by Andy Holtmann
April 25, 2008
Las Vegas-based content developer’s two-pronged approach of partnerships for custom work and the creation of appealing proprietary games is getting the company noticed
Thanks to factors like widespread expansion of gaming throughout the United States, the allure of new slot game play concepts to gamblers, and now, the advent of virtually instant gratification for casinos operators and their customers alike via server-based and downloadable gaming, rapid development of proven game content has taken center stage.
Indeed, today’s slot manufacturers are relying less and less on in-house ideas. Instead, many are choosing to outsource the development of new games to independent content providers. Slot makers are either utilizing new concepts these firms come up with on their own, or work with these companies through partnerships to create content that will enhance manufacturers’ existing brands.
One company that has been making significant strides on both fronts is Las Vegas-based Magic Gaming. The company’s vice president and general manager of its west coast division, Tom Kidneigh, noted the company’s strong focus on developing games for the casino, bingo, keno and lottery markets that will enhance manufacturers’ offerings.
“That’s one thing that sets us apart,” he said. “Our custom games are developed according to the specific demographics of each target market. We have casino clients in Europe and Asia and lottery clients in the United States. Each concept and each title that we design and build for them is uniquely tuned to their target customer demographics, market conditions and cultural practices. For example, we’re developing custom games in Europe that are based on a new roulette concept because roulette is very popular in that market.”
And Magic Gaming is beginning a significant penetration into the domestic slot market as well, already partnering on a content agreement with Progressive Gaming and cur-rently working with between six and eight additional manufacturers on similar agreements.
“We also have our own library of games that are either sold outright or licensed in the domestic and international markets, as Class II and Class III products,” Kidneigh said.
Recognizing a need
A division of Tournament One Corp (founded in 2004), Magic Gaming began taking root in early 2006 when Kidneigh — a gaming industry veteran since 1988 — was approached by Tournament One CEO Rick Perrone and Vice President George Stadnik. Tournament One had already enjoyed successful entrepreneurial and corporate management experience in broadcast and cable television, gaming, entertainment, technology and advertising. Perrone and Stadnik wanted to know what the future for growth in content in the gaming industry looked like.
“We determined there was a need for a dedicated, full-service content provider to the gaming industry. In early 2007, we joined forces and created Magic Gaming,” Kidneigh said.
Less than a year later, Magic Gaming has evolved into a substantial turnkey content development and production company. Its services include concept design and advanced game and display technology to production of HD and 3D mystery progressives and advertising.
“The need for shortening the time to market and the rapidly expanding gaming markets in Asia, Europe and South America, coupled with new server based and downloadable and wireless gaming are all having a major impact on the industry,” Kidneigh said. “These factors are creating a very significant demand for what we design, develop and produce. One reason that it’s so big is that more and more OEMs need new and exciting content, faster than they can produce it. As a content provider, one of the things we do differently here at Magic Gaming is that we are willing to develop games as a one off and give our OEM clients full worldwide license rights to each title and theme. They can distribute that game wherever they need to. There are no restrictions. We strive to work with our clients as strategic partners invested in each others’ mutual success in the marketplace.”
Kidneigh added that it’s important for Magic Gaming to make sure that its products complement and extend its clients’ brand into a fun and entertaining gaming experience for its customers. “We make a conscious effort to avoid the trap of games playing and looking the same way. Each game we create should look and play as if the casino or lottery operator created it. We want to be transparent to the player.”
The company also places a strong emphasis on meeting its clients’ timelines and specific needs, knowing that these two factors can have significant impacts on both deliverability and popularity of game titles to casino floors.
At last year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, Magic Gaming garnered a lot of attention by showcasing its Masterpiece Mysteries series and a handful of new slot titles it was developing.
The Masterpiece Series currently includes four titles: Mysteries of the Nile, The Lost Mine, Money Factory and The Caper. Displayed above a bank of machines, Masterpiece Mysteries feature high-quality graphics and engaging characters and story lines. Each mystery itself is independent of the game play. Any coin can win at a mystery bank. It only depends on which machine in the bank is selected when the mystery hits.
“Our cinematic movies draw the player in to play the bank. Mysteries can add a considerable amount of life to a bank of slots that might not be quite as popular as they once were,” Kidneigh said. “It’s much more cost effective to add a mystery than it is to replace the bank of slots. Mysteries go a long way to getting the drop back up to where the house average needs to be.”
As far as Magic Gaming’s current library of games is considered, the company just finished development of The Cash Caper. Kidneigh said this title has the next-generation of slot player in mind with a real video game feel to it. The company is also getting ready to release its newest title, Camelot Cash, which Kidneigh said has a lot of surprises incorporated into it that will take slot play to the next level.
“Right now, we have 15 to 20 games in the pipeline that are proprietary,” he said, noting that he did not wish to divulge too many details on newer developments just yet. “We’ll be rolling these additional titles out throughout the year.”
Kidneigh said there are advantages to doing both proprietary and custom work.
“Both provide our talented creative and production staff with a current view of what’s important in the market. This helps us determine when to add the “wow” factor that takes a product over the top. We have OEM clients who only want titles. We’re happy to provide them with top notch, entertaining games. We also like the challenge of creating game concepts and themes that move the market to the next level. Our work with Philips WOWvx is an example. We created original mystery content and interactive keno and slot game content for this powerful 3D display system. We did it in record time, and in the process, we developed some very exciting IP and technology that benefit all of our clients.”
Magic Gaming at a glance
A division of Tournament One Corp.
920 Pilot Road
Las Vegas, Nev. 89119
(With an office in Stamford, Conn.)
Web site: www.magicgaming.net
Tom Kidneigh, vice president and general manager, West Coast division
Founded: 2006 (parent company)
30 total between two offices
—Game content and game design
—Advanced game and display technology
—Custom game content development
—Proprietary game content development
—Production of HD and 3D mystery progressives
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