A look at the biggest gaming software developers

By William Davis

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Apr 1, 2024

Reading time: 5 min

The gaming industry has evolved significantly since the first games were developed, moving from basic concepts to complex, immersive environments that engage players around the world. The foundation of any game is its software, which combines programming, art, and storytelling. This combination turns simple lines of code into interactive digital worlds where every detail, from physics to character emotions, is carefully crafted. Developing a game involves a mix of technical skills and creative vision, aiming to make each game offer something new, whether it’s through detailed simulations or engaging narratives.

There are many different gaming developers in the market. These range from industry titans that have been there since the beginning, to more recent startups who have entered the competitive environment and made their mark. They also span a wide selection of games, from online casinos to multiplayer RPG titles. Below we look at the biggest software developers in the gaming industry.

IGT 

International Game Technology (IGT) stands as a towering figure in the gaming world, with its influence stretching from the buzzing floors of land-based casinos to the dynamic realm of online and social gaming. Established in the 1970s, IGT has been at the forefront of gaming innovation, pioneering developments in video poker machines and creating some of the industry’s most iconic slot games like “Cleopatra” and “Wheel of Fortune.” 

The best online casinos are known to have multiple IGT games in their portfolio due to their reputation for making quality casino games, and their expertise in blending cutting-edge technology with an acute understanding of player preferences plays a huge part in this.

IGT’s commitment to ethical practices and responsible gaming further elevates its stature in the industry, setting standards for fairness and player security. The company’s strategic acquisitions, including WagerWorks and Double Down Interactive, have broadened its product range and audience, reinforcing its market position. 

Through relentless investment in research and development, IGT continues to push the boundaries of gaming technology, ensuring it remains a key player in shaping the future of global gaming experiences. 

Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games is undeniably one of the all-time largest and most successful gaming software developers, focusing on creating gargantuan games with a blend of realism, satire, and often a healthy sprinkling of culturally relevant humor. The studio is notable for taking several years to complete each edition of series like Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, ensuring that players have extremely deep and comprehensive worlds to explore. 

These games have become genuine cultural phenomena, with Rockstar Games’ dedication to world-building and meticulous attention to detail cementing its position as arguably the most innovative studio on the block. With a new installment of Grand Theft Auto reportedly around the corner (sort of), the gaming software company is only going to get more popular. 

Ubisoft

Ubisoft is a fan-favorite video game developer, particularly among players who value engaging storytelling, lore, and historical inspiration. This is best seen in the extremely complex and rich Assassin’s Creed series, in which players are sent back in time via sophisticated genome sequencing to fight against the Knights Templar. First released in 2007, the game was also instrumental in changing the way third person fighting and adventure games were controlled. 

Although Assassin’s Creed has become so popular that it could power Ubisoft to the higher echelons of the video gaming industry by itself, the European studio has many other standout titles. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series is another jewel, forcing first-person shooter fans to think far more tactically than when playing most other equivalent games. 

Rainbow Six Siege has become a particularly popular online option, and Ubisoft have demonstrated their appetite for innovation through their recently announced collaboration with GRID on the R6DP,  which is a data platform aimed at pro teams competing in the BLAST R6 season.

Microgaming

Microgaming stands as a colossus in the iGaming industry, not only due to its pioneering role in launching the world’s first genuine online casino in 1994 but also because of its continued innovation and contribution to the field. Microgaming’s portfolio is vast and diverse, featuring hundreds of games that set the standard for quality and playability in the industry. 

From slots with complex narratives and immersive gameplay to record-breaking progressive jackpot networks like “Mega Moolah,” which has paid out over €1 billion to date, Microgaming has mastered the art of engaging and rewarding players. The company’s commitment to innovation extends beyond game development to include the establishment of eCOGRA (e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), a leading independent and internationally approved testing agency which ensures fair gaming practices and player protection. 

This combination of pioneering history, commitment to quality and fairness makes Microgaming a well-respected player in the gaming industry.

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts – often stylized simply as EA – is by far one of the largest gaming software developers, especially for sports-inspired titles. The FIFA soccer series, recently rebranded as EA FC due to disagreements with EA and FIFA, is arguably the most popular part of the studio’s catalog, although it’s far from the only pivotal game to come from the gaming heavyweight. Some other key sports-inspired titles include Madden NFL and NASCAR. 

But reducing EA to simply being a sports game specialist would be highly inaccurate. The software developer is also recognizable for releases like The Sims, breathing consistent new life into one of the most fun and dynamic real-life simulators ever made. Elsewhere, Electronic Arts also found global acclaim with the expansive Dragon Age series.

Activision Blizzard 

Activision Blizzard is a bona fide gaming institution responsible for some of the most popular games of all time. From World of Warcraft to the legendary Call of Duty first-person shooter series, the international video gaming conglomerate has pushed the industry forwards at every opportunity. Its recent acquisition by Microsoft will most likely take things up a notch, with the several studios making up the complete Activision Blizzard portfolio having extra resources for new technology such as AI. 

This gaming titan is best known for its impact on the online multiplayer space, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare being a particularly important milestone. This was one of the first online multiplayer games to truly take off, utilizing the recently expanded broadband possibilities in the late 2000s and early 2010s to devastating effect. More recent Call of Duty editions have become particularly popular for esports competitions like the $25K Ranked Race tournament.

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