By Ben Blaschke
IGT Managing Director Asia-Pacific, Andrew Hely, says the company is well placed to significantly increase its Asian representation following a corporate restructure that has “re-empowered” the region.
The global gaming giant unveiled a series of titles at this week’s MGS Entertainment Show that IGT believes represent a new direction for the company, with Hely confident they will signal a resurgence in the key Macau market and beyond.
“We still think that we’re under-represented in this market in Macau and that this is the opportunity for us in terms of what we can do with that,” he told Inside Asian Gaming.
“There has been a lot of talk about market-attuned products in recent years. One thing we’ve focused on doing is to move away from just skinning a US game with some Asian themes or graphics and trying to get to the core of the game and making sure that we’ve got a math model that is attuned to the particular marketplace. Once we get that right we can ensure everything else is culturally attuned around that in terms of theming and graphics. It’s a combination of things that we think are going to work better than in the past.”
Previously with IGT for 14 years before spending three years at Australian slot machine manufacturer Ainsworth, Hely’s return was one of a number of key personnel changes for IGT in 2017 as part of a plan to “re-empower the regions.”
Crucially, that has meant providing a Managing Director for each of the company’s key regions across the globe with Hely now in charge of steering the ship in Asia-Pacific.
“We had a redefinition of the business from an Asia-Pacific point of view,” he explained, noting similar moves had been made in APAC, Europe, East Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“In my region, for example, we’ve always had a strong studio in Sydney and Melbourne but we have now also taken over the Beijing studio. Beijing is now under the APAC umbrella and away from the US umbrella. Our task now is to harness those resources and synchronise that with the other efforts that are occurring to ensure we have the right products in the right areas here in Asia. There is a much stronger correlation here in this region than from bringing a product in from North America.”
For Hely, developing titles specifically for individual Asian jurisdictions is the goal, however Macau stands out as a key focus with the company’s new Hyper Hits and Prize Disc series of games set to be officially launched at G2E Asia in May.
“I think that some of our representation at the new property openings in Macau in recent years has not been what IGT expects from an international point of view, so that’s a point for improvement for us,” he said. “Again though, there has to be the level of commitment and effort from us to bring the right products to the marketplace. I think this is the beginning, this is not the end point. This is the start of a new wave of games.
“The positive for us is that we have very strong operator sentiment here in Macau, they are looking for some strong alternatives and we think that if we have the right product, we already have the right relationships to leverage. The rest is just going to come down to performance.”