Are programming languages anything but foreign to you?
Whether you’re looking for a career change or a first step on the ladder out of school, and you consider yourself a technically-minded individual, you might be interested in becoming an iGaming developer. The iGaming industry has evolved a great deal in the last decade, with online casinos offering engaging and immersive gaming experiences akin to visiting a land-based casino floor. Statista believes the size of the global iGaming marketplace will be worth almost $93 billion by 2023, with casino gaming adopted as mainstream in all four corners of the globe across desktop and mobile. Working in iGaming could soon become one of the leading niches in the digital space.
If you consider yourself as something of a gamer, you will be enthused by the challenge of turning the concepts of iGaming designers into intuitive, popular slot and table game experiences that can grow revenue for your employer.
At its core, iGaming development requires developers to take design concepts for prospective online slots, including drawings and wireframes, and program this into an entertaining end product. You’ll put together clean, efficient code and interact with applicable program interfaces (APIs) to bring together all the necessary visual and audio components of a new slot game.
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be an iGaming developer.
The overall responsibilities of online gaming developers
There are often multiple iterations that go into designing and building a brand-new online slot game. As the developer, you will be tasked with putting together an initial prototype for testing, before making any coding adjustments to the finished product. Slot developers are required to be proficient in the use of tools like InVision, Unity and Framer to bring a slot concept to life for on-screen prototypes. The coding of online slots and table games at an online casino is usually powered by the likes of HTML5, as well as open-source programming languages like Node JS, Angular and Vert.x.
At every stage of the coding process, developers must revisit and test their code quality to ensure all code is optimised to create a slick and efficient slot gaming experience. Developers must also work collaboratively with the animation and video production departments involved. They must ensure that two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation and audio works seamlessly in tandem during all aspects and features of a slot.
Another key role slot developers have in the creation of new titles is close collaboration with game engineers. They must work together to ensure that the game flows and operates in line with strict random number generators (RNGs) that determine the results of every spin of the reels. These help to maintain a fair, random game, in line the slot’s return to player (RTP) percentage and its predetermined variance and volatility. RNGs are vital for the integrity of an online casino operator. 888casino is a leading online casino in the US and has achieved such status by agreeing to have their RNGs independently tested for fair, transparent gaming. By adhering to these guidelines, operators like 888casino abide by compliance rules of iGaming jurisdictions, giving users the confidence to deposit their own money and play.
There are typically two routes into the world of work as an iGaming developer. First and foremost, you may choose to work for a dedicated iGaming software development studio. There are plenty of iGaming software development studio located across the globe, with prominent hubs in Malta, the UK and North America. Development studios design new slot games and license them out to multiple online casino operators. Some of these development studios are sub-contracted by specific casinos to build them an exclusive slot game.
The other avenue into iGaming development is to work for a dedicated game publisher. Publishers like Playtech and NetEnt have their very own in-house slot developers that supply slot and table gaming content for both online and land-based casino industries. Game publishers invest in their own development departments to stay ahead of the curve, using intelligent, math-focused game design to deliver the perfect gaming experiences that users are searching for.
Likely qualifications and training required
Caption: Are you prepared to put in the hard yards at college?
It’s not an easy route into development for online slots and casino games. First and foremost, you’ll require an undergraduate degree from college or university. Most prospective studios or iGaming publishers will require you to have studied software engineering or computer science. That’s because this kind of broad-based course will have given you a solid base from which to develop and hone your skills.
You could choose to specialise in your undergraduate or postgraduate course if you have your heart set on iGaming software development. Some universities and colleges will specialise in gaming development or technology, or even game design and programming. It might be possible to find a broad-based software engineering course that has a hefty module on gaming development or design. Ideally, the course you choose should be accredited by The Independent Games Developers’ Association (TIGA) which will help your CV and future applications to stand out from the crowd.
If you have already completed an unrelated university course and you still have a passion and desire to enter iGaming development, some studios will also look favourably upon courses involving art, animation or graphic design. That’s because these will also have creativity and flair at their core. Those without any transferable skills or education could also find a route into iGaming development by starting out as a games tester or quality assurance (QA) technician.
When you’re just starting out in a junior role, you can expect to earn up to £25,000 a year. Although middleweight and senior positions with iGaming studios and publishers have been known to pay between £35,000 and £75,000 a year. Most salaries will be influenced by how specialist your role is and the size of the studio or publisher you work for. However, it’s clear to see that iGaming development is a potentially lucrative career path for anyone with the passion, creativity and technical skills to turn concepts into life on-screen.