An Overview of NetEnt
Designing games for online casinos is a major industry today, with dozens of companies based all over the globe earning a tidy income from creating new ways to keep us entertained. In many comparable industries, the question as to who is number one is a matter of great argument, with several different competitors all claiming to be the biggest and the best.
NetEnt do not, as a rule, make a habit of blowing their own trumpet. Their website and PR department do not make grandiose claims. But then again, there is no need. Surely everyone who is involved in online gaming, from the regular player to the most powerful rival CEO, must acknowledge that when it comes to designing online games, especially slots, NetEnt are the undisputed champions of the world?
There is barely a casino online today that does not feature a selection of NetEnt games on their roster. Certainly all the major sites will carry their games: most featuring them as part of their headline promotion, and as a large proportion of their “featured games” sections. Surely there cannot be a regular player who does not count a NetEnt title as one of their favoured games.
So, the question is, who are NetEnt? And why have they become the widely acknowledged worldwide leaders in their craft?
The History Behind the Firm
It is easy to assume that such a major company is likely to be American, or maybe British in origin. Easy, but wrong. It is true that the company has grown so large that it is now listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, but this is NASDAQ in Stockholm, not New York. In fact, the company was founded in Sweden, and its worldwide headquarters remain at home in Stockholm, the country’s capital city.
Founded in 1996, the company has grown into an international phenomenon, with outposts based all around the globe. It has development offices and game design studios throughout Europe and the United States. These include bases in Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, Gibraltar, Malta and New Jersey in the US.
Major milestones along the way saw the company launch its first online casino in 2002. Its launch on the NASDAQ stock exchange saw a major influx of investment funds which enabled it to really grow into the major industry player it is today.
2011 saw the release of the company’s first mobile compatible game, putting it at the forefront of the new trend. Today, the majority of gaming is played on handheld devices like smartphones and tablets and NetEnt games are designed with the smaller screen in mind and optimised for on the go play.
In 2013, the company was at the vanguard of a further industry revolution when it opened its first live streaming casino. Live gaming is now considered an essential element for most online casinos.
Today, NetEnt have over a thousand employees, have designed over two hundred superb games, and provide games for close to two hundred of the world’s leading online casino operators. The company have always been at the forefront when it comes to innovation, so who knows what revolutionary development is coming next?
An overview of their Financial Performance
NetEnt continues to grow at an impressive rate. In the financial year ending 2017 (the latest full year for which figures are available at the time of writing), company revenues stood at over 1.6 billion Swedish krona (SEK), equivalent to around £140 million. This represented a growth rate of just under 12% on the previous year. Resulting profits after tax were a little under 600 million SEK (around £50 million). Early indications suggest that the subsequent year will see a similar rate of progress.
At the time of writing, NetEnt shares were valued on the Stockholm NASDAQ at around 50 SEK, equivalent to around £4.25 per share.
NetEnt competes in a fast growing industry. The global online casino market was estimated to worth around £10 billion in 2017, with Europe accounting for almost two thirds of global revenues. The United Kingdom casino gaming market is the largest in Europe.
The global growth in this market is running at around 9%, so NetEnt compares well with industry trends. Worldwide market growth is being driven by increasing mobile play. By 2017, mobile gaming constitutes around 37% of total online gaming globally (higher in the UK, where portable devices already account for more than half of gaming revenues). Growth in mobile gaming around the world is forecast to continue to grow, surpassing fixed terminal play by 2020.
NetEnt’s share of the total online gaming market in Europe is around 28%. In the rest of the world, the proportion is lower, at around 17%. The company’s major competitors include other big name games design companies like Microgaming and Playtech. Many of nthe company’s competitors produce a broader range of products, whilst NetEnt is more focused on slots and other casino offerings such as table games. In Live Gaming, Evolution Gaming provide the stiffest competition to NetEnt’s own live streamed studios.
Market growth is strongly influenced by variations in government regulation across the world. The story here is mixed: many territories are seeing some loosening of regulatory restrictions. In the United Kingdom, little has changed in recent years and regulation is light by world standards. However, the general mood seems to be moving toward tighter regulation in the longer term.
Some of the Games They’ve Developed
There are now over two hundred different games in the NetEnt portfolio, the majority of which are slots. The company is renowned as a leading innovator in the industry, with market leading graphics and exceptionally impressive special features. It is responsible for so many of the leading games played today that most players will have one or several NetEnt games among their favourites. Popular titles include the almost ever-present Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst. Joker Pro, Neon Staxx, and Spinata Grande are just a few more that are included on just about every self-respecting casino’s roster of games.
Graphics are particularly stunning on beautifully designed titles like Butterfly Staxx, Glow and Lights, while other games demostrate the company’s talent for creating particularly unusual or imaginative themes. Fisticuffs, for example, features a quirky vintage boxing theme, while Steamtower takes players through a strange Victorian themed industrial landscape with numerous innovative features.
Officially licenced music themes are also a speciality, with leading artists like Jimi Hendrix, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Motorhead all providing original music for their branded games.
All the main casino table games are also covered, including Baccarat, Blackjack, Poker and Roulette. Their live streamed games are also of a very high standard and well-regarded by players everywhere.
Further games are being produced all the time, with more innovations being introduced seemingly with every game. Aside from its stunning Cluster 20178 also saw the release of its first 100 winning line game, Archangels: Salvation.
NetEnt games are always fully licenced for the United Kingdom market. Actual licencing arrangements can vary depending on the specific casino, but the company licences its games via various authorities, including the UK Channel Island of Alderney, the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar, and the UK Commonwealth country of Malta.
All these territories are covered by the UK Gambling Commission, so NetEnt games can be considered safe to play for players based within the United Kingdom.