Over the last couple of years, we are witnessing a peculiar situation where small game development studios are managing to seize a sizable share of the market and get a remarkable standing among the players. In a gambling industry, where some of the largest stakeholders have been building their positions for decades, it is interesting to see how these comparably small companies succeed in disrupting the market and leaving their mark.
Fresh Ideas & Enthusiasm
No matter what industry we look at, it is often the case that some of the smartest and most innovative changes come from fairly "small" players. In the gambling industry specifically, giants like NetEnt, Play'n GO, and Microgaming don't have to do much to keep their positions; releasing a couple of new titles every months or so is enough to keep their strong partnerships and maintain the brand.
Smaller studios, on the other hand, can only hope to make it if they really put their minds and souls into their projects. With companies like Big Time Gaming and Push Gaming, arguably the leaders in this disruptive category, no one would pay attention to their releases unless they truly offer something brand new and unique.
The trend of slots with a huge number of megaways and a massive winning potential that BTG really pushed through was one such idea. It caught on with the players and, almost over night, slots like Bonanza and White Rabbit became the talk of gambling forums and different media outlets.
Is It a Sprint or a Marathon?
For a few months, some of these studios certainly looked like a serious force to be reckoned with, seriously challenging market leaders. However, after the initial impetus had worn out, players started to get tired of "old" games. This is where things started to turn south to some degree.
To keep the huge snowball rolling, smaller studios would have to keep coming up with more new ideas and breathtaking releases, which just isn't possible. Recycling old games and trying to give them a new feel works to some extent but it can never have the same effect that was achieved by, for example, Bonanza when it had first appeared.
This is where big companies get away light in a sense. Their brand power enables them to release new games that aren't particularly different or innovative, but everyone is still excited about them. It may not seem fair, but online gambling is a business like any other. Powerful brands have hold over people.
So, in a conclusion, smaller studios may have their day in the spotlight and join the race but truly disrupting the market and shaking positions of well-established giants is very unlikely. In the end, it is really a marathon, not a sprint, and large developers have more stamina to stay in the race that never really ends.