On the strength of an array of fresh content and dynamic player experiences, WMS Gaming is looking for broader appeal and deeper penetration into Asia
The new year is shaping up as a promising one for WMS Gaming in Asia.
“We’ve got a fantastic range and breadth of products, and everyone’s really excited,” says Jon Lancaster, executive director for international sales.
While stressing that the scores of new concepts introduced in the fall at G2E in Las Vegas hold great potential, “What’s been really interesting to me is the reaction to our core games,” he says. “The Colossal Reels in particular are the big story. Everybody’s playing them, and they’re doing phenomenally well on the floor.”
Noting that WMS is deeply committed to the Asian market, Mr Lancaster points out that the company is “working very hard to make sure we’re getting the right product to the region.”
“I think the message is, Asia is very important to us,” he says.
WMS is making headway with it, too, and its games are gaining ground in different areas around the region. Through its Asia- Pacific distributor, RGB International, the company recently won more than 20% of the slot floor at Bloomberry Resorts’ soonto- open Solaire Manila Resort and Casino in the Philippines.
Mr Lancaster also notes that while slot makers are having to deal with new licensing and technical regulations in Macau, WMS is focused on ensuring that it will have a strong, fully compliant pipeline for the market.
“We’re making products now on the Blade platform that will be fully ‘Asian-ized,’” he says. “[This year] we’re going to come back with a full range of product for that market.”
The company also will be developing specifically for Macau—“and we’ll be using things which we’ve developed for the rest of the world, with localization,” he adds. “We’re trying to strike a balance between investing appropriately for the Macau market and also serving the rest of the world appropriately.”
Among the products that have proven particularly successful for WMS in Asia is Life of Luxury Deluxe from the company’s Local Area Progressive line. Mr Lancaster says, “We’ve just introduced the Life of Luxury Deluxe, [a six-level mystery progressive], and that will obviously roll out in the region.”
G2E was the setting for the unveiling of the next-generation Blade, a sleek upright cabinet launched exclusively with WMS’ for-sale game themes. Honed by player insights and operator feedback and with appealing aesthetics forged to support the robust capabilities of the CPU-NXT3 operating system, the Blade is designed to cut through the clutter on the slot floor and elevate the play level of WMS’ game content and play mechanics. The show highlighted some 22 new games on the CPU-NXT3. More than 100 new games were shown in all, together with a variety of math models to satisfy just about every player preference and game experience. These included 24 new themes for proven performers such as Colossal Reels, G+ Deluxe and Awesome Reels. Also shown was the new Gamefield xD cabinet designed for participation games, along with five new participation offerings based on iconic consumer brands—The Game of Life, Cheers, Kiss, Spider-Man and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory—and 17 new titles in the Monopoly, The Wizard of Oz, the Lord of the Rings and Reel ’em in series.
The company also demonstrated an extensive portfolio of new for-sale games for the Bluebird2 and Bluebird2e cabinets, as well as the Bluebird xD cabinet, which can be configured with the optional wide-screen Metascreen display. These included:
• Colossal Reels: Introduced last year and fast becoming a standout performer, the series uses the full wide-screen power of the Bluebird2 and Bluebird xD to feature two reel sets—traditional and oversized—that transfer “wild” symbols between reels. The series will be expanded with six new themes and unique math models this year.
• Awesome Reels: Launched last year with two themes, this high-volatility series features a sixth reel that expands big wins into even bigger wins with a 6×4 reel video interface and “Any Way” pay tables that provide 4,096 ways to win with each spin.
• Double Money Burst: Building on the proven Money Burst series, this 2×2 reel is set next to a 3×6 reel set creating a unique game layout offering up to 100 lines of high-volatility action.
• My Poker: This new video poker product combines popular themes and pay tables with optional “Feature Bet” games, player-personalization capabilities through WMS’ Player’s Life Web Services, and a specially built button panel to provide superior player comfort, better sight lines and maximum visibility.
A new KISS standalone, packed with the imagery and music made famous by the iconic ’70s-era rockers, features a multiarray base game that can award one, two or three bonus reel sets on any spin, enhanced with either “wild” symbols added or low-pay credit symbols removed to enhance the opportunities for a big win.
Spider-Man and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory both feature WMS’ innovative Sensory Immersion 2.0 synchronized motion chair system.
Spider-Man is a “dual-array game,” providing reel-spinning video action across two 5×3 reel layouts with each spin, along with six random “Spider-Sense” features and exciting bonus rounds that include video and audio clips from the film franchise’s first three movies.
Willy Wonka entertains with enhanced graphics, superior play mechanics and advanced touch-screen functionality. Features include a “ride” on the Chocolate River Boat and the chance for players to try to find a “Golden Ticket” hidden in a WONKA Bar that awards a jackpot, with the odds of finding it increasing each time the jackpot is not won.