Are there real differences between the top software providers?

Ever wondered what the actual difference between one online casinos software provider and another really is? In years gone by there were considerable differences between the various competitors and these usually came down to whether they offered both a flash and download version of their casinos, and how big the download packages were.

These days, thanks to technological advancements and increasing internet connectivity none of these issues are a concern. So what is? And is there any difference where you play? In this article we’ll examine the answers to this interesting question.

However, it is important to note that when it comes to online and mobile casinos there are software providers and then there are software providers. The top providers include names like Microgaming, Playtech and Net Entertainment (NetEnt) and for the purpose of this article, they will be the only properties we discuss as they are widely accepted as the only reputable providers within the industry at present.

For the most part, there is very little difference between these software giants, and the only ones you’ll find are in the following areas:

Game Selection & Features

One of the main differences you’ll find between software providers is the selection of casino games that they offer. While all of the above offer the traditional slots and tables games you’d expect they have very different titles. Some groups have licenses from various Entertainment franchises to use their titles in their slots, for example Microgaming has licenses for Batman: The Dark Knight, Jurassic Park & World, Terminator, and Bridesmaids, NetEnt holds licenses from Guns N’ Roses, Hendrix Entertainment (for their Jimi Hendrix) slot and also other major titles like Monopoly. Playtech was always home to Marvel slots, although after Disney acquired this brand, no online gaming licenses were renewed, still the software giant has a variety of titles like Ace Ventura and Top Gun to name a few.

The game appearances and features also differ according to the software provider and you’ll often find certain features are trademarked to ensure that they cannot be copied by the competition. For example, Microgaming has Cinematic Spins in games like Batman: The Dark Knight which features clips from the movie as you play, while NetEnt has “Falling Reels” which can be seen in their Gonzo’s Quest Slot.

The Auto Play functions in games also differ between the providers in terms of how much you can control in the game and how these functions then play the game on your behalf.

When it comes to slots, NetEnt has broken out with the best offerings of late, and is followed by Microgaming and Playtech respectively. In terms of table games there is not that much difference between the three.

Variance & Payout Rates

Variance and payout rates also differ between the providers, for example, the same game variant of say Classic Blackjack can have very different returns at the different providers. At Microgaming the theoretical RTP is 99.89% on their Gold version, Net Ent’s Classic Touch Blackjack has a 99.55% return and Playtech’s Standard Blackjack game has a 99.51% payout.

When it comes to slots variances depend on the machine you choose to play and using the overall payout percentage is not really a true reflection of what the individual player can expect when playing here.

Jackpot Payouts

When it comes to progressive jackpots, both Microgaming and NetEnt pay their winners in a single lump sum. Playtech on the other hand pays their jackpots in instalments over a number of months or years (depending on the size of the payout), although there are a few exceptions, like if the Playtech casino is also a UK facing sportsbook they will pay a lump sum. Still it’s something to bear in mind.

Other than these few subtle differences, there is not much difference between the safety, security and quality of the top provider’s offerings. All offer online and mobile versions of their casinos and a high quality game play experience.