Las Vegas-based Next Gaming was founded by Terry Caudill in 2006 and is a privately-owned company focused on creating and distributing leading-edge, quality slot machines and equipment to the U.S. gaming market. The company’s dedicated team brings a combined 10 decades of experience in a number of disciplines including design, technology, state-of-the-art delivery platforms, product development and manufacturing, just to name a few. This combined expertise created a unique slot product company dedicated to working with customers to develop value-oriented solutions that strategically complement the casino floor. Next Gaming also owns two casinos in downtown Las Vegas, the Four Queens and Binion’s Gambling Hall, in addition to multiple bar locations.
Next Gaming CEO Mike Darley recently spoke with Casino Journal Associate Editor Joan Mantini about the company’s successful product lines, new technologies and its plans for the future. Below you will find excerpts from their conversation.
Please describe Next Gaming’s product lines and offerings.
Darley: We have a very broad product selection that encompasses video reel slot games, skill-based games and hybrid/skill-based games, driven by an RNG, which makes us compliant in jurisdictions that have yet to allow skill-based games. Our four game studios are top notch, and provide us with an exciting game library to insure our customers always have new content available. Additionally, our games are offered on multiple cabinet styles to provide flexibility with slot floor layouts and game selections. We have also designed a unique “modular” cabinet that we will be unveiling this year at G2E.
What makes Next Gaming stand out from its competition?
Darley: We currently have five skill-based patents which allows us to design and create multiple variations for the skill-based experience. In addition to that, we have IP licenses with TAITO for Bust-A-Move and Arkanoid, as well as with Atari for Asteroids. At G2E, we will be displaying a total of eight different skill-based games, as well as our video reel games.
Also, with the ownership of multiple gaming establishments, we are in daily contact with our customers which allows us to identify their playing habits and obtain valuable information on their gaming experiences. Actually, it’s like having a focus group offering you feedback on a daily basis.
Demographically speaking, where do you think your products stand out?
Darley: Our video reel products appeal to the “traditional” slot player who enjoys that experience and seeks variety and entertainment value. Our skill-based games appeal to a broad demographic. While the topic of skill-based games generally revolves around the Millennials, there is a much wider range of players who these games will appeal to… the demographic segments that have both time and money—players who are currently in the casinos—but desire a different gaming experience, will be drawn to these games as well.
We have also designed our games to be “intuitive,” which means that based on players past experiences with similar games, though not gambling devices, the player can immediately be immersed in the gaming experience.
Where do you see skill-based gaming going?
Darley: Obviously, skill-based gaming is in early evolution. I think it’s really a natural progression for most consumer-based products—that need to provide new experiences to their audiences. Targeting the Millennials is certainly a logical strategy. What needs to be acknowledged is that skill-based games can be designed to appeal to a wide variety of customers. Based on the complexity of the game, which can be a very wide range, skill games can be designed to engage the novice as well as the hardcore gamer.
Mind you, skill-based gaming is not a panacea which will immediately take over slot floors. There is still a lot to learn. We need to view it as another gaming experience which can attract the younger demographic into wagering in the casinos, enjoy the social interaction and, additionally, offer the current patrons something uniquely different.
What new technologies are you incorporating into your games and gaming devices?
Darley: Our new cabinet products, which will be revealed at G2E, have been designed to offer players a wide variety of gambling experiences, while at the same time allowing casino operators the flexibility of choices to maximize their capital expenditure investments. The new cabinets, combined with our exciting and immersive games add a new dimension to the slot experience.
What do you plan to do to grow your business and product portfolio?
Darley: Next Gaming continues to abide by our focus on inspiration, imagination and innovation. We strive to bring exciting experiences to gamers of all ages.