Licensed Games Resonate on the Casino Floor
For the most part, the slot machine industry remains a firm believer in licensed content—games developed from movies, television shows, board games, musical acts and other pop culture themes. Indeed, at last year’s Global gaming Expo (G2E), industry heavy hitters such as IGT, Scientific Games and Aristocrat all unveiled new licensed slot games from topics as diverse as hit cable programs, popular circus acts, cartoons and comic book heroes. To help make sense of this dizzying array of new products, here is a quick company-by-company recap of popular licensed slot content, plus a look at what’s in the pipeline to be introduced later this year and beyond:
POPULAR LICENSED SLOTS OF THE PAST AND
PRESENT: Avatar, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, Jeopardy, Sex and the City, Dolly Parton, Batman, Centipede, Beverly Hillbillies, Family Guy, Back to the Future, CSI, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Wheel of Fortune, Deal Or No Deal, King Kong, Bejeweled, Zuma, Plants vs. Zombies, The Money Drop.
NEW LICENSED SLOTS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND: Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, TMZ Video Slots.
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) continued the company’s tradition of bringing cutting-edge pop culture brands to the G2E trade show floor, delving deep into to some controversial, but extremely popular, broadcast and cable television shows. IGT partnered with the producers of reality news show TMZ to create TMZ Video Slots. This interactive theme introduced a never-before-seen gaming technology—the ability for a player to take a head shot, customize it, and make it into a character in the game, which is centered on the show’s newsroom and a tour of several hot Hollywood celebrity hangouts.
IGT also introduced a new spin on one of Netflix’s most watched series, with House of Cards Power and Money Video Slots and House of Cards Welcome to Washington Video Slots.
IGT also partnered with Lionsgate to create a slot concept based on the company’s extremely popular Orange Is the New Black cable series. Orange Is the New Black Slots launched on IGT’s social gaming mobile and desktop website, DoubleDown Casino, the same day that IGT unveiled two casino versions of the game at G2E. This marks the first time that IGT has launched a marquee licensed brand on DoubleDown Casino concurrently with the debut of a land-based casino version of the game, according to a company press release.
The IGT Orange Is the New Black Video Slots for casinos will offer two captivating game themes on the Company’s Center Stage Duo cabinet. Each game can award one of three multi‐level progressive awards displayed on the 55-inch top screen. The Orange game features completely new math in a 4X5 reel configuration and the Black game displays a 3X5 reel in a 30 payline game. Players can experience clips, music, characters and sound bites from the award‐winning series.
“Lionsgate has created some of the greatest entertainment brands in the world,” said Joe Sigrist, senior vice president and DoubleDown Casino general manager got IGT. “Our companies share a passion for delivering premium content across multiple platforms, and our collaboration inspired tremendous creativity and authenticity in the Orange is the New Black Slots. Each of the games captures the essence of this blockbuster series in unique ways that fans will appreciate.”
Other new content from previously introduced licensed slot themes included The Ellen DeGeneres Show Have a Little Fun Today video slots game, additions to the Jurassic Park video slots family and a fourth game to the James Cameron’s Avatar video slots series, James Cameron’s Avatar The Sacred Bond video slots.
POPULAR LICENSED SLOTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: Ironman, Wizard of Oz, Battleship, The Lord of the Rings, Clue, The Price is Right, Star Trek, Game of Life, I Love Lucy, KISS, The Jetsons, Top Gun, Yahtzee, Willie Wonka, The Flintstones, Elton John, Mad Men, Gremlins, Elvis, Austin Powers, Monopoly, Titanic, David Copperfield, Michael Jackson, Grease, NASCAR, Betty Boop, ZZ Top, Pawn Stars, The Beach Boys, Wonder Woman, Duck Dynasty, Friends, Playboy.
NEW LICENSED SLOTS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND: THE SIMPSONS, KOOZA (Cirque du Soleil), Space Invaders Evolution, Cher, Caddyshack, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Margaritaville.
Scientific Games through its Bally and WMS brands also continues to release as steady stream of new licensed slot games. At G2E, Scientific Games announced a new partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Gracie Films, the producers of the long-running hit The Simpsons, and took the wraps off a new concepts based on the animated TV show. THE SIMPSONS slot game was featured on Sci Games new Gamescape cabinet and stars Homer and Marge Simpson, Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and many other iconic characters from the show, according to company press materials. The pioneering Gamescape cabinet utilizes three vivid, high-definition displays that angle toward the player, and a 40- inch curved top screen that surrounds the player. Additionally, an ergonomic 10.4-inch tablet button panel integrates gameplay to coordinate graphics across multiple displays. The result is five unique screens that virtually combine to create an expanded platform for stunning graphics and seamless motion.
“THE SIMPSONS game on our new Gamescape cabinet combines one of the most recognizable and beloved brands in the world with some of the greatest innovations in the gaming industry,” said Derik Mooberry, group chief executive, gaming for Scientific Games. “We are extremely proud to work closely with Fox Consumer Products and Gracie Films on the development of this game, and believe players around the globe will be thrilled with the experience.”
Scientific Games also unveiled a new slot line based on the renowned Cirque du Soleil acrobatic troop. The first game in the series, called Kooza, is an eye-catching, bonus-rich slot game that transports players into the extraordinary world of KOOZA, an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, courage, and total sensory immersion. Featuring a four-level jackpot along with engaging bonus events, a U-Spin wheel bonus feature, two free game features, a mystery stack feature and an instant win, the Cirque du Soleil gaming experience featuring KOOZA delivers unparalleled entertainment experience that thrills players like they are part of the show’s live audience.
In other Sci Games licensed games news, music personality Cher performs five of her most popular hits in the CHER Live video slot, which was presented on the Pro Series V22/32 platform. A Concert Wheel awards credits and five free games bonuses: Believe, Turn Back Time, It’s in His Kiss, All or Nothing, and Strong Enough. Meanwhile, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and CADDYSHACK made their slot debut on the WMS Blade cabinet. These hot new themes will have players reliving two classic and quotable films.
POPULAR LICENSED SLOTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: Walking Dead, Tarzan, Batman The Classic TV Series, Rolling Stones, Phantom, The Mummy, Flashdance, Mission Impossible, Let’s Make a Deal, Jaws, Britney Spears, Ted, Sons of Anarchy, Superman The Movie, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory.
SLOTS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND: Downton
Abbey, Dumb & Dumber, A Christmas Story, Man
Aristocrat Technologies continues to make a bigger and bigger splash in the licensed games pool. Its new brands-to-lease offerings at G2E included slots based on a popular PBS television series (Downton Abbey), a movie franchise (Dumb & Dumber), and the latest iteration for its Superman-inspired line, Man of Steel. Also showcased and offered for immediate distribution was the iconic holiday comedy, A Christmas Story. According to company press materials, players of the game will join Ralphie, the Old Man, Mother Parker, and all the other beloved movie characters for a present of epic proportions.
Aristocrat also offered new cabinet formats for many of its existing licensed themes, including Sons of Anarchy Slot Game, The Big Bang Theory Slot Game, The Big Bang Theory Bazinga! Slot Game and Britney Spears Slot Game. Game of Thrones, the hit HBO series, was also featured on the company’s new ARC Double cabinet. In addition to the base game features, three scatter symbols trigger the Game of Thrones Wheel Feature, which may trigger one of four bonus features: The Wall Feature in which eight spins are awarded during which the reel set can grow up to 16 symbols high or 134 lines; Battle of Blackwater Bay Feature in which six free games are awarded on a new reel set which includes dynamic stack symbols and wilds added; Mother of Dragons Feature where the player chooses a dragon egg defining a multiplier sequence and number of picks; and a Progressive Feature where players are awarded a number of picks proportionate to their bet for a chance to win credit prizes or progressive jackpots.
POPULAR LICENSED SLOTS OF THE PAST AND
PRESENT: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.
NEW LICENSED SLOTS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND: Frogger.
Konami Gaming channeled video games of yesteryear for licensed content inspiration and emerged with Frogger, a video slot machine based on the classic arcade brand, which the company showcased on its Podium Monument cabinet. According to company literature, the launch of Frogger signifies a landmark IP release from Konami Digital Entertainment’s iconic arcade legacy to its casino gambling sector.
Two debut game themes were shown, each with a four-level standalone progressive and featuring classic Konami game mechanics such as Action Stacked Symbols and Xtra Reward. Great City Wilds showcased a random Frogger Bonus in which arcade-animated tractors push away the reels, revealing a classic Frogger crossing course. Three “lives” are awarded and the player has a chance to watch the frog character hop its way to increasing bonus awards across the lower screen and up into the tall top box. Similar to Great City Wilds, Woodland Wilds also includes a classic Frogger rendition during the bonus game, but its primary character is a bedazzled girl frog. Players can win up to 20 free games, where two additional reel sets are added on the top screen. Any full-reel wild symbols appearing on the upper-most set of reels are copied across the rest of the upper screen.
Konami’s popular DUNGEONS & DRAGONS video slots now tally a total of six different themes with two new G2E releases: Accolades of Waterdeep and Fortunes of Waterdeep. In addition, Konami announced the series’ first international release with Enchanted Riches and Conquests & Treasures. Each game offers new surprises and artistic creativity to captivate and retain core slot players and fantasy fans alike. In terms of hardware, all DUNGEONS & DRAGONS games operate on the same premium Podium Monument cabinet, with three custom bezel options to accompany different series releases—a brick bezel, a fire bezel, and a marble Waterdeep city bezel.
POPULAR LICENSED SLOTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Family Feud.
NEW LICENSED SLOTS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND: Twinkie 7’s.
The American Gaming Systems (AGS) booth at G2E featured the company’s TV gameshow-inspired licensed slot products. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is the first game in the company’s It Pays to Know series, which is marked by the trivia bonus game, in which players can actually earn more by knowing the correct answers to trivia questions. A player wins the progressive by answering the questions correctly on the first guess. Players can accumulate features in the base game such as “Re-Do”, “Eliminator” and “Stats” that will improve their chances of winning a progressive in the trivia bonus round.
The Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? video slot game tests a player’s trivia knowledge, with the trivia bonus is based upon actual questions from the television program. The more players know, the more they can win, according to company press materials.
Housed in the larger-than-life and visually arresting Skytower cabinet, Family Feud is the latest addition to the It Pays to Know series. The game is based on one of the most popular game shows of all time and features survey questions and answers directly from the show. By choosing the most popular answers, players can actually affect the outcome of their bonus round and wins.
In other AGS licensed game news, the company’s interactive division (AGSi) has inked a deal with Hostess and, in turn, is launching a slot game titled Twinkie 7’s on its successful play-for-fun Lucky Play Casino app for iOS. Aside from making players really hungry, the Twinkie 7’s game features some of Hostess’ most popular treats—Ho Hos, Sno Balls, and of course, Twinkies—as bonus symbols. Earning a certain amount of these bonus symbols triggers a Triple Wheel Bonus round, leading to even bigger wins.
“The launch of Twinkie 7’s is an exciting milestone for AGSi and significantly bolsters our growing library of social casino titles,” said Mani Honigstein, general manager of AGSi. “Equally exciting is our new partnership with the iconic and beloved Hostess brand, which creates potential for more opportunities in the future. We are confident that Twinkie 7’s will not only resonate well with the Millennial demographic on social casino channels but also with long-time fans of the classic treats.”
AINSWORTH GAME TECHNOLOGY
POPULAR LICENSED SLOTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: The Magnificent 7, Showgirls, The Sound of Music.
NEW LICENSED SLOTS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND: Cinderella, Three Amigos.
Ainsworth continued to grow their participation offerings with the unveiling of two licensed titles at G2E—Cinderella and Three Amigos.
Based on the beloved story written for the stage by Rogers and Hammerstein, this romantic version of Cinderella contains favorite characters from the classic story including Cinderella, her Prince and Fairy Godmother. This licensed line consists of two titles—Rogers & Hammerstein Cinderella and Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella The Glass Slipper.
Three Amigos! is based on the 1986 hit American comedy and features the hilarious characters—Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander. The game is part of Ainsworth’s Premium Plus line and is housed on the A560 SL cabinet.
Ainsworth also launched new titles for it’s The Sound of Music Franchise—The Sound Of Music My Favorite Things and The Sound of Music Do Re Mi. Its Showgirls-themed slot line also had a new game, Showgirls Encore.