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Microgaming and Cryptologic Branded Slots
News Date: February 16, 2009

Land based casino slot machines have higher house edges than the other games like blackjack and roulette. Therefore casino operators have always been trying to attract players to slot machines. In order to do this slot machine manufacturers used the reach of existing brands in the slots that they developed. These brands ranged from television shows to movies to even board games. Online gaming has taken to branded slots only recently. Online slots were becoming very similar in nature and it was difficult to identify which slot was the product of which developer. Therefore leading online software developers entered into arrangements for branded slots so that their products would stand apart.

Microgaming became the originator of online branded slots with the release of Tomb Raider in 2004. Tomb Raider at that time was an extremely popular video game that had been developed by Eidos Interactive. The value of the brand had been enhanced by the Paramount Pictures movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. Microgaming released the Tomb Raider online slot game through an agreement with Eidos Interactive. Tomb Raider is one of the most popular online slots today and is featured so prominently by all Microgaming online casinos that everyone knows it is a Microgaming product. Subsequently two other branded online slots have been released by Microgaming based on Eidos Interactive video games. In 2008 a sequel to Tomb Raider was released, which was titled Secret of the Sword. Earlier in 2007 the branded slot Hitman was released. Hitman is a ruthless and much in demand assassin.

In 2007 Microgaming released another branded slot game, the Osbournes. For this Microgaming entered into a licensing agreement with the Osbourne family. The Osbournes brand had already been made very popular through the television series of the same name. Like the television series the slot game features the entire Osbourne family that includes Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly, Jack and their dog.

Cryptologic has really cashed in with the branded slots genre. Its agreement with Marvel Comics in 2005 paved the way for the development of online slot games with Marvel Comics superheroes as central characters. More than 15 such games have already been released and, since the agreement extends to 2010, many more such games are expected. The superheroes that feature in these games include Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Spider Man and Elektra. Spider Man is the most popular of these and, as in the case of Tomb Raider, a sequel was released last year. The sequel is called Spider Man Revelations. A unique feature about the Marvel branded slots is that they share a progressive jackpot. This means that no matter which Marvel slot is being played the jackpot amount for all games increases.

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