There was a clear winner of this year’s judged contest for the Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products of 2013, but things got tight from there. And attendees at the Gaming Technology Conference weighed in with their own judgment, expanding the list of winners to five. The winners were announced at last month’s Gaming Technology Conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
In the judged contest, GTECH received the first place Platinum Award for Sphinx 3D; there was a tie for Gold between Bally Technologies for ProSeries Wave and Global Cash Access for Everi; and Intermezzo, Inc.’s ClubLinq API placed third, winning Silver.
These winners received the highest scores from four distinguished judges, who were asked to evaluate everything from the products’ contributions to technological innovation to their practical value on the gaming floor. Judging the products were Warren Davidson, slot director, Coushatta Casino Resort; Donne Grable, vice president, gaming operations, VCAT LLC; Gaye Gullo, corporate vice president marketing and CMO, Penn National Gaming; and Claudia Winkler, president, G.H.I. Solutions.
In addition, attendees at the Gaming Technology Conference were asked to pick their own favorite in voting that took place on the trade show floor during the two-day event. That award, the Attendees Choice, went to Acres 4.0 for Kai.
The fullTop 20 list of winners was announced in the March issue of Casino Journal. Here’s a re-cap and description of the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Attendees Choice designated products:
Sphinx 3D— GTECH
Sphinx 3D is the first title in GTECH’s new True 3D product line, which uses a glasses-free 3D display designed exclusively for GTECH for the gaming industry by SeeFront. It uses autostereoscopic technology with integrated eye-tracking to make images jump off the screen or stretch into infinity in high resolution. Without wearing special or additional glasses, players can explore the on-screen vistas, change viewing angles without disrupting the 3D experience, and see wilds stacked on the z-axis that seem to rotate toward and jump out at them.
A five-reel, 30-line game, Sphinx 3D features a base game and a total of seven bonuses: two in the base game and five dedicated bonuses that players can select as part of the Sphinx Bonus selection.
Additionally, the new AXXIS cabinet is designed to create a sense of personal space, maximize player comfort and immerse the player in the game with a state-of-the-art multimedia chair that includes rumble, surround sound and a sliding mechanism for easy entry and adjustable player seating position for ultimate comfort. The high-resolution button panel with the latest touch-screen technology, full-scale illumination and an iconic illuminated sphinx head topping the unique cabinet are the final touches to the package.
“The execution of the 3D effect is simply stunning,” said one judge. “Another great feature is the ability to reduce or eliminate the 3D effect if the player desires to play the game that way.”
Pro Series Wave— BALLY TECHNOLOGIES
Bally’s ALPHA 2 Pro Series Wave features an industry-first 40-inch concave high-definition monitor. The game screen curves gracefully inward, giving a brand new look and feel to any casino floor. The cabinet’s curved touch-screen monitor also provides optimal viewing and increased interaction for players.
The Wave integrates an LCD panel and custom, game-synchronized LED cabinet lighting to enhance the play experience, as well as an iDeck multi-touch button panel. An optional 22-inch Pro Digital Topper commands attention from across the casino floor.
This cabinet’s ergonomic design is a big part of the story. The seat height and placement of the display provide natural viewing of the screen with no player fatigue, while the chair position makes it easier for players to reach the button panel. This is Bally’s first cabinet designed specifically for women, the core slot-player demographic. The lower button panel height and angled footrest provide support for smaller players, while the button panel’s slim design provides more legroom for taller and larger male players.
Bally’s entire library of video-slot games for the Pro Series V22/22 and V32 can be played on the Wave.
“Bally has hit on all cylinders with Pro Series Wave,” said a judge. “They have focused on all the key components of player comfort and have used the new LCD technology available to its fullest advantage.”
Everi— GLOBAL CASH ACCESS (GCA)
A payments and monetization solution for interactive gaming, Everibridges the payments gap between land-based and interactive gaming, integrating with GCA’s extensive network of kiosks and land-based operations, while simultaneously reducing operators’ PCI (payment card industry) compliance burden, increasing operator brand awareness and giving operators more control over their interactive gaming solutions.
Everi acts as a payment aggregator by consolidating numerous payment options—traditional and alternative methods—into one simple-to-integrate payment wall. Everi Digital Wallet, a funds management and payments solution, manages real money and social currencies while bridging disparate game and loyalty systems to provide operators with more robust player data and unique marketing opportunities. Everi Productivity Suite focuses on increasing revenue through player monetization and includes easily accessible detailed reporting, player and transaction analytics and fully customizable offer engines.
Each Everi product is a single integration with modular feature implementation, allowing operators to select as few or as many of the customizable options on offer. Leveraging the sophisticated technology of the Live Gamer’s Elements platform, Everi navigates the ever changing regulatory and legal landscapes to ensure interactive gaming and lottery payments are always in compliance with jurisdictional gaming regulations as well as PCI and PII rules.
“GCA is leaps and bounds ahead with their Everi product,” said one judge. “As online gaming becomes a more prominent part of our landscape, Everi addresses many of the issues players will have with accessibility to their money along with funding their accounts conveniently.”
ClubLinq API— INTERMEZZO
ClubLinq Identity is an open application programming interface (API), which provides casino operators and players’ club members with a secure “player portal” where they can view current entitlement balances, print or download win/loss statements and update profile information. Further, ClubLinq Identity provides the connection or identification of a player’s “social” identity, which is driving a paradigm shift in the importance of big data systems provided by companies like IBM and MicroStrategy.
ClubLinq Offers is a module of the open ClubLinq API, which, through the Identity Portal, provides players’ club members with the ability to view and redeem their direct-mail, automated casino management system offers (i.e. FreePlay) or lodging/dining offers via the secure player portal.
Gaming operators using ClubLinq can enjoy increased profitability through substantial savings via online opt-in for offers, reduction of operator liability by customer ownership of their loyalty account, and heightened brand identity through persistent interaction with club members.
“I like the ability to print win/loss statements and change contact information,” a judge said. “These are typically things the casino does not allow players to do on their own.”
ATTENDEE CHOICE AWARD
Kai— ACRES 4.0
At peak times, customer service transactions overwhelm the capacity of employees to process every need in a timely and satisfying way. Kai allows customers to express needs by text messaging from their mobile phones and engages customers in entertaining games, even when they are not physically at the casino. Kai also provides efficient communication, coordination and management oversight of employee actions on the casino floor by replacing traditional two-way radios with smart mobile devices.
Kai possesses a central intelligence that is programmed with the best practices of casino management and communicates through high-capacity wireless channels to employees within the casino and to players within and beyond the casino.
The product coordinates the activities of security, surveillance, slots, table games, valet, maintenance, hotel and every other department that comprises a modern resort. By unifying and coordinating the actions of employees throughout the property and by better sensing the needs of customers and providing new methods to entertain them, Kai makes possible a greater level of customer service and stimulates revenues at a significant cost savings to traditional methods.
“Kai gets slot communication in line with today’s world by eliminating the radio and the dispatcher and communicates via iPods,” said a judge. “This form of communication is the standard for today’s busy world and a much needed addition to the slot floor.”