Few would argue against the fact that licensed material continues to be the lifeblood of new slot machine content and games for the land-based and online casino industries.

An idea of just how strong a factor licensing remains within the gaming machine marketplace was easily evident at G2E, where a number of leading slot vendors showcased new games based on popular movies, cult TV series, television game shows, board games, singers, performers… the list was truly endless. In fact, one major slot manufacturer—Everi—officially entered the licensed content fray, displaying machines based on classic movies, renown Las Vegas acts and cartoon television series. Also fueling the licensing fire is the ascendency of skill-based slots, and the desire of game producers to base play mechanics on familiar arcade-style game themes such as Space Invaders and Frogger.

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:


AINSWORTH GAME TECHNOLOGY

POPULAR LICENSED PRODUCTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: The Magnificent 7, Showgirls, The Sound of Music, Cinderella, Three Amigos.

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND:  King Kong, King Kong Skull Island, Three Amigos Ride Again, The Magnificent Seven Reloaded, Pac-Man.

Ainsworth recently launched its A640 slot cabinet which included new licensed content—King Kong, King Kong Skull Island, Three Amigos Ride Again and The Magnificent Seven Reloaded.

King Kong features a thrilling free games feature played in a sky scraping 9x5 format with an array of random multipliers, re-triggers and massive wins. Additionally, a second King Kong-themed title—Kong of Skull Island—will be available in the coming months, according to company literature.

Three Amigos Ride Again is an entertaining new game based on the 1986 hit American comedy, The Three Amigos!, featuring the hilarious characters—Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander. The slot includes eight free games with multipliers, reveal symbols and retriggers. At the beginning of the free games, five wheels spin to reveal a feature enhancement. The game also has 10 free games with multipliers and held wilds with bonus retriggers as well as a Progressive Piñata feature.

The Magnificent Seven Reloaded, based on the iconic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film from the 1960s, has players attempting to trigger free games with increasing multipliers, the Super Games feature and four levels of progressive jackpots.

Perhaps the biggest news on the licensing front for Ainsworth was its recent strategic partnership deal with BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, a leading global video game developer, with the goal of creating casino products that will fuse the best of slot gaming with arcade, console, mobile and video game technology. Creating a slot concept for BANDAI NAMCO’s popular Pac-Man game is expected to be the first project tackled by the partnership.


ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES

POPULAR LICENSED PRODUCTS 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, Downton Abbey, Dumb & Dumber, A Christmas Story, Man of Steel, Magic Mike.

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: Tim McGraw, Mariah Carey, Game of Thrones II, The Big Lebowski, The X Files, Candy Land, Mystery Date, Zorro, Tapatio, My Cousin Vinny, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Sharknado.

Operators know that no two players are alike, which is why Aristocrat offers its customers one of the most diverse product portfolios in gaming, one that has been created to appeal to every type of casino player. Entertainment-seekers, jackpot-hunters, core gamers and players who love top entertainment brands will find exactly what they are looking for in Aristocrat games according to company press materials.

Of course, games are nothing without performance, and Aristocrat’s substantial R&D process helps create games that arrive on the scene as the future of the floor, standing on a solid footing of experience to create winning games in Class II and Class III. Its diverse portfolio of performing games is brought to life by unsurpassed innovation, and Aristocrat is creating the trends and changing the face of the floor.

Operators whose players love top entertainment brands will thrill to the lineup of new licensed titles Aristocrat has developed and will introduce in upcoming months including games based on music personalities (Tim McGraw and Mariah Carey), present and past television fare (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, The X-Files, Sharknado, Zorro and a new version of Games of Thrones), board games (Candy Land and Mystery Date), movies (The Big Lebowski and My Cousin Vinny) and products (Tapatio).


EVERI HOLDINGS

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: Fruit Ninja, Penn & Teller, Casablanca, Underdog, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hot Stuff the Little Devil, Richie Rich.

Everi entered the licensing slot marketplace in 2017, launching a number of new games based on movies, cartoon shows, Las Vegas acts and popular mobile games.

At Global gaming Expo (G2E), Everi showcased Penn & Teller and Casablanca games on its new Empire MPX cabinet. The premium participation Empire MPX cabinet features a 40-inch full HD display, game-controlled lighting with backlight feature, a new ergonomic LCD button deck, a mobile device recharge dock with two USB ports, two overhead spotlight features and an optional 65-inch full HD overhead Foundation sign. Penn & Teller and Casablanca are five reel video games that will be offered as WAP games for Class II markets (the company’s first ever Class II WAP games) and as premium daily lease fee games with a local-area progressive top prize for Class III markets, according to company literature.

Other Everi licensed slot content includes Underdog, a five-reel, 27-line video game, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, a five-reel, 40-line video game, which debuted on the Core HDX and Player HD cabinet. New to the High Rise Games series is Richie Rich, a five-reel video game featuring an eight-tier progressive.

Everi Holdings also entered the skill games fray with its licensed Fruit Ninja standalone premium machine. The game features unique skill-based game play as players slice fruit using the game’s unique Swipe Touch technology while operators can set the underlying skill level.


GAMBLIT GAMING

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: Catapult King, Into the Dead, The Brookhaven Experiment, Road Redemption, Playboy Pinball and Jetpack Joyride

As a leading innovator of real-money and skill gaming, Gamblit Gaming develops and publishes a wide variety of games that bring a casual, arcade sense of fun and skill into the casino market. Gamblit Gaming also works closely with game developers to gamblify and publish their games into new markets, tapping into the lucrative revenue streams of real-money mobile gaming and land-based casinos. As a result, Gamblit offers a variety of wagering games based on popular mobile and computer game licenses. For example, Gamblit recently entered into an exclusive partnership with Halfbrick Studios, an Australia-based videogame developer, to bring the award winning mobile game Jetpack Joyride to land-based casinos. Halfbrick Studios will work closely with Gamblit Gaming to enhance the Jetpack Joyride experience with real-money gaming elements while maintaining the core gameplay that has led to its international success, according to a press release.  The high flying adventure game, Jetpack Joyride with an astounding 350 million downloads and 14 million monthly active users will get “gamblified” and hit casino floors in late 2017 on Gamblit’s TriStation game machine.

Gamblit inked a similar deal with PikPok, a New Zealand-based videogame publisher, to “gamblify” two of its successful mobile titles: Into the Dead, the popular first-person runner game depicting a zombie apocalypse that has been downloaded more than 60 million times, and Breakneck, the high-octane futuristic racing game with over 5 million downloads. Both titles are set to launch on casino floors in 2017, according to the company.

This same strategy has carried over to The Brookhaven Experiment, Gamblit’s initial foray into virtual reality-based games with real-money wagering mechanics. The Brookhaven Experiment is based on a virtual reality game of the same name developed originally by Phosphor Games. Gamblit is also entering the eSports market with its G-Sports platform, which will initially feature Road Redemption, a hit PC and console game.


GAMECO

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: Mission: Impossible, Paranormal Activity, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Much like Gamblit, GameCo made a splash at G2E with its skill-based slot machine gaming platform. Since the show, the company announced a major licensing deal with Paramount Pictures, and will develop games based on the hit movies Mission: Impossible, Paranormal Activity and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

GameCo’s proprietary video game gambling machine (VGM) is an arcade-style video game cabinet featuring a single-player game, generally 45-90 seconds to play, adapted from top console, PC and mobile developers, according to a press release.

GameCo is in the process of developing a racing game based on the Mission: Impossible franchise, a hidden object game themed to Paranormal Activity, and a platformer experience adapted from the cult classic comedy, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The patented VGM gambling platform allows a player’s skill to determine the payout and winnings, while maintaining the same casino economics as slot machines. 

GameCo recently launched at Caesars Entertainment properties in Atlantic City, making it the first skill-based gaming company in the world to debut its product on casino floors. VGMs are currently placed in prominent locations at all three Atlantic City Caesars Entertainment properties, with three triple-unit carousels at Caesars, two at Harrah’s Resort and two at Bally’s Wild Wild West.


IGT

POPULAR LICENSED PRODUCTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: American Idol, Avatar, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bridesmaids, Charlie’s Angles, Entourage, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, Jeopardy, Sex and the City, Dolly Parton, Godzilla, Dark Knight, Jenga, I Dream of Jeannie, Jeopardy, Judge Judy, Sherlock Holmes, True Blood, The Hangover, Wyland, Family Guy, Back to the Future, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Wheel of Fortune, Deal Or No Deal, Bejeweled, Zuma, Plants vs. Zombies, Tokidoki, Money Drop, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, TMZ Video Slots.

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: The Voice, The Ellen DeGeneres Show Sharing the Love, The Goonies, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Slots, How to Marry a Millionaire, Rubik’s Slots, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Wheel of Fortune Gold Spin Double Diamond, Wheel of Fortune Double Times Pay, Jurassic World 3D, Zuma 3D, Baywatch 3D, Betty White.

As usual, International Game Technology PLC (IGT) introduced a wide range of new licensed game content at G2E, much of it adapted to cabinet products. For example, The Ellen DeGeneres Show Sharing the Love and The Goonies were two new games for IGT’s CrystalCurve ULTRA cabinet. The towering hardware solution features a 32-inch, curved landscape touchscreen display that is topped with a 50-inch, curved portrait display. Meanwhile, the company’s CrystalDual + Stepper cabinet, which combines the mechanical reels from the S3000 cabinet with a 40-inch upper LCD screen, came with a new content library that includes games derived from the classic Marilynn Monroe movies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire.

This year, IGT will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wheel of Fortune slots with the introduction of new game themes on a variety of hardware solutions. For example, Wheel of Fortune Double Times Pay 3x4x5x 3D game is a new product for the AXXIS 3D cabinet. Following the success of the company’s first Wheel of Fortune 3D title, this new game features TRUE 3D Reels technology and utilizes the math and symbol set of the classic Double Times Pay 3x4x5x game. IGT will also place the Wheel of Fortune Gold Spin Double Diamond game on its new large format mechanical reel MEGATOWER cabinet.

IGT continues to expand its library of TRUE 3D titles, giving players even more options for glasses-free 3D entertainment. At G2E, IGT displayed the Zuma 3D game featuring seven “must-hit by” progressives; the Jurassic World 3D game full of gripping cinematic 3D content and the Baywatch 3D game which brings some of TV’s most iconic beach scenes to life in a 3D gaming environment.

Several of pop culture’s hottest themes also made their way to the tradeshow floor on IGT’s CrystalCore cabinet. Boasting stunning visuals on its 42-inch vertical touchscreen display, the CrystalCore cabinet will bring to life themes such as Charlie’s Angels, Rubick’s Cube and Sherlock Holmes.


KONAMI GAMING

POPULAR LICENSED PRODUCTS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, Frogger.

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: Frogger: Get Hoppin’, Beat Square, Hot Press Winnings, Castlevania.

Like many slot machine vendors, Konami introduced multiple skill-game slot concepts at G2E. For inspiration, the company turned to its vast library of arcade-style games, converting three into slot prototypes—an all-skill play version of its popular Frogger franchise called Frogger: Get Hoppin’; a rhythmic DJ-style game called Beat Square; and a skillstop VIP premium game called Hot Press Winnings.

According to press releases, Frogger: Get Hoppin’ offers a for-wager twist on the arcade classic, it combines piano-style button melodies with the iconic road and river crossing course in a 15-second race to increasing scores and cash prizes. Frogger: Get Hoppin’ offers a skill-based three-level standalone progressive jackpot, and players can also enter a bonus wheel spin four-level standalone progressive that improves the jackpot chance relative to their game score.

Another music-infused skill concept is a rhythmic dexterity skill game called Beat Square. With a nod to Konami creations like Dance Dance Revolution, Beat Square allows players to select song tracks and compete for top scores
by tapping synchronized rhythmic
patterns across a series of colorful touch buttons.

Konami’s Hot Press Winnings presents a luxury VIP gaming experience with multi-tiered monitor displays for immersive gambling entertainment. Hot Press Winnings is a new skill-stop concept that allows players to impact the timing of the slot reel stop, for higher potential line wins. Similar to how a player presses the spin button for random outcomes, they can signal the bonus reel to stop and determine their award based on their reaction.


SCIENTIFIC GAMES

POPULAR PRODUCTS 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, The Simpsons, KOOZA (Cirque du Soleil), Space Invaders Evolution, Cher, Caddyshack, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Margaritaville.

NEW LICENSED PRODUCTS FOR 2017 AND BEYOND: Seinfeld, The Bachelor, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Godfather, Johnny Cash, Tetris.

Scientific Games also pushed licensed product for new platforms at G2E. To start, Scientific Games announced a multi-property, multi-year partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to turn powerful Warner Bros. content into compelling gaming products. The fruits of this arrangement were already evident at G2E in the following slots that featured Warner Bros. themes:

The Seinfeld slot game is based on the 10-time Emmy Award-winning American sitcom that ran for nine seasons from 1989-1998. Seinfeld’s apartment and his group of eccentric friends are the primary focus of the show and Scientific Games’ Seinfeld slot game. The game merges the consumer-favorite hit TV series with the company’s revolutionary Gamescape slot platform, which offers players a one-of-a-kind play experience. The feature-rich gameplay fully captures the Seinfeld characters’ antics, timeless humor and quirky plotlines that continue to entertain fans worldwide.

The Bachelor, a game based on the hit romance reality series from Warner Horizon Television, is a beautifully rendered low-denomination three-reel game on the Blade Stepper, with a five-level progressive jackpot and six bonus features—Limousine Arrival, Rose Ceremony, Destination Date, Fantasy Suite and a spinning wheel in the shape of the iconic Bachelor engagement ring.

The National Lampoon’s Vacation game on the GameField XDcabinet presents a WAP top award, free spins, a wheel bonus and two themed features—The Griswold Family Vacation Bonus and Wally World Free Spins.

Other new licensed products featured by Scientific Games at G2E included The Godfather, Johnny Cash and Tetris.