Pokies is a game that celebrates diversity, but only a few manufacturers keep the show on the road. When it comes to gambling, few games have captivated our imaginations like pokies. There are countless pokies themes that flicker on the screens of millions of machines around the world.
These games are so popular that they literally fuel the Australian economy. Since these machines generate billions of dollars in revenue, the amount of new games is staggering. Surprisingly, despite all these options, there are only a few major companies that bring this game to life.
After diving deep into the industry, it’s easy to see there’s a certain level of monopoly. For the average punter, only 3 main companies will come to mind. Aristocrat, Ainsworth & IGT have all become household names. These companies have pioneered pokies with their tantalizing machines.
Even though pokies is rapidly expanding online, their presence is still strong in land-based casinos. In these fast-paced times, it’s nothing short of impressive that these companies have been able to adapt.
Apparently, something is special about pokies. For this reason, it’s important to understand the stories behind the companies that paved the way. In this article, we will examine some of the biggest players in the industry. Get ready to get down & dirty with these larger-than-life companies!
Exploring the World’s Top Poker Machine Makers
1. Aristocrat Gaming Technology
When it comes to pokies, Aristocrat reigns supreme. Ever since the 50’s they have pioneered nearly every aspect of the game. To this day they still have the industry in a chokehold with their award-winning machines.
The company was founded in 1953 by none other than the gambling tycoon Len Ainsworth. The timing couldn’t have been better, since New South Whales legalized pokies 3 months later. Aristocrats soon made a name for themselves with their first pokies machine, the Clubman. They followed up this historic debut with the Clubmaster.
These impressive releases helped cement Aristocrat as a leader in the pokies industry. In 1984, they revolutionized the game with the first modern-day pokie machine. From there they continued to dominate the market with a never-ending series of epic releases. Queen of the Nile, 5 Dragons & More Chilli is all part of their arsenal. It will be interesting to see where they take the game next!
Many people may only recognize this titan from the 80s. However, this company has been operating under the radar as a private company since the 1950s. In 1981 International Game Technology went public & claimed their piece of the pokie bonanza. From the start, this company has won over fans by allowing them to play their favourite games across all channels. Gaming machines, lotteries & social gaming are all accessible by IGT. Their cornucopia of premium content has made them the number one game maker in the U.S. Even though they dominate America, they also have substantial influence in Australia.
3. Ainsworth Game Technology
When Len Ainsworth left Aristocrat in 1995, he had big plans. He used his expertise & cunning business prowess to found his own company. Before long this enterprise became an empire. Their multi-level progressive jackpots made games that were unforgettable. Double Shot, Triple Shot & Quad Shot games became their calling card. This visionary company continues to set the standard for pokies machines. It’s one of the top 3 game makers in Australia, & its influence can be seen around the globe.
Konami is far from the biggest pokie machine manufacturer on this list. But they’re definitely one of the most famous due to their success in the arcade and video game industries.
Introduced as a repair and jukebox rental business in 1969, this Japanese company began developing arcade games in the 1970s. It acquired immense success in the 80s with hit games like Frogger, Scramble, and Super Cobra.
It witnessed more success in the console gaming market with NES/Famicom releases like Castlevania, Contra, and Metal Gear. All of which have spawned sequels and been adapted to later consoles.
In 2005, Konami opened an office in suburban Las Vegas, which marked their move into casino gaming. They’ve since opened an office in Australia too because of the heavy interest in gambling there.
Some of the pokie machines that Konami has produced for both online and brick-and-mortar casinos include African Diamond, African Treasure, Ancient Dragon, China Shores, Full Moon Diamond, and Treasure Voyage.
5. WMS Gaming
It is a subsidiary of the Williams Manufacturing Company, launched in 1943, WMS Gaming gained notoriety for producing arcade and pinball games in the 1970s and 80s.
Both industries began declining in the 90s, though, leading WMS Gaming to focus on pokies machines. And the Chicago-based company start making its mark in 1996 by introducing multi-line and multi-coin secondary payouts through Reel ’em In.
These two innovations helped start a pokies industry that had previously relied on simple themes and payout structures.
Some of WMS’ notable pokies machines include Amazon Queen, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Giant’s Gold, Bruce Lee, King of Africa, Reel ’em In, Star Trek: Red Alert, Kronos, Wizard of Oz, and Zeus.