What is Megaways, and Why is it Everywhere Now?

In any and every industry, creativity is key. It’s why Haaretz Daily offers tips on being creative in logo design, greeting cards, and keeping the family busy throughout the summer. To stand out as a product, something that showcases creativity and thinking outside of the norm can go a long way towards catching the eye of customers. Being as competitive as it is, it’s certainly not uncommon for iGaming brands to test a bunch of creative ideas.

Some stick, some fade, but the one that’s proven its longevity already is Megaways. Created by Australian slot developers Big Time Gaming back in 2016, it offers a much more varied and randomized playing style that, as it turns out, can be applied to almost all other popular slot games. Megaways has spread like wildfire, but how did it come about, and why is it so prevalent?

An ever-evolving and competitive industry


Due to the sheer volume of both platforms and game providers, every business in the iGaming industry has to keep on its toes, catch trends, and seek to innovate to rise to the top. One of the biggest moves after moving the casino to the internet was becoming mobile-compatible. Some were rapid to adapt, making sites and apps compatible with the devices, and then adding in touch-screen controls after the reveal of the iPhone and its other great features.

From there, casino gaming built out into a whole host of themes, higher graphical fidelity, different playing mechanics and formats, and especially live gaming. Live casino gaming has been revolutionary, using live streaming tech to beam games being hosted in a studio to the players in real time. Innovations like this have greatly helped the industry to grow at a rapid pace, and now, the forecast reported by Globe Newswire pegs the global online gambling market and betting market size as being worth over $145 billion by 2030.

Narrowing down to just the casino gaming arm of iGaming, slots are king. They’re the most popular, and as a result, are the most impactful on the bottom line of online casino businesses. As they’re relatively quick to develop, this is where you’ll also see savvy creators catching hot trends, jumping on popular licences, and running with proven new mechanics. This is how Megaways quickly caught on, with a big part of its success being owed to the willingness of Big Time Gaming to licence out its masterful mechanic.

How Megaways changed the game


Megaways is predominantly a payline mechanic; although it’s a lot more than just adding more ways to win. Fruit machines or one-armed bandits in arcades would usually have up to five paylines that ran across three reels and three rows. Online, the standard for video slots quickly became ten variables, and then 20 on five reels and three rows. Soon after, the 243-ways games came to the fore, offering even more ways to win on the standardised layout.

This would prove to be the foundation for Megaways, but 243 ways was the maximum that could run across the standard format. So, Megaways changed the reels. Rather than each spin always landing five columns of three symbols, another reel was added, and the size of the symbols across a whole reel varied. As a result, a reel could land up to seven symbols, while the next one hits three, and another could land four. With the maximum number of potential paylines always in play, the symbol variance makes for a different outcome on every spin.

First, Megaways was tested in the slot game Bonanza. Released in 2016, the same year that Elon Musk co-founded Neuralink, Big Time Gaming went in a completely different route to make this slot. It had the new mechanic of varied symbol sizes on six reels, but it also included four symbols atop the main slot. These, too, could be combined for wins. On any spin, Megaways in Bonanza and beyond can deliver up to 117.649 paylines. On top of this, cascading reels – where winning symbols pay and burst to make way for more – and multiplier stackers based on cascades were brought into play.

As noted, BTG decided to license out its game-changing mechanic, giving a new lease on life to some truly classic slots. One such slot is Rainbow Riches Megaways. One of the most storied slot series in iGaming, it has been renewed with the infusion of this up-to 117,649-ways mechanic. Like Bonanza, it also has a horizontal reel above the middlemost reels, boasts cascading wins, but also keeps the popular free spins mode known from the original game. Rainbow Riches Megaways is just one of many, too.

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One of the more recent slots draws from the popular 1994 sci-fi flick Stargate, which Reel Good says is available to stream on Cinemax, Roku, and Prime Video. Naturally, because of this, Stargate Megaways is one of the more popular ones. Alongside it are NFT Megaways, Dwarven Gems Megaways, Wolf Blaze Megaways, 9 Pots of Gold Megaways, The Wish Master Megaways, and countless others.

Megaways has become popular because it offers the opportunity to chain wins, vary paylines on each spin, multiply wins, and because the creators have happily licensed it out to other developers to enhance other slots.