The iGaming industry has been taken over by online slots providing players with endless options to choose from.
If there’s one thing the slot category has no lack of, it’s the themes, but few slots have the power to lure in players the way branded slots do.
Branded slots are a theme on their own providing you the opportunity to play a slot based on a famous Movie, Music or TV Series.
For software developers, branded slots come with a hefty price tag in the form of licensing fees.
Many software developers make use of additional resources to be able to provide players with branded slot games.
What are branded slots?
When you enter any online casino, you will see a wide range of differently themed slots but there will be some slots that you’ll immediately recognize. These are slots that are modelled after famous people, movies, bands and brands.
Branded slots are something you can resonate with as you’ve had some experience with it. Famous branded slots include Jimi Hendrix, Street Fighter, Guns ‘n Roses, Black Mamba and Lara Croft to name just a few. These slots immediately catch your eye due to the name, the familiar graphics, sounds and sometimes even clips used in the gameplay.
Branded slots based on TV Series or Movies, generally provide short clips from the films/series. And music, musician or band branded slots allow you to enjoy gameplay accompanied by the bands’ soundtrack. This is all made possible thanks to licensing agreements and collaborations by the gaming company and entertainment franchises.
NetEnt, for example, has created many successful branded slots such as Plante of the Apes, Guns ‘n Roses and Jumanji thanks to partnerships with big names such as Colombia Pictures Industries Inc.™, 20th Century Fox™ and Universal™.
The first-ever branded slot was produced by Microgaming in October 2004. It was the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider slot. NetEnt’s first branded slot was Frankenstein which was released in June 2011. These leading software developers paved the way and since then branded slots have started popping up from various software developers.
Big Time Gaming released Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in 2018 and while Playtech was famous for their branded Marvel progressives back in the day these no longer exist.
The restrictions on branded slots
One of the disadvantages of branded slots is that they come with image rights and licensing fees which software providers have to pay to the owners of the brands. For instance, any DC Comics imagery used will require a % of the profit to be paid to Warner Bros. This, in turn, will have an impact on the slot’s Return to Player (RTP) percentage.
In essence, branded slots often have a lower RTP to make up for the huge fees slot providers have to pay for licensing rights.
Microgaming used to own rights to Lord of the Rings but the slot was eventually discontinued due to the expensive fees they had to pay. In most cases, the licensing fees are covered by player gameplay due to the popularity of the chosen game. The key is to choose branded slots that have a theme popular among many players.
Branded slots are made by many of the top software providers including Microgaming, NetEnt, IGT, Playtech, Big Time Gaming, WMS and Play ‘n GО to name just a few. While these software developers are extremely popular, they are restricted in some countries.
Software developers like online casinos have certain licensing agreements. According to their licensing agreements, they are only allowed to offer their games within certain countries and regions. For this very reason, you will find that some games especially branded games are unavailable in some regions. Apart from the software developer licensing there are licensing agreements with the entertainment franchise. These agreements often also have limitations in place as to where the content can be advertised and showcased.
Branded content is exclusive and often limited to certain regions. Thus, due to limitations on software licenses as well as licensing agreements with entertainment franchises you won’t be able to access all branded games in all regions.
Before attempting to play a branded online slot check to see if it’s available in your region by visiting a licensed online casino promoting games from the respected software provider.