What’s next for Big Time Gaming following Evolution’s acquisition?
If you’ve been following the news in the last few months you’ll have read that the hugely popular iGaming development studio Big Time Gaming fell into the hands of industry giants Evolution in a well-deserved acquisition for an eye-watering sum of money.
The Australian studio now finds itself in very good company, sitting alongside two of the biggest names in online slots today, NetEnt and Red Tiger Gaming, both of whom were also acquired by Evolution in the last year.
In this article, we look at how Big Time Gaming grew its fanbase exponentially over the years thanks to the truly special Megaways game mechanic, and how this took them from zero to hero, eventually leading to where they find themselves today.
The biggest question we want to answer though is: what’s next for Big Time Gaming following their landmark acquisition?
How Megaways propelled Big Time Gaming into the mainstream
After being founded by Nik Robinson and Huw McIntosh back in 2011, the Sydney-based studio hired former Rockstar employee Ian Schmidt as Creative Director, the final piece of the puzzle.
Within a year the company had signed a distribution agreement with Microgaming’s Quickfire platform which would see their new releases land on slot sites across the internet.
Unfortunately for them, their first handful of online slots proved to be fairly unspectacular with only one or two really capturing the hearts of players. But despite this early stutter, unrivalled success was only a couple of years away.
This success arrived upon the release of Bonanza Megaways, Big Time Gaming’s second Megaways slot, which utilised their patented Reel Modifier Technology that changes the number of rows that appear on each game reel after every spin.
The release of Bonanza Megaways immediately shot Big Time Gaming’s stock sky-high, putting the studio at the forefront of everyone’s minds, players and studios alike. The game’s charming design and enjoyable gameplay cemented it as a must-play title, and the Megaways mechanic was heralded as the future of iGaming.
In the months and years that followed Bonanza Megaways and other popular Megaways titles from BTG including Extra Chilli and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, top studios began lining up to procure a licence to utilise ‘Reel Modifier Technology’ themselves in order to create their very own Megaways slots.
With huge players such as NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, Blueprint Gaming, and Red Tiger Gaming flashing the cash in order to gain access to the mechanic, this gave the studio more resources to plough into new games, and in the last couple of years they’ve released some truly memorable slots such as Monopoly Megaways, Danger High Voltage and Wild Flower.
Evolution makes big money Big Time acquisition
In April 2021 it was announced that Evolution had entered into an agreement to acquire Big Time Gaming for a total of €450 million (£389.0m/$534.5m). Several months later in July the deal went through, changing the course of the company dramatically.
Discussing the landmark acquisition on the day it went through, Evolution Chairman Jens von Bahr said: “With the addition of Big Time Gaming to our portfolio of slot brands we strengthen our strategic position as the leading provider of digital casino games in the world.
“Big Time’s focus on innovation and creating unique playing experiences is a great fit with our culture and mindset at Evolution. We look forward to continuing our journey together.”
What does the future hold for Big Time Gaming?
Since the acquisition officially went through we’ve heard very little, if anything, from either party about future plans for Big Time Gaming other than what Vob Bahr had already discussed… However, this radio silence doesn’t come as too much of a surprise if we’re being honest.
When Evolution acquired NetEnt (and Red Tiger Gaming) for €1.8 billion euros in December 2020 very little, if anything, was discussed publicly about the direction of NetEnt going forward. In the end, from what we can gather a year later, the business model is quite simply business as usual, with no major changes being implemented whatsoever.
We wouldn’t be overly surprised if Big Time Gaming continued to operate as normal, which seems like it may well be the case considering one of the first things that has happened since the acquisition was a much-needed facelift for the studio’s website, which does a significantly better job at showcasing their portfolio of games.
The one notable move that did occur this year was Evolution licensing NetEnt’s most popular export, Gonzalo Pizarro, from the slot Gonzo’s Quest. Gonzo appeared in his very own Live Casino title (which happens to be Evolution’s speciality), Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt Live.
While Big Time Gaming doesn’t have any major in-game characters that Evolution can call upon to boost their live casino portfolio, they do have the Megaways mechanic, which could well be incorporated into future games in some way, shape or form in the not-so-distant future.
Ultimately the answer to the main question posed in this is quite boring, and that is that we’re not sure what’s next for Big Time Gaming, but believe it or not, this is a good thing.
Big Time Gaming (just like NetEnt and Red Tiger Gaming) have been onto a good thing for the last few years, they’re currently riding the crest of a wave and they’re well in control. Evolution knows this, and we know this… So why should anyone change anything?
As long as Big Time Gaming keeps the good games coming, we’ll keep playing them!
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