When it comes to online slots and casino games, a number of big names really dominate. NetEnt, Microgaming and Playtech are perhaps the biggest names in the business, and even if you look for ‘second tier’ software providers you’ll find the market dominated by Yggdrasil Gaming, Red Tiger and Play’n GO.
If you look a little deeper you should find a number of smaller, independent studios that still managed to churn out decent online slots and casino games without the fanfare of their bigger brothers, and Gamesys are an excellent example of this. Read on to find out all about this talented independent casino software design studio.
Gamesys in Brief:
- Founded: 2001
- Based: London.
- Number of Games: 100+
- Most popular games: Zuma Slots, Bejeweled 2, Tiki Totems.
Who are Gamesys?
Gamesys are a little different to other casino brands as they both create their own software and managed online slots, casino and bingo sites. The company began life in 2001, created by software developers Andrew Dixon, Noel Hayden and Robin Tombs. By 2006 the company had come on in leaps and bounds and became one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK.
The company made most of its money by running successful casino brands, and even generated enough cash to purchase the Virgin Games casino site in January 2013. By far and away Gamesys’ most successful site was Jackpotjoy, the leading bingo brand. In 2015 Gamesys sold Jackpotjoy to Canadian company The Intertain Group for £425 million.
In late summer of 2019 the company JPJ Group (which was the new name for The Intertain Group) came back and purchased Gamesys. As part of the deal they chose to rename themselves ‘The Gamesys Group’, meaning that Jackpotjoy is once again run by the Gamesys company.
What Makes Gamesys Unique?
As we have previously mentioned, Gamesys are both a software developer and online site management and maintenance company. Very few companies have been successful in both these spheres, and many that attempt to be both sides of the same coin have failed at one and decided to concentrate upon the other. Gamesys are perhaps the prime example of being successful with slots provision and with slots sites, post an operating income of over £35 million in 2019.
There is no doubt you have heard of many of the brands operated by Gamesys. We have already mentioned Jackpotjoy a few times, plus Virgin Games which is a site that remains in operation despite now having no connection with Richard Branson, the most well-known name behind the Virgin brand.
Other sites run by Gamesys include Heart Bingo, Starspins, Rainbow Riches Casino (which is something of an oddity as the ‘Rainbow Riches’ series of slots was created by Barcrest – now part of SG Digital – and not Gamesys), The Sun Bingo and the Monopoly Casino.
What Could Gamesys Do Better?
Gamesys seem to be doing fine. In a competitive marketplace, they have managed to keep their head above water and then some for almost two decades. Such is the popularity of the bingo site Jackpotjoy that it’s hard to imagine Gamesys changing the way they go about their business.
A few people might like to see them create a few more games, as their gaming portfolio has been a little lacking in recent months. We haven’t seen any new Gamesys games in 2020, and the company does not seem to have any plans to release anything new, slotting wise at least.
Three of the Best – Gamesys Games
Originally by IGT, this game in the UK was released by Gamesys with additional help from GDS, OpenBet, GTS and Blueprint Gaming.
Zuma was originally a puzzle game in which a stone frog would fire coloured balls at a spiral of the same. Balls of the same colour hitting would disappear, while those that were different would add to the spiral. If the spiral reached the centre then the game was over.
Zuma Slots took many of the elements of the game (and its similar releases) and turned it into an entertaining slot machine with wilds, scatters, free spins and a gamble feature.
You may not have heard of Zuma, but you have probably heard of Bejeweled. This was an incredible popular Flash game that could be played on mobile devices and on Facebook. It was the Candy Crush of its day!
The concept of the game was simple – on a playing grid filled with jewels you switched adjacent gems to create lines of three identical ones which then vanished. The game ended when no more moves were possible, or (if playing in timed mode) your timer ran out.
Just like Zuma Slots, Gamesys worked with a number of other operators to bring a slots version of the first Bejeweled sequel to the online casino world. Although not much different from Zuma Slots, this slots game still became a massive hit.
Tiki Totems was one of the first games that Gamesys developed on their own and was an original game that was not based on some Flash-based puzzler. The game uses the concept of the totem pole but takes it to Hawaii, hence ‘Tiki Totems’.
As opposed to reels players are presented with five totem poles, each containing three tiki heads. In order to win a cash payout, a spin on the reels is required and the landing of three identical heads on a payline is needed.
This game also has the cascading reels feature where winning tiki heads are removed and replaced by new ones from above. Each complete set of tiki heads that is removed is replaced by a wild tiki monkey totem where the monkey substitutes for all other paytable symbols.
A. Yes! A number of sites use Gamesys’s bingo software. Although not as popular as 888’s Dragonfish or Playtech’s Virtue Fusion, there are still a reasonable number of Gamesys bingo sites around on the internet.
A. Casino bonuses and promotions are offered by the online casinos that host Gamesys’ games, and not by the company itself.
A. That would be JackpotJoy, which has developed to be one of the UK’s most popular online bingo sites.
The Bottom Line
Gamesys seem to be fine at what they are doing. Both Jackpotjoy and Virgin Games (and its sister site Virgin Casino) have been runaway successes for them, plus the 2019 creation of the Rainbow Riches casino has been another hit. Their gaming portfolio has really stalled though, put perhaps we will see more from them in that department in the very near future.