Relax Gaming, the new-breed content provider and distribution platform, has gone live with Big Time Gaming’s hotly anticipated video slot launch, The Final Countdown.

Relax Gaming’s customers will enjoy an extended period of exclusive access to the out-of-this-world, dual feature choice video slot thanks to the speed with which the provider is able to seamlessly integrate new products onto its platform.

Featuring the astronauts Vegas and Venus, The Final Countdown contains two engaging bonus modes, The Countdown and Heading for Venus, which ignite the reels and give players the opportunity to unlock the biggest wins.

“Relax Gaming has delivered on its promise of speed to market, proving its commitment to its partners and the power of its technology. It’s been an impressive start to our new partnership and has earned them almost of month of exclusivity on our latest game release. They’re a pleasure to work with and we’re thrilled to see The Final Countdown out with customers so quickly.”

Nik Robinson, Big Time Gaming CEO

“We are delighted to launch The Final Countdown to our clients in partnership with Big Time Gaming – it is an explosive video slot with unique features that are sure to a prove big hit with players in regulated markets all over the world. Relax Gaming’s speed and commitment to open, ongoing dialogue are key factors in our commercial approach, and it is testament to the success of our philosophy that we are able to offer our partners a period of exclusive access to this title.”

Simon Hammon, Relax Gaming CPO

Relax Gaming is one of only three platform partners selected to distribute Big Time Gaming content, on the back of its commitment to transparency and compliance.

It is a next-generation supplier, offering fresh content and hundreds of games, alongside having signed more than 50 new commercial deals in the past few months.

Slots developer Blueprint Gaming has unveiled the latest addition to its fast-expanding games portfolio with its new Medieval-themed slot, Valletta MegawaysTM.

In this highly volatile 6×5 slot, players are sent back in time and find themselves in the midst of a castle siege, with the reels filled with arrows, cannons and swords.

Three or more cannon symbols activates the explosive free spins round, where every win triggers a streak and winning symbols are locked in place.

On any winning spin, the Arrow Storm feature is randomly triggered, subjecting the reels to a volley of arrows, which fixes random symbols in place and provides players with a greater chance of winning.

The game also features an operator-selectable Valletta Bonus Bet feature, which guarantees direct access into the free spins round.

The explosive slotbecomes the latest Blueprint release tofeature the MegawaysTM mechanic, under licence from Big Time Gaming, which provides players with up to 15,625 ways to win.

“Players will have to battle through the reels to win big in Valletta MegawaysTM, which promises to be one of our most action-packed slots to date. With its immersive and fiery bonus features, we’re looking forward to our latest release going live across our fast-growing network of operators.”

Jo Purvis, Director of Marketing and Relationships at Blueprint Gaming

Casino game and software provider Red Tiger has revealed its first slot in collaboration with Big Time Gaming, Mystery Reels Megaways™.

The 6×7 title combines Red Tiger’s hit slot Mystery Reels with the revolutionary Megaways™ mechanics to offer winnings of up to 10,000x a player’s stake.

The slot is the first Red Tiger release to feature the popular mechanic, under licence from Big Time Gaming, which varies the ways to win with every spin.

In thefree spins rounds, players can choose to collect eight free spins, or gamble for up to 40. A safeguard ensures that even if the gamble is lost, a minimum of four free spins is awarded.

“Mystery Reels MegaWays™ is a fun and immersive addition to our ever-expanding portfolio. With its old-school feel but cutting-edge mechanics and innovative features, such as the mystery symbol and the possibility to risk some free spins for further reward, we are sure it will appeal to players across the spectrum.”

Gavin Hamilton, CEO at Red Tiger

Mystery Reels MegaWays™ is the latest video slot from Red Tiger’s studio and joins a high-quality and consistently growing portfolio, currently standing at over 90 titles.

Over the past 12 weeks NetEnt have released a number of premium quality video slots into the market: Aloha, Bob the Epic Viking (ED – yes, ‘Bob the Epic Viking’, you read right), Fantasini, Guns N’ Roses, and Drive. The Swedish slots titan are, on average, launching at least 1 video slot every 3 weeks. Every slot looks great, every slot has a unique feature set and thus slot maths model, every slot is is very polished, and some even have exception brand licensing attached. So why is it, when I read a new PR about a Net Entertainment slot, I am nothing but apathetic?

NetEnt do, and have produced some fantastic slots over the years. You don’t grow a business to a market cap over ÂŁ1bn, employing over 700 people, with a portfolio of over 200 games across 100 global customers, without doing a lot of things right. But I think NetEnt’s success may also be the start of its main weakness.

Net Entertainment is a big multinational corporate machine and I feel that crystalises itself in the content that it churns out. Net Ent’s slot games feel so polished and manufactured that you can imagine they have invested in robots to build their slot games… Robots who have to produce a number of games to an annual schedule based on a fixed set of rules and criteria. That is, I believe NetEnt’s games lack soul.

Some of my favourite casino game developers at the moment are the likes of: Quickspin, Yggdrasil, Big Time Gaming, Thunderkick…even smaller newer developers like Foxium or Lost World Games really float my boat. Whilst writing this I was trying to put my finger on what it is about these titles that I like. In some cases the slot maths might not be the best, the presentation and UI might not be up to standard,..hell even the graphics might look obscurely abstract. But what I notice from all games that come from these developers is that they have soul, they have a certain charm and they were clearly made with passion and love. This is of course a problem with big business that I reference in relation to Zynga, in that the objectives change from producing innovative, considered content, to just having to get something out for the sake of it or because the release schedule states that they should.

If NetEnt produce a game that doesn’t do the numbers in the market then I suspect the game producer has a slightly tougher annual review, the marketing team send a few angry emails, and the corporate relations team have to plan for a more arduous general meeting with the shareholders… If it even makes a dent in the share price. The casino won’t remove the slot, hell the casino might not even playtest the next game from NetEnt, and just release the slot due to the power of the NetEnt brand.

Fire Watch ScreenshotFor a smaller/medium sized developer, like those referenced above, if a slot release is not commercially successful, then it has a real impact on the business, the job security of those that work there and the strength of the brand. So each and every game has to ensure that it encapsulates the passion of the people building it. If you happen to follow the video game sector then you may be aware of the FireWatch Refund Incident. I won’t go into detail but essentially a player was speculating whether to request a refund on a title for being too short. One of the developers posted a conscientious and honest reply. Within that reply they talk about the trails and tribulations of making games and I’ve extracted some of the key elements from the developer’s reply – although it’s worth reading the full transcript:

“…We all could have had much better paying jobs elsewhere, but we all thought this game idea had potential to be something special. We seemed to like each other ok, so we all took a big leap of faith…Two years +. We are all crammed in a tiny office, sharing one bathroom. It is not a glamorous thing, making an independent game. It is just a small room full of computers and a used microwave and $10 office chairs we luckily got from craigslist… We were excited, but terrified. We felt free, but were constrained. I have been in this industry for 15 years almost, and this is the hardest I have ever worked. We all gave it our all, to make this weird thing, and we had no idea if it was any good to anybody else. All we could do, was try the damn hardest to make something we are honestly proud of…”

The Campo Santo dev team clearly put everything into building the Fire Watch game, and when/if you play the game, you’ll see that the game definitely has soul. This also helps prove the point I’m trying to make that slot games are still games like any other. They still require a dedicated team, they require investment and once released you have no control over how the market will respond. The difference however is how you as a developer respond to the market critique.

Batman V Superman - Sad Affleck

Criticism hurts some people, and it should.

If you care about critique, if it hurts you as a developer, you know you are on to a good thing and you know that you are developing the games in the right frame of mind. Nothing is guaranteed as a success but if you are pouring your heart and soul into each and every attempt, sooner or later that will be recognised and that breakthrough moment will come.

If you are building slot games purely because your shareholders expect you to, or there is a marketing angle that needs plugging, or because you have a licence sitting by, or any other reason that is commercially driven, then the content you are producing will never truly resound with the audience. Your games will lack that certain ‘something’ that adds the icing on the cake. That can take the form of the charm of the slot characterisation or slot narrative, or whether it’s a theme that you can tell is much loved by the developer such that is deeply explored in the game presentation. It can also be a game feature that is so avant-garde that it can only have come from the brain of a slot designer who is either crazy, or fully engaged with their trait and fully understands their industry. Whatever it may be charm or soul is what I feel sets some games apart from others, and this is something that never jumps out at me when I play any new NetEnt game.

Maybe this will never become a problem for NetEnt, maybe that boulder of success will never stop rolling down the hill; Maybe it’s just a problem for the creative sector when you move from small indie studio, to large multinational. All I know is that when I started writing this post it came on the back of being excited about the release of Yggdrasil’s ‘Seasons’ game and Quickspin’s ‘Genie’s Touch’…not any of the past 4 NetEnt games. For me, that is an issue that the Swedish slot giant needs to fix.

Dragon Born, the world’s first MEGAWAYS™ slot is live on Leo Vegas.

Rolling into 2016, Big Time Gaming will break new ground with the most ways to win in slot machine history! To date both online and land-based slots have only released games with 4096 ways to win. Big Time’s new patented MEGAWAYS™ system allows up to 117,649 ways to win!

Dragon Born – the first game from their state of the art OMNI HTML5 platform – is arguably the biggest slot innovation in decades and sure to be a legend in the industry! Each of the six reels are dynamic, which means there’s a different number of symbols on each reel for every spin. Game play varies with every play, creating a different array of symbols in each individual reel. The symbols are multiplied across the reels to create the MEGAWAYS™ to win, and any adjacent symbols from left to right multiply for massive win potential.

Nick Robinson, CEO at Big Time Gaming said “Dragon Born really takes flight when the bonus round locks the game play into seven symbols per reel, making way for massive winning ways not seen in before in video slot history. Dragon Born has a sweet spot volatility, with wide variance across the pay table, bringing a truly unique and cutting-edge gaming experience to all players.”

Dragon Born is a release of mythical proportions and will be available first to NYX OGS operators from today, with Microgaming and Openbet partners from 2nd of April. The game has been signed up by a growing number of major European and US operators. Dragon Born is also the first real money game to truly offer a seamless desktop experience across any tablet and mobile device.

David Johnson, Commercial Director at NYX Gaming Group said “We are delighted Big Time have chosen NYX as their debut platform partner for Dragon Born. Operator interest has been very exciting and we’re proud to have innovators like Big Time as key providers to our 170+ operator partners worldwide.”