ondon is the key show for Novomatic every year, and in 2009 the company showcased a wide range of developments. Which is your evaluation of the company's presentation in IGE 2009?
As always, what is most important is the reaction of our customers and business partners. Judged by that criteria the reaction to both our new slot games and most particularly to the vastly enhanced game functionality made possible by the launch in London of our Novo Unity II multiplayer platform was nothing short of sensational.
Which was the product that generated more interest among visitors and potential clients?
For sure, Novo Unity II was the technology ‘hit’ of the show. The original Novo Unity platform set a new standard for multiplayer game functionality but now the release of Novo Unity II has clearly demonstrated that the best can indeed be made better. What Novomatic’s development engineers have created, by making it possible to link any number of the various Novomatic multiplayer games and for the player to have the ability to choose (and swap between) alternative game themes, is the ultimate gaming platform, absolutely a turnkey solution for any gaming floor. Making multiplayer gaming ‘player selectable’ is an enormous technology advance that will bring a much enhanced gaming experience to casino guests around the world.
Among new releases, which is the one that generates more expectations to you due to its potential in the future?
Again, Novo Unity II is the product that produces greater expectations than any other but we must also mention our new innovations in slot gaming, particularly our new 40 lines game Buffalo Thunder which opens up many exciting possibilities for future product development streams.
How did you see the show compared to previous editions?
It is impossible ever to judge ICE without making reference to its main competitor, G2E in Las Vegas. In this regard something extremely important could be seen this year in London. It can be observed that London is now making a more genuine claim than ever before to be the most significant international gaming show on earth. This is based on the downturn in economic fortunes of the domestic USA market and the significant difficulties that are being faced, thanks to the credit crisis, by US companies involved in overseas development. Through the AGA (American Gaming Association) operators play a greater role in G2E than is the case at ICE, which is a show largely dominated by manufacturing companies. This, combined with the traditional strength of ICE in bringing together a wide range of nation interests under one roof, suggests that the balance of power has shifted in favour of the London event.
Which is the balance you can make of recent ended 2008?
For Novomatic it can be said that, without question, this was another record year. Our Group’s turnover increased dramatically, to 2.5 billion Euros and we now employ, worldwide, some 14,000 staff and during the past year manufactured over 100,000 gaming machines: a statistic that unquestionably places Novomatic as the largest gaming equipment manufacturer in Europe and in the very top echelon of manufacturers, worldwide. In operational terms, also, 2008 brought many notable highlights. Worldwide, Novomatic maintained its ethos of duality between manufacturing and operations and now operate and manage more than 800 casinos, electronic casinos, bingo halls, route operations and sports betting outlets; encompassing more than 105,000 electronic gaming machines and video lottery terminals throughout Europe, Southern Africa and Latin America.
Which are the main goals of the company for 2009?
Novomatic will continue with its previously announced focus of expanding further into Asian and South American markets. Much work was done in both regions during 2008 and this is expected to produce significant commercial results during this year.
It seems impossible not to mention the international economic crisis. How does Novomatic plan to face it?
Through the business philosophy created by our President, Professor Johann F Graf, and implemented by our Board Novomatic is not as directly affected by the current vagaries of the stock market as are many other international gaming companies. Our core strength derives from the policy of having a duality of interests split between manufacturing and sales and our own operations. It is obvious, of course, that economic markets globally are facing a period of downturn but such circumstances also create opportunities for those willing to recognize them and those bold enough to act accordingly.
Novomatic’s strategy, created and refined over the past decade, is an anticyclic investment plan that features financial strength and the continual creation of new technologies in order to create the best possible climate for business expansion; even in challenging global financial circumstances.
The company is very strong in Latin America. Which is the strategy for this year and how important is that market for Novomatic?
As previously stated, Latin America is a key market sector for Novomatic, once again, following our philosophy of duality between manufacturing and operational activities. It is intended to create several new opportunities for growth in the coming year and moves are being undertaken to widen and enhance the scope of our operational activities across several different countries in the region. We will enhance our exhibition presence also, exhibiting at FADJA in Colombia for the first time, and continue our careful evaluation of market opportunities in Mexico also.