Over the last year, online casino programmers have been busy developing new software platforms for the online casino industry. If you've been gambling at the same site, you should definitely read on. Some of these new gaming platforms might interest you.
StartCasino.com lists over 93 companies that develop online casino software. Even though more than 800 casinos exist on the internet, they were designed by the one of the 93 companies. This means many of these casinos will have a similar look and feel.
DOWNLOAD - BASED
In the early days of the internet casino age (1998-2000), online casino software was download based. ALL the software had to be pre-installed on your computer in order to play online. You got this one of two ways: (1) download it from the website (known as file transfer protocol - FTP), or (2) you installed the CD-ROM. A major complaint from players that downloading is time consuming and takes up space on the hard drive. Still, many companies continue to develop using this software platform. Benefits are speed of play and security.
Poker.com recently announced the release of their new Poker software, which is downloadable based. James Duchscherer, VP of Marketing said, "In the highly competitive world of on-line gaming, emphasis is placed on gaining the player's loyalty. This can be achieved by providing the 'professional player' a downloadable game which can be stored on their hard drive and provide a more realistic and satisfying gaming experience. While Java satisfies the players desire to be up and playing in the shortest possible time, we selected download based over JAVA because JAVA sacrifices game image quality and playability."
JAVA and FLASH
Flash is a recent platform utilized in online casino software. Flash requires no software downloads. This type of application is also known as streaming, in which both images and audio are played as they are received (sort of like watching television, only a little slower). FLASH requires a PLUG-I. Without the plug-in, you can't play. The Flash plug-in can be downloaded for free at www.Macromedia.com.
JAVA based casino games, unlike FLASH, has no plug-ins and no downloads required to play. A Java compatible web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer is all that's needed. JAVA can also be used for streaming video and audio, as well as running numerous windows within a web browser.
Chartwell Technology Inc. develops games using JAVA. Mike Marrandino told StartCasino.com, "We made an early commitment to Java technology. Game upgrades are available to players the instant they log in. We are also extending this capability to other Internet access devices, such as digital cellular phones, PDA's and WebTV."
Bryan Abboud, the Managing Director of Interactive Gaming & Wagering informed us, "IGW selected Java as the programming language of choice for several reasons. Online gamblers seek immediate gratification. JAVA takes anywhere from 30-90 seconds to load. All browsers support Java which makes it platform-independent and thus more available to the average user. Java is a well-designed, object-oriented, secure language enabling rapid and robust application design and development."
"Over 150 casinos are using our software, which are no-download in HTML, Java and Multi-user formats," said Rohit Chugh, Marketing Manager of Electra Games.com. "Most online gamblers prefer our no-download games because they load fast, have very realistic graphics and 'you-are-there' sound effects, and there is no wait for software to download. "
Some companies employ both downloadable and JAVA. One of the newest software companies to enter the arena, Fairwind Technologies LTD, uses both download based and JAVA. Thomas Kei, the company's President & CEO says, "For [the] casino we are using Client and Server architecture for proofing the highest level of security. For Multi-Players we are using Java for the easiness of gaming and to reduce the burden of the server."
IQ-Ludorum also employs both a download and JAVA based package. However they seem to have cut download times pretty well. "Our casino software takes about 7 minutes for the first game of the download version and a further 3 Ż minutes for each game thereafter, (based on a dial up connection using a 56K modem)," said Richard Brightling, VP of Sales for the company. "For players interested in immediate play we also offer a Java version."
dot com Entertainment Group developed games with mostly JAVA and has one Bingo platform using Flash. "We are also packaging our Java in a download version which will allow operators to offer a download and have their icon placed on the customers desktop," says the company's director of sales Andrew Branscombe.
"Java, with its scalable graphics allows bingo players to view all of their Bingo cards on one screen without the need to scroll across different pages."
SoftNet Gaming uses both Flash and JAVA. Sherri Paisley says, "In developing games however, fundamentals still count: efficient and reusable code, well-defined variables, seamless database interface, etc. Flash and Active-X allow us to utilize the ASP platform in developing games designed to be played against the server in real-time. We use Java on the client side, as it is not platform-dependent and can be viewed on most browsers, thereby allowing access to the entire market."
GamblingSoftware.com also designs both Flash and JAVA games. Mark Waters, Director of Business Development said, "Our Engineers have developed a series of new Flash casino games to complement our full suite of Java Casino and Poker games. Java and Flash are the platforms of choice because they give our Partners the maximum market reach potential. By not requiring lengthy downloads or file installations, Java and Flash have proven to be the best delivery methods for reaching the most online players."
For the gambler, selecting a JAVA, FLASH or a DOWNLOADABLE based casino game is an issue of comfort, convenience and most of all - FUN. Maybe you should try each of them out and decide for yourself which is best.
Marc Lesnick runs StartCasino.com, an Internet Casino Business information site for the Entrepreneur.