Designing a slot cabinet in today’s gaming industry can be a rather challenging affair. After all, these new or upgraded cabinet lines must meet a lot of disparate needs: they must stand out on the slot floor to make operators happy, be comfortable and enticing to keep players coming back and, last but not least, be high-tech and flexible enough to house the latest cutting-edge game concepts from game designers.

So you can imagine just how pleased AGS is since its last three slot cabinet launches have not only met but surpassed these three criteria. This run of success started with the company’s ICON cabinet, which has become the repository for its core games library. At last October’s G2E, AGS showcased new core games for ICON that included original titles like Capital Gains, Grand Royale and Jade Dragon. These new games combined with a multi-link progressive innovation—Money Charge Jackpots—and dynamic sign packages for an experience that heightens player anticipation and creates more frequent wins. Luck and Prosperity, Koi Riches and Wild Surpize add to the ICON game library as well, with links to Hot $ Jackpots, another new progressive family featuring core-gambler style math and gripping bonuses.

The ICON cabinet was followed by Orion, which debuted in 2016 and showcases the company’s premium games suite. Over the past year, AGS has deepened its Orion game library to include new titles that continue to drive performance well above house average. With graphics and bonus features that take advantage of its 42-inch display and 498 game-controlled LED lights, Fu Bao Bei, Lucky Lil’ Devils and Olympus Strikes are full of surprises driven by solid math to keep performance sky high.

The past G2E also saw the introduction of AGS’ latest slot cabinet concept—Orion Slant, which will offer the same feature set as Orion but in a smaller footprint. Orion Slant is expected to rollout out by Q2 this year.

One of the executives overseeing AGS’ slot strategy is Brett Vela, product manager for the company. He recently took some time to answer questions from Slot Management & Marketing Editor Paul Doocey regarding Orion and Orion Slant. Below are some excerpts from this exchange:

AGS unveiled its Orion cabinet in 2016 and launched it into the field 2017. How has it performed?

VELA: Since its official launch in Q1 2017, Orion has consistently performed above house average nearly everywhere it’s been placed—we currently have more than 2,000 units in the field and that number just continues to grow. We couldn’t be happier about its performance and how players and operators have responded to its unique design and game play.

What sets the Orion cabinet apart from the competition?

VELA: Orion’s cabinet design is remarkably unique. From its 42-inch LCD HD touchscreen portrait monitor to the striking 498 full-color LED lights that encircle it, players gravitate toward its appealing look and its crisp, clear game graphics. The content also sets it apart—it’s fueled by an impressive mix of premium game content in high-volatility format, multi-linked progressives, and incredible bonus features. But perhaps one of the most original aspects is that it’s truly a player-first design—when players sit down to play, their eyes hit the main screen without having to strain their necks, and the height of the cabinet is lower than most premium cabinets giving it very pleasing sightlines across the casino floor. It’s also unique in that we offer this premium product for sale or for lease giving customers’ true purchasing flexibility. 

What new Orion cabinet games can operators look forward to in 2018?

VELA: Operators are going to have more game title choices than ever. Beyond our high-performing titles like River Dragons and Fu Nan Fu Nu, we have some of our best game titles coming in 2018 and we’re certain players are going to love them just as much, if not more than, our current games in the market. New games are going to include more games that link to our Xtreme Jackpots Progressive system and have some dynamic features built into them that are entirely new to AGS. Our Xtreme Jackpots Progressive system is unique, too, in that it’s a progressive ecosystem that connects across our ICON and Orion cabinets to offer much larger jackpot totals that happen more frequently. 

How did the Orion Slant come about? How is it different from Orion?

VELA: We designed the Orion Slant based on feedback from our customers who wanted to add diversity to their slot floors. With Orion Slant, we’ve taken the proven design language of our Orion Portrait cabinet and transformed it into a smaller package to offer customers more options for their underserved slant-top footprint.

Please describe the features of Orion Slant that set it apart from other cabinets…

VELA: Our new Orion Slant cabinet magnifies the innovation of our award-winning Orion Premium Portrait cabinet with its consistently unmatched performance, distinctive style and incredible flexibility. This new configuration builds off Orion’s uniquely entertaining design in a slant-top format, giving operators a new option for their underserved slant-top offerings. At 69 inches tall and 28 inches wide, the Orion Slant’s smart footprint and idyllic sight lines enable casinos to showcase what lies beyond the casino floor while still attracting players into the diverse mix of Orion Slant’s premium game titles. Featuring a 32-inch top monitor, 24-inch bottom monitor, an LCD button deck and a USB charging port, the Orion Slant offers players a comfortable yet immersive gaming experience.

We consider the Orion Slant a core-plus product, which for us means that the cabinet’s price point and design is between premium and core products, and the games we offer on it are rich experiences that feel like premium game content and really hold players attention.

Will AGS be developing games specifically for Orion Slant?

VELA: Yes, we will be developing a wide range of games. Some will use proven math models with all new graphics, others will be brand new and have new mechanics.

Will Orion Slant be a lease or for sale cabinet?

VELA: We’re committed to offering our customers flexibility with pricing, so like our other cabinet products the Orion Slant will be available for sale or lease.

What is the rollout for Orion Slant? When will it be available for customers?

VELA: Preorders are available today. We expect our first installs to happen in Q2 2018.