course of years. They deliver lumpsums, which is impressive considering the number of multimillion-dollar jackpots they’ve awarded.

But something is off about Microgaming these days. Their latest slot machines just seem to blend in with the many other games that are released on a monthly basis.

Typing on Laptop Computer, Online Slot Reels

This isn’t the 2000s or early 2010s any longer, when Microgaming produced hit movie-based slots and drove innovation. Instead, their slot machines just seem good rather than great.

Microgaming is still among the top game developers. However, they’ve been caught by NetEnt and aren’t as buzzworthy as Big Time Gaming (BTG), Blueprint Gaming, and Elk Studios.

They’re no longer grabbing headlines with their slots and features. Instead, Microgaming seems to be enjoying success based on its past accomplishments.

Microgaming Should Be Celebrated No Matter What

Again, younger slots gamblers aren’t as familiar with Microgaming as they may be with BTG, Blueprint, Elk, or NetEnt. The simple reason why is because these other developers are hot in terms of the hit games and features they’ve recently launched.

To be fair, NetEnt has been on top of the game for a long time. Unlike Microgaming, though, they’ve innovated enough to stay relevant among all age demographics.

Nevertheless, Microgaming should still be celebrated by the online gambling world. They’ve been the first to do several things, including the following:

  • Open an online casino
  • Offer a 243 Ways game
  • Develop blockbuster-movie internet slots
Without Microgaming blazing a trail, the hottest studios of today might not be where they’re at. Online gaming as a whole wouldn’t be as advanced either.

Microgaming deserves the success that it enjoys today. They may not be releasing the most buzzworthy games every month. However, their jackpot slots and older games still draw crowds every day. That said, they should enjoy plenty of success in the coming years.

Conclusion

With 25+ years of history, Microgaming is the most successful online game developer of all time. They started internet gaming and still remain a force in the industry.

However, they’re not as well known among up-and-coming gamblers. The big reason why is that their newer games are simply not as popular nor newsworthy as other prominent developers.

I listed several of their latest slots earlier. Of those, only Jungle Jim and Lost Sphinx stand out due to it being part of a series. This is a company that’s largely stuck in the 2000s. Most of their greatest hits and major progressive slots were released in this era.

Mega Moolah, which was launched in 2006, still remains a cash cow. It commonly offers multimillion-dollar jackpots and holds the record for the largest payout.

But Microgaming has failed to move with the curve. Their latest slots just don’t shake up the industry like some of their earlier efforts.

This developer is in no financial danger that I know of. Microgaming still licenses their slots out to countless casinos and generates huge jackpots through Mega Moolah, King Cashalot, and Major Millions.

However, their primary fan base is aged 30 and above. They should still retain these fans for years, but they’re not going to wow younger players until they start producing some better features.

Will this happen? Who knows? Even if it doesn’t, then Microgaming can enjoy the fruits of its previous successes, which are greatly deserved.