Interview with Eduardo Aching, Konami’s Vice President of International Gaming Operations

"Horizon 49J marks Konami’s expansion to a different segment of the casino"

"With several of our customers, we arranged to deliver our latest games by the holidays, so they can fully capitalize on their busiest season of the year," says Konami's Eduardo Aching.
Reading time 5:07 min
The executive tells Yogonet the company saw "clear interest and excitement" at G2E Las Vegas for the all-new Horizon 49J video slot cabinet and its merchandising options. He provides insights into Konami’s top cabinets KX 43, Opus, Concerto Crescent, Stack, Slant, and upright with SeleXion technology. Aching says Konami’s game library is demonstrating momentum in the market, with gaming licenses across 392 jurisdictions worldwide.

How do you assess G2E 2019?

The 2019 G2E Las Vegas show was a strong success. Our global customers encountered a number of exciting developments focused on supporting the future of their business. Throughout the event, we had the pleasure of meeting with key customers from markets across the world. This facilitated countless opportunities to share new array of gaming products for diverse markets and player segments.  

Konami’s KX 43 cabinet is a key showcase. It has a 43-inch, edge-lit portrait screen and standard base width. This machine has a competitive lineup of exclusive launch titles —everything from symbol-driven linked progressives to original jackpot bonuses. Ba Fang Jin Bao is among the linked progressive series premiering on KX 43. It showcases proven mechanics from Konami’s popular Cai Li Si Ji titles like Wealth of Dynasty, and delivers it in a single screen format with even more player bet options. Available Ba Fang Jin Bao base games, including Abundant Fortune and Fortune Totems, feature a progressive chance anytime a gold ingot symbol lands on the reels. Another integrated jackpot series on KX 43 is Chili Chili Fire Boosted Wins & Wilds. This game invites fans of Chili Chili Fire to experience the popular Fade Away Feature with an all-new jackpot chance.  

The international release of Konami’s 65-inch Opus cabinet has been met with strong performance in recent months. In many ways, Opus is the next evolution of our Podium Goliath cabinet, which saw strong popularity as the right size of an oversized cabinet, with great game content and reasonable floor space requirements. The Opus machine’s debut launch series, Triple Sparkle, has seen exceptional success by bringing back the popular Sparkle Feature from Solstice Celebration and Riches with Daikoku. Treasure Ball is another high-performing progressive game available on Opus. Inspired by classic toy capsule machines, Treasure Ball can be recognized by its large globe of round mystery prize balls, which players can redeem and reveal during the bonus. In addition, Treasure Ball can combine with most any KP3+ base game, including Lion Carnival, Chili Chili Fire, Sparkling Roses, and our popular multi-game SeleXion.

SeleXion continues to deliver the industry’s most agile and customizable multi-game technology to Concerto Crescent, Stack, Slant, and upright. SeleXion’s expansion to the tall Concerto Stack and curved Concerto Crescent has provided a versatile solution for casinos to feature a library of single screen game releases, including Jewel Reward, Rising Koi, Mayan Chief Great Stacks, Lotus Land Deluxe Wilds, and Agent: Magnifying Jackpots. These titles can all be featured on one machine, giving players access to an entertaining variety of the latest games.

How long will these products take to be marketed in Latin America?

Through the remainder of 2019, we are focused on delivering the newest products to most international customers we serve. With several of our customers, we arranged to deliver our latest games by the holidays, so they can fully capitalize on their busiest season of the year.

Konami revealed the Horizon 49J cabinet with original series as Silent Hill, All Aboard, and Ocean Spin. How would you describe the visitors responses?

We saw clear interest and excitement for the all-new Horizon 49J video slot cabinet and its unique merchandising options. The debut game series All Aboard, Silent Hill, and Ocean Spin helped demonstrate the cabinet’s full presentation and outstanding potential on the floor. As our very latest video slot cabinet, Horizon 49J marks Konami’s expansion to a different segment of the casino. It opens the door for Konami to provide more variety in the high-end slot category.  

Konami Gaming’s Danielle Rankin was awarded with an Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 under 40 Award from The Innovation Group and Global Gaming Business magazine at G2E. What young Konami executive is emerging as a leader or role model in Latin America? Why?

Konami is continually investing in new talent. It is essential to the industry’s future that we strive to bring young professionals into the gaming sector and give them opportunities to grow and advance. 

October's Eilers & Krejcik report has ten total Konami games in its list of 25 Top Indexing New Games - Core, Video Reel, with Dragon's Law Rapid Fever at #1. Why is this kind of ranking important for the company? How does it help to drive Konami's business?

Game performance is a key contributor to long-term asset value for the property. It is important that Konami’s research and development (R&D) team continues to strive for industry-leading game performance, because it positions our direct casino customers for the greatest long-term success and profitability. For example, Dragon’s Law provided an enduring cycle of performance when it was first released, which directly benefited our casino customers while giving proven entertainment value to players. Now Dragon’s Law Rapid Fever is showing similar popularity, ranking first place on industry-wide performance charts. Konami’s game library is demonstrating momentum in the market, and we’re working diligently with our exclusive international distributors to deliver that benefit to casino properties and their players.  

This year Konami Holdings Corporation celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The company claims that during this period has established a corporate culture of success and innovation. Could you name three important milestones? What's ahead?

Specific to the gaming side of the business, the first key milestone was in 1997, when Konami Gaming, Inc. was first established in Nevada. Konami received its first license to manufacture in the U.S. in 2000. Not long after that, Konami Gaming began delivering its first casino slots to market. In the early 2010’s, Konami began expanding its global presence through a network of exclusive distributors who provide centralized service to the local market. This has led to strong distributor partnerships, some spanning upwards of 8 to 12 years. Today Konami carries gaming licenses across 392 jurisdictions worldwide. Tens of thousands of Konami machines reach casino players around the globe each day. Our aim is to continue supporting the industry with future product, while keeping ample attention to the core product that is essential for reaching today’s players.

Three important markets in Latin America are going through socio-political crises. How do you keep the business afloat in under these terms? How do you visualize Peru, Chile and Argentina short and midterm future? What have your partners Atlantic Venture and Pacific Gaming reported to you?

Konami and its distributor partners take these challenges very seriously because they directly impact our customers. We have seasoned, local representatives at Atlantic Venture, Koala Gaming, Pacific Gaming, and HMS Gaming, who actively work to get ahead of foreseeable issues and expertly navigate any unforeseen issues that arise. Likewise, our casino customers carry demonstrated experience and expertise in navigating market shifts, and often have the preparation in place to manage with a high degree of success.

Konami - G2E 2019

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