Eduardo Aching, VP of International Gaming Operations

"2023 was a year of increasing momentum across different product sectors for Konami"

Reading time 3:53 min

The closing year was a rewarding one for designer and manufacturer Konami Gaming. The company was able to progress its mission to integrate more creative entertainment options into its traditional land-based product, while its iGaming arm broadened its reach into social gaming and wagering sites by offering its popular slot brands for omnichannel game delivery. Additionally, Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system kept seeing strong global interest.

In an exclusive interview with Yogonet, Eduardo Aching, Vice President of International Gaming Operations at Konami, discusses the company's trajectory over the past year and shares insights into the outlook for 2024.

As you look back on the year, what overarching assessment can you provide regarding Konami's performance in 2023?

It was a year of increasing momentum across different product sectors, and continued efforts toward strengthening partnerships with casino customers.

Konami’s traditional land-based product is building back with more creative entertainment options. Our iGaming team is also reaching more social gaming and for-wager sites with Konami’s popular slot brands, for omni-channel games delivery.  Additionally, Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system is seeing strong global interest for its latest tools and technology, spanning mobile solutions, reporting and analytics, compliance, and more.

In terms of memorable moments, what would you consider the highlights that defined Konami's journey in 2023?

ICE London 2023 was an important milestone. It marked our first return to the event since before the pandemic. It also marked the ICE debut of our expanded DIMENSION cabinet line, to include stacked screen DIMENSION 27 and portrait screen DIMENSION 49. Not to mention, the show also achieved record attendance, with more than 40,000 casino executives and professionals from markets across the globe. We are looking forward to returning to ICE London again in the new year.

This fall we also celebrated the first launch of Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system in Puerto Rico. The debut was very successful, and we look forward to continued expansion of award-winning SYNKROS technology across broader international markets.

As we approach the new year, are there any strategic insights or plans you can share regarding Konami's trajectory in 2024?

Konami is committed to deepening connections with customers in 2024, through the biggest game library yet for our DIMENSION line of cabinets; dozens of recognizable iGaming themes; and the industry’s leading reliable casino management system, backed by a highly robust marketing suite.

Are there exciting launches, projects, or initiatives on the horizon that you'd like to provide a glimpse into for our audience?

One key initiative is the expansion of Konami’s iGaming offering in Latin America. As more markets open to online gaming, Konami is ready to deliver its player-favorite games to online real-money sites with hits like China Shores, Quick Strike, Solstice Celebration, Chili Chili Fire, and many more. For online operators that also have online gaming sites, this can open the door for omnichannel strategies to power more business across more player touchpoints. 

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the gaming industry, how do you foresee new technologies, especially AI, playing a pivotal role in shaping Konami's products and services in the coming year?

Konami has a good amount of experience in AI through our SYNKROS casino management system. One emerging tool where our SYNKROS team is leveraging AI is through our award-winning SYNK Vision facial recognition technology. It uses state-of-the-art AI algorithms to identify and address potential harmful behaviors on the gaming floor by tracking both known and anonymous players, which in turn enhances player safety and well-being by alerting staff to signs of distress.

SYNK Vision also facilitates the next generation of cardless login convenience by associating players to their loyalty account anytime they sit down at a gaming device, without the need for a traditional magstripe player card.

Beyond AI, are there other technological trends that you believe will significantly influence the gaming industry, and how is Konami positioning itself to embrace these changes?

Across nearly every industry, we are seeing the desire for consumers to engage with brands both online and through traditional brick-and-mortar locations. Konami helps today’s casinos achieve this through our owned Remote Gaming Server (RGS), which integrates with popular Internet Gaming Servers (IGS) to deliver top Konami slot games to online players.

When used in conjunction with traditional land-based Konami slots, the online Konami slots provide an omni-channel delivery of the games players already recognize and enjoy. We hope to work with more of our customers to deliver this omnichannel strategy in the new year.

Looking back at 2023, were there any particular markets or verticals that surprised Konami in terms of their development or reception?

In addition to Class III slots, Konami is investing in expanding slot sectors including historical horse racing (HHR), VLT, and Class II, to make way for more popular games to reach more players.

During 2023, HHR and VLT achieved positive market growth, with good reception from players. Class II is still undergoing market tests, but we are likewise optimistic for a similar trajectory.

Considering the evolving global landscape, are there specific markets where Konami anticipates gaining momentum in the upcoming year?

Several of the international markets we serve are still working to build back from the pandemic-related closures. So it is reasonable to say that nearly all international markets are positioned to grow, as operators work to bring greater investment to the latest technology and new entertainment.

In the context of market dynamics, are there any strategic shifts or adjustments Konami plans to make to capitalize on emerging opportunities in 2024?

One area we are focused on is increasing setup and customization options for operators on our games product. More customers are asking for more options for the games to suit their needs and players. Our development team has listened to this feedback. And we will continue to see more games in 2024 created with more customizable setup options.

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