Mar 8, 2023

The Rise and Rise of Megaways Games

Anyone who has followed the history of the online casino sector will be well aware that slot games have evolved over the years. What were once slot machines became video slots, and technology has allowed the latter to evolve in multiple different ways, including live slots played with online hosts.

Players will, of course, have particular preferences for genres, with many enjoying “Book” slots like Book of Dead or Book of Oz, and others opting for grid games like NetEnt’s Legend of Shangri-La. 

However, when looking at genres as a whole, there is nothing with the scope of Megaways games. Today, you’ll find online casinos with dedicated sections for those games, featuring all Megaways games from a variety of developers. We know casinos will always promote their most popular titles so that in itself is a testament to how popular Megaways games have become. In fact, if your casino does not host these games, you should really be asking questions about it, as it suggests the operator does not have its finger on the pulse of casino gaming trends. 

Why are Megaways games so popular?

But why have these games become so popular? It’s an intriguing question, and it is more than just saying, “because players like playing them”. There is something about Megaways games that caught the zeitgeist of online casino entertainment. In addition, as we shall explain, the games also have a structural advantage in terms of marketing and exposure. 

If you aren’t familiar with Megaways, the games use a shifting reel set. The idea is that the number of “ways” – paylines/win-lines in traditional casino parlance – change with each spin. Whereas you might be used to slots with 10, 20, or even 100 paylines, Megaways games can have over 100,000 active ways (paylines) on each spin. Because you can win on every line, the payouts can be explosive, albeit we should warn that the games are usually volatile. 

The concept of Megaways was first developed by Big Time Gaming, which launched Dragon Born Megaways in 2016. It was moderately successful, but its second release, Bonanza Megaways, was a global smash hit, soon becoming one of the most popular online slots. The success of Bonanza promoted a shift in thinking from Big Time Gaming, which was a popular – yet niche – Australian software developer. 

Big Time Gaming provides the licensing 

Big Time Gaming did something previously unheard of in the iGaming industry – it licensed the Megaways format to rival developers. As we reached the 2020s, big brands like NetEnt, Red Tiger, Inspired Gaming, Blueprint, and Iron Dog all released Megaways games, using the licensing from Big Time Gaming. This was the structural advantage we spoke of earlier: Megaways games have lots of exposure because so many big-name developers offer the games. 

As for the most popular Megaways games, it’s really up to the player. There are many branded games, such as Rick and Morty Megaways (Blueprint), which is based on the popular cartoon series, and there are more classic versions of the slots. One thing that we have noticed is that many developers are rebooting their most popular games in Megaways form. For example, you can find Gonzo’s Quest Megaways, which is based on NetEnt’s hugely popular Gonzo’s Quest. 

Perhaps the pertinent question is whether the games will reach a point of saturation. At last count, there are now over 400 official Megaways games from major developers, and there are new titles arriving seemingly each week. But online casinos can house 1000s of games, so it’s not as if players will be stuck for choice. Megaways games are here to stay. 

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