Scientific Game

Platform Diving

Many in the industry talk about convergence … High 5 Games is actually achieving it

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 16:39
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There is extra sparkle this year to the wave High 5 Games is riding into G2E Asia.

Shadow Diamond, which has been winning over players as the first Bally Technologies game on High 5’s highly rated High 5 Casino on Facebook, makes its debut this month as the first land-based release to come out of a partnership struck last year between Bally and the innovative New York-based game developer. A 4x5 reel game, Shadow Diamond features specially animated top glass and High 5’s popular “Super Stacks,” which create the potential for big wins by increasing the frequency at which a full stack of the same symbol will land in a reel.

High 5’s dynamic approach to reel configurations continues to influence the way manufacturers think about slots as games as well as gambles, and it features prominently a new title just released for IGT: Lucky Horse, a 4x6, 466-pay-line offering that comes packed with exciting reel action in the form of “Stacked Wilds, Connected Lines” and “Horizontal Expanding Wilds”.

High 5 has played a significant role in helping IGT deliver on its increasingly successful new-look Asia strategy with games crafted specifically for the region both in their play features and maths and in the way they make visual and narrative use of East Asian folklore and other cultural touchstones.

Three titles in particular have struck a chord with Macau players:

• Big Dragon Lounge, which takes the frisson of Roaring Twenties Shanghai as its starting point. Unique features include a 3-4-4-4-3 reel configuration which unfolds in 576 ways to win. The “Wild Multipliers” lets players choose from five bonus options, each offering a different number of spins and three different multiplier values that can appear on wild symbols, and the multipliers are accretive to create more chances at a winning combination.

• Golden Three Kingdom, inspired by the 14th century classic that has been called China’s most widely read historical novel. Highlights include Super Stacks and “The Collection Bonus” where players retrigger additional free spins by collecting all the hidden symbols, a clever complement to the theme’s mystique. If all the symbols are collected four times in a bonus round, winnings are multiplied by 10.

• West Journey Treasure Hunt, the 3x5 offering that stars the beloved Monkey King and his colorful companions and features “Super Stack Multipliers” with its random multiplier that kicks in when three or more reels are covered with the same symbol. “Pick-A-Super-Stack” adds another layer of interactivity with a player choice in the free games bonus.

Two new titles were recently launched online, and look for one or both to make a surprise appearance on the G2E Asia show floor. These are Brazilia—a 3x5 game that fans of Shadow of the Panther will like, with its “Super Stacks-Split Symbols” combination—and Gypsy, a 4x6 Split Symbols game offering 243 ways to win.

They join a family of 30 games on High 5 Casino, which surpassed 1 million active monthly users earlier this year—350,000 active daily users—and continues to be refined as a strategic data collection point for what will work terrestrially. Titles are ranked by total spins, spins per session and, of course, monetization. Apps are evaluated for effectiveness. User geography and language are analyzed. Player surveys are deliberately designed to be wide-ranging. Themes and features are queried. So are graphics and even music.

“We know that the future of casino gaming must include social, mobile and online consideration,” says COO Med Nadooshan.

The site clearly serves the company well as a branding and cross-marketing tool also.

“It just made sense,” as Chief Executive Anthony Singer attests. “Online players are searching for the same high-quality slot games that they can find in real casinos.”

High 5’s success at honing these conversational skills was recognized at last year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas with the American Gaming Association’s Voice Award for “Best Communications Campaign”. The company’s winning entry consisted of a new Web site and a package of YouTube, Facebook and forum posts that addressed player feedback, digital direct mail and promotions targeted at casino operators.

“The Slot Report,” a monthly e-blast for operators, ended up a finalist for “Best Digital Direct Mail”.

Joining the hardware collection earlier this year was “Best Manufacturer of the Year” picked up at the Totally Gaming Awards at the International Casino Exposition in London.

“We’re pleased,” Mr Nadooshan said at the time, but he was quick to add, “The best has yet to come for High 5 Games.”

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