Editor’s note: In this second in a series about ground-breaking products, Slot Manager Editor Marian Green interviews WMS Vice President of Marketing Rob Bone about the company’s new Bluebird 2 cabinet.
Why is the BLUEBIRD2 a game-changing product?
BONE:Bluebird 2 is digital cabinet of the future, that provides all the benefits of what operators and players want today. We built upon the proven success and reputation of our original Bluebird cabinet and basically said, “what we we do differently” based on the impending impact of networked technologies and the applications that this cabinet will house and distribute. What we have come up with is the most robust and scaleable cabinet in the industry with specific attention to limit serviceability and overall maintenance.
Explain the various features that set it apart from the competition.
Bluebird 2 includes two dual widescreen 22” HD displays, a completely redesigned and enhanced Bose audio system, a dynamic and programmable button panel, along with our powerful CPU NXT 2 processor that allows for unrestricted design executions. In addition, this cabinet is much slimmer dimension and includes quick release laminate panels to allow for easy changes to merchandising. Basically, this cabinet has all the technology components that operators could ask for in the near and long term. They now have the freedom to execute and facilitate content without any limitations.
Additionally, our Bluebird 2 three-reel and five-reel mechanical products come standard with our proven transmissive reels technology. This allows us to not only add enhanced animations and bonus features to all our mechanical products, but also allows our mechanical products to have a digital interface for all players to access our WAGE-NET networked messaging and game applications.
We have designed specific products that leverage these components directly and raise the bar on game play. For example, both “Lucky Penny”, an upcoming theme featuring groups of penguins that randomly create trillions of variouis outcomes to base game pays, and “SuperMulti-Pay” our newest upcoming category of products in our Innovation series line, both capitalize on our 16x9 wide screen HD displays. The extra graphics real-estate and dimensions allowed us to execute on these particular products and enable new capabilities that we never had before.
Discuss WMS’ focus on player-driven innovation and how this fits.
While all our products are designed around our customers needs and wants, the core ideation process of this cabinet began with the player.
We always start with the player experience and work backwards from there. What visual, auditory and overall comfort enhancements can be made to make this cabinet their product of choice? We began engaging with players very early in the design process and allowed their feedback and “voices” to shape our decisions.
Talk about what operators in today’s environment are seeking from their purchases?
Operators will always demand a reliable and technically advanced cabinet that can reach a full five-year depreciation schedule, but what has increased is the need for flexibility and choices as technology evolves and networked gaming becomes more mature. At WMS, we don’t engage in obsolesence as means to sell products. We wanted to provide a cabinet that met their current needs, but also allowed them to incorporate new networked gaming features and content applications, at their discretion, without it being painful or cost prohibitive.
How important is positioning a product for the server-based gaming environment?
We feel it is extremely important, but it really comes down to the customers belief in how soon and how valuable networked capabilities can be for them and their operation. That said, with Bluebird 2, we’ve provided them full freedom to use the cabinet for their own specific needs. Whether it be solely to faciliate video reel or mechanical gaming experiences, or whether they prefer to position themselves for a fully digital server-enabled state, Bluebird 2 provides both value propositions simultaneously.
What future technologies/features/trends will the Bluebird 2 handle?
With the power and expandability that we have designed in the product, the sky is the limit. In the past, we have dealt with limitations in hardware and processing throughput that inhibited our ability to scale up as technology matured. With Bluebird 2, there really aren’t any physical limitations in what it can execute upon. All design components are modular and can be enhanced and retrofitted quite easily.