Rising in the EAST
by James J. Hodl
May 1, 2010
G2E Asia returns to Macau, showcasing an array of new games and systems
An always exciting G2E Asia is anticipated for June 8-10 at the Cotai Strip Convention & Exhibition Centre at The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel.
About 130 exhibitors are expected, and organizers Reed Exhibitions and the American Gaming Association are confident that this year’s show will exceed last year’s 6,300-plus attendees amid signs that the world economy may be improving.
How current economic conditions will affect Asia’s gaming markets will be one of the main topics of discussion during the conference portion of the show. Pan-Asian regulatory issues also are high on the conference agenda.
In another highlight, Australian machine gaming pioneer Len Ainsworth will be honored with the G2E Asia Visionary Award.
Here is a look at some of the major new games and technologies that will be on display:
ARUZE GAMING: An array of firsts
Aruze Lucky Sic Bo
Aruze Gaming’s innovative Lucky Sic Bo G-Station multi-terminal game, featuring both a mystery progressive jackpot and a “Bash Button” that allows players to control when the dice are rolled, will be a highlight of the company’s G2E Asia exhibit; but it won’t be alone among several firsts Aruze is rolling out at this year’s show.
There will be Shoot to Win Craps, a G-Station multi-terminal game that gives everyone the opportunity to be the “shooter,” and a new premium range of G-Deluxe interactive top box games, including Beauty and the Beast, Memories of Love, Vampire and Beauty, The Story of Cinderella, Bow Wow Buck$ and Pretty Pigs. All feature frequent bonus events, engaging graphics and an eye-catching stand-alone progressive, “Challenge for Jackpot”. Also on display will be an array of G-Series titles available both on the sturdy G-Enex cabinet and the ergonomically designed G-Comfort slant top, which is being shown in Asia for the first time.
The company’s new Rock You Queen slot, based on the music and videos of the legendary rock group, is certain to be another draw. The game blends video music clips and animation with multiple bonuses with free spins and added multipliers to a second-screen “bicycle race” for a uniquely exciting player experience.
Attendees also will get a look at Aruze’s new G-Systems technology, designed to revolutionize how currency and credits are moved between players and games on the casino floor, and there will be a new VoIP communications network and an electronic gaming card that allows for the easy transfer of funds between games.
Aruze also will be providing a sneak peak of some never-before-seen gaming concepts, code-named GDX7-8 and GLC3X, which the company promises will wow attendees.
BALLY TECHNOLOGIES: A whole new spin
Bally Technologies' Cash Spin
Bally Technologies is bringing an array of video and reel-spinning games to G2E Asia on the Digital Tower Series and ALPHA Elite V32 and new Pro Series platforms.
Among the highlights: the award-winning Cash Spin, featuring Bally’s innovative U-Spin gesture-control technology, which lets players “touch” and “spin” a virtual wheel as if it were a physical wheel; and Hot Shot Progressive Cash Wheel, which now features a colorful spinning wheel bonus where everyone wins and Bally’s popular “game-in-game” progressive bonus excitement.
Headlining the Digital Tower Series is Bally’s Fireball, an exciting blend of top-box bonus animations and an eight-level progressive.
The new Pro Series upright and slant-top slot cabinets have been redesigned from the ground up based on extensive operator and player feedback. The result is unrivaled player comfort, interaction, engagement and control. And the Pro Series is network- and server-based ready for high-speed, Ethernet gaming floors.
On the systems side Bally will be hosting live demonstrations of its core SDS slot accounting and player-tracking system, along with the TableView real-time table-rating and player-tracking system and the iVIEW Display Manager player and employee main game screen interface.
Visitors also will get an up-close look at Bally Business Intelligence data analytics, visualization and campaign-management solution and the company’s CoolSign and CoolSign Wayfinding centralized media-management and messaging technologies.
INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY: Sex and the slot machine
IGT's Sex and the City slot machine
IGT’s popular Sex and the City slots will be a standout at this year’s show. New single-play and MultiPlay versions will be on display. The former is a five-reel, 30-line game with a 20-credit side bet that can be adapted for a wide-area progressive. The latter offers four five-reel, 30-line games with 20-credit side bets, each with a different outcome, on which players can bet on all four games a maximum 200 credits with a 1x multiplier. The games include clips from the popular TV series, and “Mr. Big” talks players through bonus round steps, telling them when to spin the top wheel and congratulating them when they win.
IGT is also showing its Center Stage Series games, including Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin and American Idol with MultiPlay in two versions: a 103-inch screen with five player stations and a 70-inch screen with four player stations.
Other MultiPlay offerings will include Fortune Tsunami and Caribbean Breeze, which feature a “wild rollover” feature in both the base and free games that take stacked wilds to a new level. Golden Gecko has a new accordion-like reel that folds in and out on every spin and where “mini-games” can be played above the main game.
Party Time 2, a Mystery Progressive game, has four base games, of which two (Crown of Egypt Party and Treasures of Troy) offer 20 independent reels and 1,024 ways to win and bonus games with six progressive levels.
Super Nova Blast Multi-Level Progressive slots offer a 3-D group play bonus that involves all eligible players and comes every four to six minutes. Also on display will be Diamond Factory Multi-Level Progressives with three base games, four progressive jackpots and random mystery bonuses. Top Dollar Reel MultiPlay slots upgrade the casino favorite to 3-D with two reels that spin simultaneously with individual outcomes. And players can accept or reject award offers in bonus rounds of Crystal Fortunes Multi-Level Progressives.
IGT also will show its sbX Floor Manager that casinos can use to provide players at linked machines with full access to the company’s game library.
NOVOMATIC/AGI: Speaking the language
Novomatic/AGI's NovoStar SL
A full line of slots tailored for the Asian market will be the focus of Novomatic/Austrian Gaming Industries’ exhibit.
Many of the company’s most popular games have been translated into Chinese — among them Lucky Lady’s Charm Deluxe, Book of Ra Deluxe, Sizzling Hot 8, 8 Jewels, Chicago, Indian Sprint and Xtra 8. A special range of Super-V+ Gaminator cabinets also will feature exclusive games that will be available with multi-language options. And Asia will be getting its first look at the Super-V+ Gaminator multi-game mix.
This year’s show also marks the Asian debut for NovoStar SL, a slant-top cabinet available in three modular versions: NovoStar SL1, with one monitor for multiplayer installations; NovoStar SL2, with two monitors; and NovoStar SL3, with three monitors and the ability to offer four jackpot levels through the Powerlink display. All feature the innovative “Flip Screen” feature, with the SL2 and SL3 also enabling players to switch their main screen from the top to the bottom monitor. All have surround sound with sub-woofer and active satellite speakers and high-definition touch screens.
PELCO: Eye on security
Pelco Spectra HD Video PTZ High-Speed Dome
A large selection of casino security equipment will be front and center at Pelco’s stand, including the Spectra HD Video PTZ High-Speed Dome, which captures and records high-definition images. The Spectra HD delivers crystal-clear images via IP for live streaming to a standard Web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox), Endura, DS or other HD Video Management System. The dome features open architecture connectivity for third-party software recording solutions, making it possible to integrate Spectra HD into virtually any IP-based HD system.
Pelco’s Sarix-Based ID Series Mega Performance IP Dome megapixel cameras feature SD-to-HD resolutions, auto back focus, exceptional low-light performance, consistent color science, high-quality CS mount lenses for ranges up to 50mm, H.264 compression and built-in analytics. And the auto back focus can achieve perfect focus after the dome has been installed.
The Sarix IM Series Mini Indoor Network Dome cameras are compact, powerful and affordable. The latest offering in the Sarix product family, the IM Series packs the same popular features and technology into a discreet and value-driven indoor dome enclosure. Available in 1.3-megapixel or standard-definition models, the IM Series delivers best-in-class low-light performance, simple one-handed installation, H.264 compression, consistent color science, built-in analytics, and more.
Pelco’s Full HD Displays help casinos make the most of their megapixel investment, delivering optimal performance, improved response time and higher resolution with sharper, brighter images. Smart thermal management reduces component stress while ensuring reliable 24/7 operation. The lightweight aluminum frame is much more rugged than plastic consumer models. Built-in hand-holds allow for ease of installation.
SHUFFLE MASTER: Shining Star
Shuffle Master's Vegas Star game
Shuffle Master will be showcasing several new enhancements to its popular Vegas Star game line.
A state-of-the-art table game platform, Vegas Star makes it possible for casinos to offer popular games like blackjack, baccarat, sic bo and roulette in a fully secure, scalable multi-terminal environment. During game play, players place their bets on individual betting terminals, and all game activity is shown on a central plasma display that now features an attractive video dealer rather than an animated dealer.
New this year is Vegas Star’s Grand Baccarat, which adds an enticing and lucrative “Grand Tie” jackpot feature to the traditional game. Players place their bets on individual touch screens, and once the betting countdown is completed, the video dealer will deal the “player” and “banker” hands. To be eligible for the “Mini” or “Major” jackpot, players must make their “Grand Tie” bet prior to any cards being dealt. The more a player bets on the Grand Tie, the more gold “prize” cards he receives when the Grand Tie feature is triggered, and the more chances he or she has of winning a jackpot. Multiple jackpots can be won during each feature. Popular “Dragon Bonus” and “Pairs” side bets are also available.
Grand Baccarat is available as part of a multi-terminal set-up. Housed in the stylish and compact Mojo cabinet, the game can accommodate up to 32 player stations per game and can be installed in a variety of configurations. Vegas Star also offers casinos maximum flexibility in setting wager amounts, which makes it easy for operators to attract both low- and high-stakes players.
SLOT-TICKETS: Thwarting counterfeits
Watermarked papers for printing slot tickets and lottery tickets are a specialty of Slot-Tickets Inc.
The company’s White Phantom line will be introduced for the first time in Asia at this year’s show. These papers contain a watermark unique to East Asia. Dual-Phase White Phantom papers include a broad range of other security features that show up only under ultraviolet light.
With the aid of its Asia representatives at Coin-Tech Trading, Slot-Ticket has in-country warehousing for support with emergency needs and backs up its products with service staff on the ground and available to any gaming property.
TRANSACT TECHNOLOGIES: The fine print
TransAct ServerPort 950
TransAct is showing a full line of ticket printing solutions, highlighted by the Epic Ten80, which in addition to ticket printing, performs promotional and coupon printing, enabling casinos to use one printer for all games and drive promotions directly to the machine.
The Epic 950 thermal printer includes advanced features such as quick disconnect, reliable ticket burst and low-ticket sensing and USB connectivity. ServerPort enables casinos to easily upgrade the Epic 950 to connect directly to player-tracking systems to print promotional offers or coupons at the slot machine.
Also on display will be the Epic 880, which includes a transport to assist in exiting the receipt out of the game. This printer solution also is perfect for gaming applications such as video lottery terminals, fixed-odds betting and AWP and SWP.
The Epic 430 offers a small, modular design and can be configured to any space or game machine requirement, delivering a new level of ease, quality and convenience.
WALKER DIGITAL: Raising the stakes
Walker Digital's Perfect Pay
The Perfect Pay table, which looks, feels and plays like a traditional triple-live game, will highlight Walker Digital’s product offerings at G2E Asia. With integrated RFID technology, a card-reading shoe and Walker’s Core Game Technology, the system provides an upgradeable, networked game platform that exactly tracks turnover, hand outcomes, wagers, payouts and player ratings in real time. It also eliminates losses due to dealer error, cheating and counterfeiting and increases game speed, precisely assessing player value and providing detailed reporting on game speed, bet mix, table occupancy, turnover, theoretical win and actual win.
New to Perfect Pay this year is Elite Baccarat, which offers new bets and play options after the first four cards in the traditional game have been revealed. Elite Baccarat was developed to raise baccarat’s low house advantage while increasing both the volume of wagers at the table and player excitement — but without changing the basic rules of the game. Dynamically calculated odds on every Elite bet offered create the opportunity for a higher house advantage on increased bet volumes, while the game platform dramatically increases game security and dealer accuracy. An informational touch-screen inset at each player position shows bets available, and a simple slider shows the payout for any allowable bet value. Players who choose not to place Elite bets can still take a seat and enjoy the traditional game.
WMS Gaming: Wowing the senses
WMS' The Wizard of Oz: Ruby Slippers
Among the standouts for WMS Gaming at this year’s show will be its Respins machines, which provide players with a chance for higher progressive awards. Building on WMS’ popular Hot Hot Super Jackpot brand, these games include the progressive mechanics of the Life of Luxury Progressive — during which the stacking of top award and wild symbols triggers free spins — and a “Super Nudge” feature which, if it appears during a free spin, can trigger still more re-spins. New games in this category include Hercules, Games of Dragons 2 and The Eye of Horus.
Another highlight will be the Sensory Immersion games Time Machine and The Wizard of Oz: Ruby Slippers. The former is a five-reel game that takes players on a trip through time, inviting them to make selections from different paths in an attempt to collect gems and credit awards while steering clear of “dinosaurs” and earning free spins and bonuses. The latter features three bonus opportunities and a special “Ruby Slippers” feature, with bonus wins enhanced according to which “Wizard of Oz” characters trigger it; and each character adds something to each bonus round.
Viva Monopoly, a stand-alone game, operates on WMS’ ARIA (Advanced Random Intelligence Algorithm) technology, which includes a bonus round that takes players on trips in jets and limousines to win extra credits and a “Big Money Bonus Round,” where, utilizing the top box, players throw dice to win credit awards, re-throws or even entry into other bonuses.
Still other games on display this year will be Win It Again: All That Glitters 2, a Cascading Reels game with a twist: When players achieve three “cascading reels” in one play, they win the combined total of their last five plays.
Rome & Egypt is a G+ 5x4 game that transports players back to ancient Roman and Egyptian times. Features include a larger reel array, the option to play 50 or 100 lines and stacked “Caesar” and “Cleopatra” wilds. The consecutive appearance of two, three, four or five Caesar and Cleopatra symbols can lead to players being respectively awarded five, 10, 20 or 50 free spins. While in bonus play, all wins are doubled, and the free spin bonus can be retriggered within the bonus round.
James J. Hodl
is a Chicago-based freelance writer covering the gaming industry. He can be contacted at +1 773 777 5710; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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