But before getting into all that, we would be remiss not to mention this week’s big change at the top. On March 25th, the NetEnt board announced appointment of Therese Hillman to replace Per Erickson. Insiders were not totally shocked, because rumblings and grumblings had been in the air. But the female presence at the company’s helm promises interesting developments down the road.
Before jumping into next quarter, let’s review what the fun-loving Swedes set loose in the quarter past.
January saw the debut of Universal Monsters: The Phantom’s Curse. It’s a 5 reels, 4 rows, and 40 both ways paylines – is inspired by the classic tale of Phantom of the Opera with a rich musical theme. Another product of NetEnt’s lucrative licensing deal with Universal Studios, this cinematic pokie pops with cool features: bonus wilds, free spins, sticky wild respins, and a pick-and-click second screen bonus.
NetEnt held back its big release till the last week of February. Asgardian Stones is a mythical quest pokie, artistically awesome. Inspired by Norse mythology, this 5-reel. 3-row, 20-line slot is jam-packed with the latest game mechanics. Players battle boulders to enter an enchanted world. There mere mortals can rub shoulders with a pantheon of Gods. The pokie is the first in the industry to have a Colossal Crush feature: gigantic symbols pulverise all beneath to release free spins and win multipliers.
In March, NetEnt heated things up with Hotline. This deceptively simple pokie has one powerful new concept: players pick a row, and when a wild lands on the chosen “hotline” it expands to cover the full reel. There it becomes sticky in respins, including entire free spin sequences. There is also a bonus bet feature further expanding the winning possibilities. In effect, the Swedes created a “multivariance” pokie. Players decide their preferred balance between risk and reward.
OK, so what’s coming down the road this quarter?
NetEnt, for sure, is a tease. The Swedes keep their new products close to their chest. They release just enough tidbits of information to tempt us to piece together the shape and timing of things to come.
Archangels Salvation is a new pokie release slotted for release on April 24th. The promotional poster shows an angel vs. devil contrast. A scantily-clad damsel is threatened by an unpleasant fellow with horns. While details of this supernatural slot are not nailed down, we expect a titanic clash of good and evil. Check out the NetEnt Official YouTube channel for a trailer teaser before launch.
Also on the boards at NetEnt are mobile upgrades to HTML5 technology. Reel Steal, King of Slots, and Arabian Nights will soon be able to run instantly in the browsers of every device under the sun.
Another mystery blip now appears on the NetEnt May lineup. Originally the month was scheduled to see only HTML5 upgrades of the company’s roulette offerings. Roulette is maybe one of the most interesting table games around, so making this classic more mobile friendly is great for punters fascinated by the betting strategies that accompany this game. Be sure to check out our detailed roulette guide before you play.
However, now we catch whiff of a “Lost Relics” pokie. Rumors swirling about suggest that the theme is an archaeological quest in the spirit of Tomb Raider. But we have learned not to impute too much information from a game title.
Rounding out Quarter Two is a bumper crop of June releases to keep us occupied before the tsunami of World Cup 2018 sweeps away all in its path. For Harry Potter-loving punters, there is the general release on June 11th of Witchcraft Academy, formerly a six-month exclusive at Leo Vegas. This slot was a big hit there, especially for its lucrative bonus rounds.
Lovers of Indian-style romance will thrill to the general release of Bollywood Story just 3 days later, on June 14. Previously locked down at the ComeOn casino for an exclusive two-year run, this ethnic romantic extravaganza will soon be open to all.
But the big Second Quarter send-off is the new Jumanji slot. A full two decades after the original film, and its more recent movie sequel, the pokie version of this African animal-filled adventure is poised to stampede into the consciousness of punters like a raging herd of wild elephants on the first day of Summer, June 21st. Will the likenesses of Jack Black, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Kevin Hart grace the reels? No one knows at this stage, but this pokie is widely expected to be a blockbuster in casinos.
Now with a lady at its helm, NetEnt is likely poised for more big changes. With a new broom sweeping in, we can expect more twists and turns from this innovative casino software leader. We wish Ms. Hillman only the best. Keep keeping us surprised.