Who Exactly Are Barcrest? A Deep Dive into Their History
Barcrest is a small United Kingdom based gaming software company. It designs games for both online casinos and cabinet slots for use in real world casinos. It employs a total of little more than a dozen people, most of whom live in the north-west of the United Kingdom.
It is a company with considerable heritage, considering the relative youthfulness of most of its industry competitors. Founded in Manchester in 1968, it has more than fifty years of history to its name. It emerged to prominence in the 1970s, when it became a big name in the design traditional fruit machines and the kind of gaming consoles regularly found in the amusement arcades and seaside piers of the era.
The advent of the internet and online gaming was clearly an additional opportunity for the company. Barcrest was already designing game software for real world venues, so converting them for online use was an obvious and relatively simple step. Their talented team of designers were soon put to work creating new games too.
These new online slots were an immediate success, with online casino operators keen to sign a licencing deal with these innovative designers. Early online casino sites often featured Barcrest games to broaden the range on offer whilst keeping quality standards high.
This talent for designing new and entertaining games did not go unnoticed however. The first larger competitor to cast an envious eye over their talent was the worldwide gaming giant International Game Technology (IGT), which snapped them up for over £40 million in 1998. IGT also operated both online and in manufacturing real world machines, so the smaller UK based company was a welcome addition to their ranks. Although a global operator, the American conglomerate was targeting further expansion in the European market, so Barcrest was an ideal acquisition.
Barcrest continued to operate as a separate division under the IGT umbrella, continuing its track record of developing new games for both the online and off line markets. It was also able to use the financial muscle of its new overlords to develop and expand its spread both geographically and in the number of online casinos which carried its titles. Its cabinets could now reach more international markets beyond its European base, while its innovative slots could now be played by gamers all over the world.
So successful was Barcrest that its new-found industry renown resulted in an even bigger gaming giant swooping in. So it was that in 2011, IGT decided to cash in its investment, with the Las Vegas based Scientific Games group making a successful bid for the company. The deal was finalised the following year, amounting to around $60 million.
Whilst the history of its ownership may have been somewhat more turbulent, the company remains the tight knit, compact organisation it has always been. It is still turning out great games for both the real world and online markets. Here we will focus on its impressive array of online slots.
Barcrest Slots & Casino Games
Barcrest may well not be the biggest name in the business, and their record indicates that they are by no means the most prolific of software designers, but they have nevertheless built up a pretty impressive portfolio of games. They have approaching a hundred slots in the locker, and some of them are amongst the most popular games around.
One of their best known creations is surely Rainbow Riches. This Irish Luck themed game features a jolly Leprechaun as its lead character, but it contains many of the other familiar tropes of the genre. There’s the titular Rainbow of course, but there’s lots of green, Gold Coins, Pots of Gold and even a Wishing Well to try to bring you even more luck.
The game is beginning to show its age, with its cream white reels and plentiful playing card symbols, but it remains a player favourite and is surely on the way to being acclaimed a popular classic. The original game has also been supplemented by several spin offs, such as Rainbow Riches: Reels of Gold, Leapin’ Leprechauns, Pick ‘n’ Mix and more, turning it into a lucrative franchise for Barcrest and its owners.
Most of the major genres are covered, but the company is especially strong in the more quirky type of games. This is one of the main reasons it remains popular with online casino operators: it provides a welcome breath of variety to their casinos’ selection of slots. Their players will certainly be able to find something different to play if they are looking for something other than their regular choices. Examples here include titles like Barkin’ Mad, Dr Jekyll Goes Wild, Money Mad Martians and Ooh Aah Dracula.
They certainly have produced an eclectic range of games, with their selection of Monopoly themed games bringing the traditional board game to life. Their officially licenced Beetlejuice slot also does a great job of reminding its players of what a great movie it was.
Overall, the company’s legacy of games does tend to lean toward the more classic end of the spectrum. Other, better known software designers are perhaps more adept at producing the more cutting edge, contemporary style games. Barcrest however, seem more interested in the more traditional, classic designs. This is no doubt a result of their background in the amusement arcade industry, and its continued focus on real world cabinet production.
Since the Scientific Games take-over almost a decade ago, the focus of the company seems to be more targeted on its original strengths. Nevertheless, great online slots continue to be designed by the company, which remains close to its original roots near Manchester, in the north-west of the UK.
Barcrest games can be readily found on many United Kingdom regulated online casinos, and are available as an option on all Dragonfish casino sites.