Microgaming Bingo Sites – The History & Development
The online gaming industry has seen phenomenal growth since it first emerged little over two decades ago. In the dying days of the 20th Century, online gaming barely existed, but today it is a multi-billion global industry. It continues to make progress but, in the business jargon, there are signs that it is becoming a more mature market. The rate of growth is slowing, and innovation is harder to find.
But if there is one company which is determined to keep the good times going, it is Microgaming. It is without doubt one of the top two, if not the biggest name in gaming software. The company is surely top of the list for any casino operator looking for software providers to provide games for their sites. Their games are amongst the most popular with players. They are responsible for dozens of today’s biggest hit games, together with dozens more classics from earlier times. It would be a brave or foolhardy operator who decided to launch a new casino without having Microgaming on board.
The company was founded in 1994 on the UK protected territory of the Isle of Man, a small island situated in the middle of the Irish Sea between the north west of England and Northern Ireland. It has remained close to these roots ever since, with its modern headquarters located in the island’s capital, Douglas.
The company boasts of producing the world’s first ever online casino software, although this is a claim which several different people and organisations make, and cannot be positively verified. It also claims to have developed the very first mobile casino software as long ago as 2004, although it took almost a further decade for mobile gaming to really begin to take off as a worldwide phenomenon. What is certainly true to say is that Microgaming have been a part of the online casino industry right from the very beginning and they continue to be market leaders in gaming software to this day.
Today, the company is responsible for the employment of more than five hundred people, the majority of whom live and work on the Isle of Man or within the United Kingdom. The company also operates a number of smaller development and satellite offices on the Mediterranean island of Malta, and the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar.
Since Microgaming have been with us throughout the history of the online gaming industry, it follows that there are games for every sector, and from every era over this time. It is best known for its slots, but there is far more to Microgaming than just five reel spins.
Bingo was at the heart of early online gaming and needless to say, Microgaming was at the forefront of the explosion. The company provided the software and operated its own sites under its independent network of titles. The company tends to stick to the tried and tested traditional forms of the game, with a variety of 90 and 75 ball formats on offer. It also provided a large proportion of the slots which were also available on these early bingo sites, as an additional gaming option for bingo players.
As online casinos took off early in the 21st Century, the company also provided a full suite of traditional table games alongside its excellent slots. Today, it also provides some superb live gaming options, with table games live streamed from the company’s own studios based in Toronto, Canada.
But there is no doubt that it is its slots that have earned the company its industry renown. It remains without doubt one of the leading providers of superb online slots – a position it has occupied since the dawn of the industry. Evidence of its early success can still be found on many online casino sites to this day. Its formative slot titles remain early classics – favoured by players looking for nostalgic spins which remind their first online games. OK, they may seem simple and clunky compared to today’s ultra-smooth and lifelike graphics, but there is no doubting their charm.
It’s a bit like the joy of playing those mechanical one-armed bandits at a seaside amusement arcade. They are nowhere near as sophisticated as a modern casino slot machine, but there is something about the old style fruit machine which gives an additional atmospheric thrill. Early classics include titles like Break da Bank, Cool Buck and Retro Reels.
The next stage of the Microgaming slot story came early in the 21st Century with classic games like Agent Jane Bond, Crazy Chameleon and Thunderstruck, which remain nostalgic favourites to this day. It is becoming harder to find them in their original formats, as many have been updated in recent times. Some of these updates have been necessary: the need to convert games for mobile play requires a new version which is compatible with the new technology. Other updates can be less welcome: a bit like where a trendy DJ updates a classic 70s disco hit with 21st Century beats and synthesiser squiggles – it’s OK for modern tastes, but the original is always the best.
As software technology improved, so did Microgaming’s designs. The company’s officially licenced movie titles really helped to move slots on to a whole new era. The Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Jurassic Park series have all been massive successes, but again, it was the original releases which were truly ground breaking. By far the biggest of these releases was Terminator 2, a re-imagining of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic Terminator II: Judgement Day blockbuster.
Jungle Jim: El Dorado saw a further uptick in technological progress, while in more recent years Microgaming’s superb Game of Thrones slot became a worldwide success. It captured the zeitgeist of both the TV series itself, and rode the wave of the cultural phenomenon which the series created.
With several hundred slots in the company’s portfolio, every conceivable conventional genre is comprehensively covered. Microgaming is particularly strong in creating more quirky, humorous games. Titles like Bar Bar Black Sheep and Win Sum Dim Sum are uniquely fun to play. I have a particular liking for the cricket themed The Umpire Strikes Back, but this maybe a bit too niche for some tastes.
Microgaming is also famed for its progressive jackpot slots. None more so than its iconic Mega Mullah, which now comes in a variety of additional incarnations, as well as the original classic. This game broke records early on, paying out over $6 million as long ago as 2009, which broke the world record at the time. The record was beaten again half a decade later, when over £13 million was paid out to a lucky United Kingdom based player. These massive pay outs are not just a thing of the past. As recently as May 2020, close to €8 million was paid out to a fortunate European winner on the new Mega Moolah: Atlantean Treasures game.