Every month EILERS-FANITNI publishes the Game Performance Report, which is based on its Central Game Performance Database (GPD) that currently covers over 180,000 slots across North America with another 50,000 slots planned to be tracked before the end of the year.
In this column, I want to showcase the insights and information provided in our Game Performance Report by highlighting some of the multiple game rankings each report provides. What follows are ranking charts for the top five games in certain core, premium and WAP categories, as well as supplier rankings for owned games, as reported in the September 2019 edition of the Game Performance Report:
By way of definition, core games encompass slot machines that can be directly purchased by casinos. For this reason, core games tend to take up a very large percentage of the typical casino slot floor, arguably making this the most important game machine segment for gaming operators.
Within this core machine segment, EILERS-FANITNI index ranking charts focus on “new” and “overall” games—new games must meet specific proprietary criteria as well as benchmarks relating to days on floor and slot cabinet filtering; whereas overall core games require the game themes to be at a much higher number of casinos with significantly more slots tracked across North America. The overall game themes tend to sit at a slightly lower index than their newer counterparts, but indexing eventually evens out as newer games penetrate the market, unless we come across the next big hit which moves from new to overall without index wavering.
As Chart 1 shows, the overall core segment rankings are led by Aristocrat Technologies’ Buffalo Gold. Chart 2, which highlights top ranking new core games, has Rakin Bacon from AGS leading the way. In these top rankings, we see Rakin Bacon cross segmentations as the new game emerges as a hit. We also note the continued dominance of Buffalo Gold and Dancing Drums as these themes reach extends across all casinos.
Unlike core games, premium slots are only available to operators through lease or revenue-share arrangement with game manufacturers, making them among the most scrutinized segments of the casino industry. EILERS-FANITNI breaks premium into three key classifications based on revenue share structures—wide area progressives (WAP), premium lease and premium lease and WAP combined. Exploring the division of the revenue-share segments, WAP is typically the most expensive of revenue-share models with cost to operator around 3 percent of coin in, which usually equates to nearly 30 percent of house win. The premium lease segment is slightly less expensive, with a conventional cost to operators between 15-20 percent of house win. Lastly, we combine the two to get an overall picture as corporate pricing and jurisdictional limitations force some major titles to cross revenue share lines and apply similar “new” criteria as we did for core games.
Buffalo and Dragon Link themes continue to dominate the WAP and premium lease segments (Charts 3 and 4) as Scientific Games’ Twinstar Wave XL emerges as a top performer with Dancing Drums Explosion.
When applying the “new” criteria, the combined premium lease and WAP rankings of Chart 5 are led by Dancing Drums Explosion, two Lightning Link themes, Fortune Gong from IGT, and Everi’s Shark Week.
Another key area of focus in the Game Performance Report is the slot supplier rankings which includes a snapshot of slots, house index, section index and trending by each company. Slot suppliers are also ranked by various fee structures, such as in Chart 6 above.
While not included, I believe it is important to note the disproportionate age of existing market share and the consequential effect that has when comparing overall supplier indexing. Smaller slot suppliers such as AGS, Incredible Technologies and Everi greatly benefit from having a younger age of cabinets currently on casino floors when compared their larger counterparts such as IGT, Scientific Games, and Konami. Aristocrat, however, has been a strong leader in the slot industry with robust performance from the Arc Single to various Helix slot cabinets. Aristocrat also caught traction at a time where video reel games went from 55 percent of slot floor mix to 70 percent, and when their two major competitors underwent major mergers and acquisitions. Aristocrat, striking the iron while it was hot, resulted in a lower average cabinet age than similarly sized industry mainstays.
In this article I shared only samples from the GPD-generated monthly Game Performance Report. Participation for casino operators is open and includes three complimentary monthly reports and free database access, subscriptions are also available for non-casino operators that are interested.