Sebastian Salat, President of WMS International, discusses the company’s Asia strategy, and highlights the key products on display at this year’s jam-packed WMS exhibit at G2E Asia
The WMS stand at G2E Asia 2012 will feature 43 new gaming machines that the company promises will “engage current players and attract new ones, enhance loyalty, and drive performance for casino operators.”
According to Sebastian Salat, President of WMS International, “As the Asian market continues to grow, so does the WMS commitment to provide our current, and future, Asian customers with our premium services, and a robust WMS product portfolio that features a broad array of unique and dynamic entertainment experiences.”
Mr Salat added: “With the Asian market becoming the fastest growing in the industry, G2E Asia is a great opportunity for WMS to demonstrate how our talented game designers and engineers leverage industry insights and focus on the player experience to ‘change the game’ on the casino floor, while keeping in mind market-specific player preferences. As a result, this year’s product line-up features innovations, exciting game-play mechanics, and other industry-favorite game features that raise the bar on gaming excitement.”
Inside Asian Gaming asked Mr Salat about what WMS had in store for visitors to its G2E Asia Stand 233, as well as its broader plans for the region.
How important is Asia to WMS strategically?
Sebastian Salat: Asia Pacific is one of the world’s great markets for casino gaming, as well as one of the most progressive. The region’s dramatic growth estimated to be nearly a 20% increase each year through 2015, by Pricewaterhouse Coopers in their 2011 Global Gaming Outlook report, offers many opportunities for casino manufacturers. It should come as no surprise that Asia Pacific is an important part of the WMS growth strategy, now and in the future.
Over the course of the last decade, WMS has established a solid presence in Asia and we continue to make steady progress. This growing footprint is the result of our dedication to learning the unique player preferences and demographics of a culturally diverse market, our focus on innovation, which is at the center of the WMS culture, and our commitment to meet our customers’ needs for gaming products and technologies that engage players and can deliver results on the casino floor.
We look forward to growing with the region and the opportunity to bring the world’s most compelling gaming experiences to Asia Pacific casinos.
Which markets are the principal focus for WMS in Asia currently? Why?
Overall, the Asian gaming markets look very good. Macau remains the single largest casino destination market in the world with twice the revenue of Nevada. Several new casino openings will continue to fuel revenue growth over the next few years, bolstered by the new Macau-Guangzhou railway and the road bridge that will connect Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau.
We are also very optimistic about Singapore which, in a very short time, has shown consistent and strong growth in slot revenue as a result of casino improvements and an increase in tourism. With two casinos, Resorts World Sentosa and the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore is surely a contender as a major casino destination in the years to come.
As for hot spots—the Philippines is a good bet. Revenue is rebounding from 2010, and there are four major projects in the works that promise to drive tourism and gaming revenue through 2015.
What are you introducing new at G2E Asia?
WMS products on display at G2E Asia 2012 will include differentiated game-play mechanics, more diverse math models, and innovative reel arrays that offer players exciting new ways to win. We are also bringing WMS award-winning portal themes, including the Ultra Hit Progressive, Mega Multiplier Winner’s Share series, which feature unique value-added, secondary integrated bonus applications that utilize visual and audio enhancements to bring excitement to base game themes. We already have a distinguished group of customers in the US, Europe and Asia who are experiencing the benefits of WMS portal products, including operational efficiencies and the seamless delivery of fresh, engaging on-demand content.
At this year’s G2E Asia, we’ll highlight 43 new WMS gaming machines that feature a broad range of dynamic entertainment experiences designed to engage current players and attract new ones while enhancing loyalty and driving performance for casino operators. We are especially excited to introduce the Aladdin & The Magic Quest slot machine, which leverages the capabilities and functionality made possible by our proprietary, next-generation CPUNXT 3 platform, and the Life of Luxury Deluxe game, the latest in the successful Life of Luxury Progressive series.
Of your successful products in other jurisdictions: What’s worked to date in Asia’s markets? What are you adapting/will be adapting?
WMS product innovations are performing well across the region. This is a reflection of WMS’ ongoing excellence in creating product and platform innovations that bring exciting new game experiences to the casino floor, as well as a commitment to work with our casino customers to develop solutions that can increase revenue and improve efficiency while delivering engaging content-on-demand.
Among those are three products that at G2E Asia last year, the G+ Deluxe game series, and the Bluebird xD gaming cabinet and the Ultra Hit Progressive Jackpot Explosion theme.
Many of our Asian customers attending the show took note of our G+ Deluxe game series, which takes standard G+ game play to a whole new level with amped-up win animations and synchronized lighting and audio effects. We’ve found that Asian players like the volatility of the G+ series, and the big reel symbols, large win meters and “big win” audio create a high energy experience that can drive coin-in.
The Bluebird xD gaming cabinet also was introduced to the market last year. This state-of-the-art cabinet offers a suite of sensory innovations that heighten the player experience beyond imagination, including stunning sound and choreographed, emotive lighting that creates first-ever bank level celebrations based on game activity. Designed with the input of players and casino operators, the Bluebird xD offers a new level of comfort and convenience that includes enhanced viewing, generous leg clearance and padded armrests for a one-of-a-kind slot experience.
The Ultra Hit Progressive: Jackpot Explosion theme, a WMS networked gaming portal technology, has been a solid hit with our customers and their players. Available on both video and mechanical reel slots, Ultra Hit Progressive games add a secondary mystery progressive bonus on top of most of our base game themes for an extraordinary player experience. Jackpot Explosion is the first theme in the first WMS portal application family.
Casino operators will see these products at G2E Asia 2012, as well as the Piggy Bankin’ portal theme, the second member of the UHP portal family, and the new Bluebird 2e cabinet, an enhanced version of our original Bluebird upright cabinet, which integrates performance-enhancing emotive lighting with game play to boost the player experience.
What are your goals for this year’s show?
G2E Asia is a great opportunity for WMS to demonstrate how our talented game designers and engineers leverage industry insights and focus on the player experience to ‘change the game’ on the casino floor, while keeping in mind market-specific player preferences. As a result, this year’s product line-up features innovations, more math models, exciting game-play mechanics, and other industry-favorite game features that raise the bar on gaming excitement.
Of course, G2E Asia is also always a great time to meet, discuss the latest trends and socialize with our customers.