Inside Asian Gaming

INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | January 2008 I magine you’re a senior sales executive for a carmaker and your company has just sold or leased a fleet of vehicles to a car hire company. Imagine then telephoning the purchas- ing director of the car hire company to en- quire about the performance of the vehicles and how the hire customers are responding to them. “I’m sorry,” says the car hire boss, “that’s confidential information.” It sounds bizarre, but that’s the sort of scenario facing Stuart Gribble, Sales Man- ager South East Asia for the Chicago-based slot machine manufacturer WMS. Mr Gribble says: “Some operators keep their figures pretty close to their chest and we respect their need for confidential- ity. We need to play the cat-and-mouse game occasionally, but it is essential in- telligence our game development team needs to keep coming up with the games players want. So I would like to know as a sales executive which of my games are performing and which ones aren’t. When I don’t get that feedback, I have to spend a hell of lot more time on the floor to get that intelligence. I guess it’s such a competitive market here in Macau that everybody is cautious. Innovation “With those operators that are prepared to share information, every month we talk to them, look at the results, find which games are performing and feed that back to our game develop- ment team so they know which trends to fol- low to develop games for each specific market. “If we see the same trend across a number of different markets we can tell we’ve got a hit. You can see in our 2008 re- leases a lot of follow on from great game ideas that the players loved in 2007. An example of this is our first Commu- nity Gaming product, ‘Monopoly Big Event’, launched in Genting Highlands last year. It was such a hit across the world our design teams got back to work & developed a completely new game called ‘Press Your Luck Big Event’ using the same Community Gaming concept, which puts all eligible players into the bonus round at the same time. “The Big Event series also introduced the innovative concept of increasing the bonus multiplier based on velocity of play.The fast- er a player bets, the higher the bonus mul- tiplier goes. The concept was so successful that several new forms of games were cre- ated, including Happy Days & The Great Wall multi-level mystery progressives, introduced at G2E 2007 in Las Vegas. Instead of award- ing jackpots, players are randomly awarded 1 of 5 free spin amounts. Players contrib- ute to the number of free spins that can be awarded, just as in a typical progressive, but these games also allow them to increase their winnings during the free spins through the velocity multiplier. “Thanks to the information we do get fromsome operators,we knowexactlywhich games are working and that helps us to max our edge with these ideas.” Scrutiny Mr Gribble is too loyal to his customers to mention names of operators who decline 36 Vendor Profile Leap Year WMS pushes slot technology forward––with or without its customers’ help