When playing Slots online, you may notice some recurring themes. This is no coincidence; casino operators know which themes resonate with their target players and choose accordingly.
In this article, we explore the themes found in the top 100 Slots games in the UK. Also, we discuss the reasons behind why the top theme is so popular across online casinos.
Working from a list of the 100 most popular Slots games in the UK right now, we were able to identify a number of themes which appeared more than most. This is represented in the graph below:
As you can see from our data, there are clearly some themes that are more popular than others. The most commonly used theme is mythology, with 19 out of 100 games built on this premise.
There is no shortage of Slots games depicting the mythological beliefs or historical cultures such as ancient Rome or ancient Greece. Generally, European mythologies were more commonly seen than those of other cultures.
There are many possible reasons as to why mythology is a common theme in Slots games. One of the main reasons this theme is so popular with developers is because these are ideas which are firmly in the public domain.
Mythological gods such as Zeus and Poseidon are depicted using tried and tested designs. These gods have been depicted for thousands of years - there is certainly no one entity who has intellectual property rights on these mythical figures. Like any business, casino operators are interested in making money; and by using mythological figures in their games, they avoid needing to pay any licensing fees.
Compare this to making a game that has Iron Man or Spiderman in it. You would probably have to pay a heavy licensing fee to Disney and you would also have to work closely with them to make sure you produce something the company finds acceptable. On the other hand, you could just make a game based around Greek myths and encounter no such issues.
Mythology and Slots also have something in common: they both rely heavily on symbolism. Any kind of mythos generally has a pantheon of gods to choose from, each with their own symbols.
A lot of these symbols are well known to the general public. For example, if you use a lightning bolt to depict Zeus in your game, the majority of people are going to instantly make the connection in their minds.
Making good symbols and logos for a Slots game can be an expensive and time-consuming process. If you choose a mythology theme for your Slots game, you have access to some of the most popular and well-known symbols in history, free from any copyright obligations.
Mythology deals with religion that is no longer widely practised or believed in. This means you can depict these mythological figures without running the risk of offending anyone. Christianity certainly has some great symbolism you could use in a Slots game, but it would be nearly impossible to get it accepted by the general public. With mythology, on the other hand, no one is going to be offended.
By far, the most popular mythology in Slots games is Greek mythology. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, our records of Greek mythology are fairly complete. We have a wide range of historical sources that paint a full picture of these mythological beliefs, and many actually originate in ancient Greece.
We don’t have anywhere near as clear of a picture when it comes to the mythology of other historical cultures. For example, many of our sources for Norse mythology were actually written by Christians who saw it as a heretical religion. That said, there are games based around Vikings and other Norse themes.
Another reason mythology is such a popular theme is because it has had a huge influence on western culture. To this day, many of the most popular intellectual properties draw from mythology. Their themes have been popular for thousands of years, so it’s only natural that casino operators want to capitalise on this popularity.
Animals are another popular theme you can find in Slots games. In fact, this particular style has become a lot more popular in the last few years. Just like with mythology, using animal symbols is a great way to connect with a wider audience. Unless you’re using something obscure, everyone can recognise animals.
And similar to how mythology works, you can’t copyright animals. As long as you don’t rip off another company’s design (for example, a mouse that looks like Disney’s Mickey Mouse), you can pretty much use animals however you want.
However, the new UK Gambling Commission regulations introduced in 2018 does limit this a little - any animal which could be deemed 'child-friendly' is not allowed in the UK market. Which is why you might not see the Royal Panda mascot so much any more.
Here's how the various Slots games developers came out in the top 100. Remember you can find out more about these trailblazing companies in our dedicated section on casino software providers.
Next, we will take a look at some of the most popular themes from specific developers. Generally speaking, Slots developers will favour a handful of specific themes. For example, Microgaming is well known for their movie and TV Slots games.
NetEnt certainly offers a wide variety of Slots games. As expected, the mythology genre is well represented. For example, there is a Slots game that is based around Norse mythology called Asgardian Stones.
They also have a lot of Slots games based around certain bands, particularly hard rock bands. NetEnt has a game based around Guns 'n' Roses and they also have a Slots game based on Motörhead. Both of these can be found on our free Slots page.
Since they’re such a well-regarded developer, it’s not a surprise they have so many games in the top 100 Slots. With 24 games out of 100, NetEnt are responsible for developing almost a quarter of the most highly rated Slots games in the UK.
Microgaming is another name that’s well-known in the online Slots scene. They’re a company known for its licenses, with numerous Slots games based on pop culture, particularly TV and movies. They have Slots games based on classic movies such as Terminator 2 as well as some based on more contemporary movies, such as Jurassic World. They haven't quite done as well as NetEnt though, with only 7 Slots games ranking in the top 100.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the developing business, this Malta-based company has managed to get 4 games into our top 100 list. Pragmatic Play is a developer that heavily utilises mythology in their games. Ancient Egyptian mythology is depicted in Egyptian Fortunes, and Norse mythology is depicted in Asgard.
They also have plenty of games utilising other popular themes. For example, they have many animal-based games, such as Great Rhino.
This Swedish developer has managed to get 6 games into the top 100. Play’n Go also has a selection of games based on various mythologies. For instance, they have Rise of Olympus and Legacy of Egypt.
They also have some games based on historical themes; they have Battle Royal based on Henry VIII.
Big Time Gaming has 5 games in the top 100. They’ve produced a lot of fantasy-based games such as Dragon Born. They also have some games that are based on mythology, such as Book of the Gods. Other games are based on fairy tales, such as White Rabbit.
So what sort of Slots themes are going to be popular in the next few years? Looking at our data, it seems like the popularity of mythology is still going strong.
We’re also seeing a lot of games with an animal theme this year; perhaps within the next year or so, we will start to see the mythology-based games fall off in favour of more animal-based games? Only time will tell.