WMS’s Sebastian Salat explains the company’s vision for advancing slot gaming in Asia
Gaming equipment supplier WMS has been a leading force in the technological development of the slot industry away from its traditional linear, analogue, ‘money in, money out’ approach to making a living. The company argues that by investing in WMS’s technology up front, the industry can make every cent wagered by players work that much harder and more effectively. A networked floor taking advantage of technological developments in the wider world—including communication via Internet protocol and digital data processing—is smarter and more responsive to the needs of players and casino operators alike. That’s important in modern business, where player needs and competitive challenges are changing all the time. Sebastian Salat, President, International for WMS, spoke to Inside Asian Gaming about networked gaming, WAGE-NET® and the company’s vision for the Asian industry in 2011.
Inside Asian Gaming: What difference can server-based gaming and other technological developments make to slot business in Asia?
Sebastian Salat: Across a number of global markets, gaming products enabled with networked capabilities are gaining increasing traction with casino operators and their players. WMS believes the ability of server-enabled products to enhance the entertainment experience—and in turn drive higher coin-in, differentiate slot floors and create operating efficiencies—will transform the industry, including Asian gaming markets. Our Casino Evolved™ vision is about introducing innovative, networked gaming products and platforms in Asian casinos.
Please explain the concept of Casino Evolved.
WMS’ Casino Evolved is a strategy encapsulated by our networked gaming solution, WAGE-NET®. The vision is for the seamless integration of multiple gaming platforms, operator efficiency solutions, and revolutionary player experiences in a fully networked environment, designed with industry standard communication protocols. This strategic approach to the networked casino slot floor is unique in the industry in that WMS recognizes progress is best accomplished through a step-by-step progression. In addition, our networked gaming ‘road map’ involves new applications and new content, taking us in new directions. Our initial server-enabled products for the Asian gaming market are the first step toward fully networked casinos. They have proven their ability to deliver networked gaming.
What game content and/or platforms have you developed for this new networked gaming floor?
For the first time, WMS will be introducing our first portal application, Ultra Hit Progressive™, directly to the Asian market. Ultra Hit Progressive is a mystery-triggered, multi-level progressive architecture that delivers an unprecedented player experience. Launching with two unique themes, Jackpot Explosion and Piggy Bankin’, Ultra Hit Progressive is designed to extend the life of the base games on our customers’ floors, and provide flexibility, by creating a new, second game dynamic.
This year, in addition to our networked gaming content, WMS will also bring an entirely new gaming entertainment experience to Asian casinos with the introduction of our award winning Bluebird xD™ cabinet. The Bluebird xD cabinet blends physical and sensory elements with function, creating an interactive experience for the player, and the advanced networked gaming features of WMS games, like Ultra Hit Progressive. For the first time in the industry, the gaming cabinet is now an integral part of—and more importantly elevates the entertainment value of—the gaming experience. We are sure that the introduction of the Bluebird xD cabinet in Asia in 2011 will mirror the early success and popularity of this networked-enabled platform we are experiencing in other markets around the world.
What new game content can we expect to see from WMS in Asia this year?
This year we will introduce several WMS games that make use of server-based capabilities to create entirely new entertainment experiences. One of these new games being introduced to Asian markets is the MONOPOLY™ Bigger Event Big Money Spin™ game. The MONOPOLY Bigger Event game sets a new standard for our increasingly popular Community Gaming™ platform, with the introduction of the Collaborative Gaming™ offering. The MONOPOLY Bigger Event game allows all eligible slot players on the bank to play together to win the Collaborative Gaming bonus rounds that are presented on dual 52-inch high-definition screens. The ability for players to go beyond community bonus round entertainment to play collaboratively the bonus round games creates a whole new level of player engagement, entertainment and excitement that can only be enabled by utilising server-based capabilities.
Another exciting new product making its way to Asian casinos in 2011 is our popular Reel ‘em In® Compete to Win™ game, which represents the first combination of two of WMS’ server-enabled foundational technology platforms, the Community Gaming platform and the Adaptive Gaming™ platform, in one product. This combination creates a compelling player experience that tracks players’ progress and achievements in the game and displays their accomplishments on an overhead leader board for all to see. The leader boards make use of networked gaming technology. That means they can carry local and global statistics. You as a player can have your result displayed to players of the same game on the other side of the world. That’s a level of player recognition previously unavailable in casinos. Players can also track their accomplishments by logging in with their unique password to view their virtual ‘trophy room’, where all bonus achievements are tracked and displayed.
What does WMS hope to achieve overall in Asian markets this year?
This year will be about strategic steps as WMS works towards enabling casino operators to benefit fully from the power of networked gaming technologies. We are excited by the many opportunities for progress this year, and for future product introductions across Asia such as our game enablement portal technology, our remote configuration and download technology and other components of our WAGE-NET™ system. We expect all these products will ensure WMS stays at the forefront of innovation in the development of networked gaming technologies. We are very confident that those technologies will drive higher returns on investments for our customers.