In an effort to provide casino executives the tools they need to continuously engage players on their slot floors, WMS recently introduced the latest floor-ready product and platform innovation-the Ultra Hit Progressive® (UHP) portal family.
As the company’s first commercially available portal family, with others to debut throughout 2011 and into 2012, UHP provides casino operators the dynamic flexibility to mix and match WMS base theme games with portal games to differentiate their casino floors while providing unprecedented player experiences.
UHP themes are mystery-triggered, multi-level progressives that can be integrated with a large selection of WMS video and mechanical reel base games. The UHP themes advertise imminent jackpots on the base game screen, in the gaming cabinet’s top screen, as well as on optional strategically located signage. As coin-in increases and the progressive triggers are approached, robust visuals are displayed and ambient sounds are amplified to celebrate the big win across the banks of eligible games.
“Ultra Hit Progressive® is another example of the continuous, creative evolution of the WMS design and development process and our commitment to delivering a premium value proposition to our customers,” said Orrin J. Edidin, president of WMS. “UHP is creating new value for gaming operators in terms of opportunities for increased coin-in, differentiated experiences for players and maximum flexibility on the slot floor.”
The first UHP portal family theme that is currently available for the slot floor is Jackpot Explosion®. Lava fills a volcano on the top screen while lava rises around the reels on the primary screen as coin-in builds. Excitement intensifies at the bank level until the volcano dramatically erupts, awarding one lucky player one of four progressive awards. Piggy Bankin™ is the second and soon-to-be released theme and features coins piling into a piggy bank that grows larger and larger, shaking, swelling, cracking until it ultimately reaches critical mass and explodes - awarding one lucky player a progressive award.
“The UHP Jackpot Explosion product has noticeably improved the performance of our games,” said Darren Jang, senior product specialist for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). “We have two identical themes in the same bank, and clearly the games with UHP are showing better coin-in results compared to the games without UHP.”
Early results have shown that WMS UHP products experienced an average 30-40 percent increase in coin-in at select locations, compared to games without UHP. Regulatory approval for UHP portal technology has been received in three commercial casino markets (Iowa, Mississippi, BCLC), as well as multiple tribal approvals in California, Connecticut and Michigan. By year-end, regulatory approval is expected in up to six additional commercial casino markets with more tribal gaming approvals.
The Ultra Hit Progressive® portal family is an integral part of the WMS WAGE-NET® Networked Gaming solution. First showcased at Global Gaming Expo 2009, the WAGE-NET® portal Application Suite leverages the flexibility of networked gaming functionality to extend the life cycle of base game themes by adding new entertainment experiences on slot machines connected to the network. The UHP configuration allows for the return percentage allocated to the jackpot to be high, which is often key in a player’s decision to continue to play a game and allows for an exciting and rewarding experience.
Other portal application families that WMS will debut in the near future include Winner’s Share™, MetaScreen™ and Mega Multiplier®. Winner’s Share™ adds a secondary bonus opportunity on top of video or mechanical reel base games to provide one player with an exciting progressive game experience when the bonus is randomly triggered. Winner’s Share™ debuted at Global Gaming Expo 2010 with the Peng-Wins™ theme, in which a penguin slides, bounces and slips through an interactive environment, while the player collects credit card awards from one percent to 200 percent of the progressive jackpot. MetaScreen™ provides a true competitive slot experience with the debut of Pirate Battle™, a 2-vs-2 COMMUNITY GAMING® theme available exclusively in banks of four Bluebird xD® cabinets with special 32-inch overhead monitors . The monitors join to form a massive, singular screen on which a bonus canon battle randomly occurs, as red and blue teams compete for credit and progressive awards. Finally, the Mega Multiplier® portal application family, featuring bonus action powered by a real-time physics engine and several unique looks that can be swapped out on any gaming machine connected to the Mega Multiplier® Central Game Controller. Mega Multiplier® randomly awards players credits they can store and use to trigger the portal application at any time they choose to launch a pinball into the top screen for a chance to multiply their stored credits up to 100 times.
“By combining our deep portfolio of video and mechanical reel base games with multiple portal families, each of which feature a variety of themes, we are creating new value for gaming operators in terms of opportunities for increasing slot floor flexibility and differentiated experiences for players,” Edidin added.
Almost all of WMS base game themes, introduced within the last 18 months and going forward, support the company’s portal applications. Portal application themes are available across video reel games, mechanical reel games and supported on an upgraded Bluebird® cabinet as well as Bluebird®2 and Bluebird xD® gaming cabinets.
This article was reported and written by WMS. For more information on the company and its products, please visit www.wms.com.