As we analyze the final summer months leading up to the third quarter of this year, eGaming Monitor’s Kevin Dale takes a look at how Starbust was finally unseated, the rise of low/medium volatility slots and why Megaways and Egyptian themes are now on the Advance is waste.
Unique games are certainly the big theme in the third quarter, as we’ve now seen a whopping 11% increase in the number of unique games on operators’ websites for the second quarter in a row.
We saw 25 new studios enter the market, but existing studios also increased their production. For existing studios, this is likely due to increasing competition, which inevitably leads them to try to keep up with new entrants. Of course, we also observe that operators tend not to take their older titles out of circulation.
Game starts quarterly
So what does this mean in numbers? Overall, we now record an average of over 1,000 new games coming onto the market every month. This means 3,000 are added to our database per quarter from 365 studios.
Production rates per studio also increased, with “producing studios” creating an average of 2.7 games per month, up from 2.3 per month in the previous quarter.
Extrapolating over the first nine months of this year, we’ve seen 515 studios launch games. We have now found games from 705 different studios on the operator’s website. Of course, this larger number also reflects studios that are no longer active in game production, but still shows that their old titles are still on the market.
If we then look at all active studios, we can say that the average studio releases around 3 games every two months (or 1.5 per month). If we then compare that with the smaller number of 370 for producing studios, we come back to our value of 2.8 games per month.
If we look at the biggest players – Pragmatic Play, Evolution Gaming and Playtech – we can get an idea of the scale we are dealing with. Pragmatic Play now averages at least one game per day.
However, if we were to exclude live casinos, Evolution would be left off the list. This would then make Games Global, Pragmatic Play and the Gauselmann Group the top 3 producers.
Looking at the data, we can also see that MGA and EGT have moved into the list of top producers, displacing Novomatic and Light and Wonder.
Slots are declining on all operator sites
While slots make up the majority of content on the 3,000 operator sites we monitor, we are currently seeing a continued decline in the percentage found on the sites.
In total, they now make up 85.5% of all gaming content on casino sites, down 1% from last quarter and almost 3% from last year.
Live games are the biggest risers, and Crash games are proving to be the ones to watch as their share content has doubled since the start of the year.
An additional six Crash games were launched in the third quarter, with Games Global’s Fly X coming in third place after Aviator and Spaceman. Be sure to take a look at our May dashboard at igamingbusiness.com.
All hail Pragmatic Play
After almost a decade as king, NetEnt’s Starbust has finally lost its crown at the top. Surprisingly, the legendary game has been replaced by five games above it – all from Pragmatic Play. In our table below, we look at all sub-pages of all operator sites in the three-month period – and also take into account all live game content.
Pragmatic Play now accounts for more than half of all our top 20 games. Gates of Olympus, Sweet Bonanza and Big Bass Bonanza were the three biggest winners last quarter.
Even more striking is Pragmatic Play’s dominance in the top 20 list of new games. The only other studios to make the new charts this quarter were Play’n Go, Gameburger Studios and Hacksaw Gaming.
In addition to Pragmatic Play, the various Games Global and Evolution Gaming studios, Hacksaw Gaming and Play’n Go are likely to be the main contenders for the iGB Game of the Year award, which will be announced at the iGB Affiliate Awards next February.
Low/medium volatility games on the rise
The ratio between medium and high volatility games remained fairly stable last quarter, while the only real increase was in new low/medium volatility games – a 6.6% increase compared to last quarter.
Interestingly, although the overall picture is similar, there is a slight difference between the volatility of the games produced and the volatility of the games distributed. This data also varies significantly depending on the country.
Megaways and Egyptian themes on the decline
Last but not least, Megaways’ share of all content fell significantly compared to the last quarter, by 4.2% overall. While there are more games with licensed third-party brands than in the previous quarter (623 vs. 594), they haven’t managed to keep up with the speed of release of all games.
Overall, the share of branded games in all content fell from 2.1% to 1.8% compared to the previous quarter. In terms of performance, MGA is one of the top three providers of branded content alongside Light & Wonder and Gauselmann.
The top topics in the third quarter are Action & Adventure and Money, which also grew in popularity. Other growing themes include “Far East,” “Cute in Latin,” while “Tales and Legends,” “Egyptian,” and “Jewels” are declining. Also somewhat predictably, winter-themed games declined in the final summer months.
About eGaming Monitor
eGaming monitor (gamingmonitor.com) is a gaming industry consulting firm with proprietary data on 25,000 games from 1,000 providers on 1,000 operator sites. Their interactive charts support decisions related to sales targeting, account management, and game design. The company was founded by Kevin Dale and Joel Keeble.
Kevin was previously CEO of Gameaccount (now GAN plc) and CMO at Eurobet, Sportingbet and Betfair. Joel was the founder of industry data specialist H2 Mobile and a former director of H2 Gambling Capital.