Interview with Eduardo Aching, Vice President, International Gaming Operations Konami Gaming

"In 2019, Konami will be providing fresh content for the Concerto Collection"

"Over the past year we’ve been encouraged by momentum across Europe, Latin America, and Caribbean, and looking ahead, we’re focused on continuing that support," says Aching.
Reading time 3:18 min
At ICE, Vice President International Gaming Operations Konami Gaming Eduardo Aching talks to Yogonet about the opportunities created by the expo, what he reads of Konami's performance in 2018 and hopes for the future of the firm.

Konami is expanding its Crescent library and launching 4K cabinets like Opus and KX 43. Why should operators take into consideration these products?

Konami’s curved Concerto Crescent cabinet is quickly gaining an international presence. In addition to the visual attraction of the 43-inch curved screen, the strength of the Crescent game library has helped drive meaningful international expansion for this cabinet. It can feature the latest top-performing Strike Zone games, such as Agent: Magnifying Jackpots and Inspector: Sign of the Jackpots. Both are SeleXion multi-game compatible, so they can be combined on Crescent with a mix of other game theme options for players to enjoy. Konami’s new Color Bloom series is also arriving to ICE 2019 for the first time. Based on the popularity of Sparkling Roses, Sparkling Roses: Color Bloom and Classy Roses: Color Bloom both feature the popular Multiple Lines 15 Reels mechanic that players enjoy, now with an added symbol-driven linked progressive for even more excitement.

This year also marks the ICE debut of Konami’s first 4K Ultra HD slots: Concerto Opus and KX 43. These machines provide proven Konami content—from the latest Strike Zone series to classics like Solstice Celebration and Riches with Daikoku—with the added benefit of immersive 4K graphics, 4-times the resolution of standard high-definition. Concerto Opus features an extra-large 65-inch display, and during ICE will showcase a one-of-a-kind linked progressive game called Treasure Ball. Treasure Ball can combine with most any KP3+ base game, including Dragon’s Law Twin Fever, Chili Chili Fire, and Sparkling Roses. It is recognizable by its large globe of round mystery prize balls, which players can redeem and reveal during the bonus. Players are rewarded with mystery jackpot prize balls in greater numbers and sizes as they increase their bet.

Konami’s new KX 43 features a 43-inch 4K display, slant top, dual cup holders, dual classic bash buttons, and standard base width. Among the debut launch series on KX 43 is a 4-level linked progressive called Ba Fang Jin Bao, which features a progressive chance anytime a gold ingot symbol lands on the reels.

How well does the firm product offering encourage innovation for the customer through versatility, usability, and efficiency?

As a leading global games developer, Konami places a strong importance on empowering operators with flexible technology to accommodate a broad range of innovative applications. For example, Konami’s Smash Smash Festival linked jackpot game hit international markets just last year, with a totally unique mechanic that progresses the number of mystery prizes in a central prize pool in lieu of incrementing progressive meters. To localize the product for delivery abroad, we equipped international operators with flexible configuration options including a variety of selections for language, currency, denomination, and jackpot values. In addition, we developed Smash Smash Festival with SeleXion multi-game compatibility, which allows operators to feature up to 8 or 10 different base game options on a single machine in addition to the linked progressive bonus. With these measures in-place, Smash Smash Festival has become an extraordinary international success for Konami, its customers, and its exclusive international distributors. International operators have the flexibility to configure the series according to their unique market needs and optimize each game position with a custom multi-game mix, therefore delivering the highest experience for players while maximizing performance potential.

This year at ICE London, Konami is continuing the success of Smash Smash Festival with an entire lineup of original new linked progressives, from SeleXion-compatible extended ROM progressives to integrated symbol-driven progressives. All will offer localization options.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the company right now?

Over the past year we’ve been encouraged by momentum across Europe, Latin America, and Caribbean, and looking ahead, we’re focused on continuing that support and ensuring that international operators have access to the latest top gaming products. In 2019, Konami will be providing an array of fresh content for the Concerto Collection, including Crescent, Stack, Slant, and upright. These formats have been strong for customers abroad and we look forward to growing that performance and value even further with more original game releases. Concerto Opus and KX 43 are further on the horizon for international operators and Konami is also laying the necessary foundation to take those new slot formats abroad.

Victor Duarte was included in Global Gaming Business Magazine's list 25 People to Watch. How important is this recognition for the company? What can we expect from him this year?

Victor Duarte’s recognition in GGB’s 25 People to Watch in 2019 has been an exciting headline for our organization. Last fall he was appointed our Sr. Vice President & Chief Product & Strategy Officer, to lead Konami’s strategy and execution for games R&D. We believe his leadership and expertise will help Konami to continue to grow its global presence and product performance.

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