hat is Konami showing here in G2E Asia?
We are showing our standard video product, the two level mystery progressive QuickStrike, that operates with all our K2V and Advantage + games, and our Mystical Temple, which is a four-level random progressive system with a unique betting structure. Besides, we are exhibiting the US version of our Advantage 5 product, which is our 5-reel stepper product. This is the first time we are presenting it in the Macau market.
Do you have any games directly targeted for the Asian market?
Yes, we do have specific developments that are Chinese language games for this market, and we’ve got configurations for these games that are specially built for the Macau standard, as far as the fact that what we have in this market is majority video.
However, we are hoping that, given the popularity of the Advantage 5 product in the US and in South America, we might get some attraction in the Macau market with our five-reel products.
What is the position of the company in the Asian region?
We are currently a small company, but with a growing presence in Asia. Due to the expansion of the Asian market, we are focusing our attention here in Asia. While all the gaming markets are different, we learnt some valuable lessons on how to manage our market in South America for the last two years. We need to apply what we have learnt there in the Asian markets.
And what is the strategy of the company to achieve that goal?
Konami is working with distributors in Macau, Singapore and other Asian markets to develop solid relationships with casino operators. After the fact that casino operators witnessed the solid performance of our products in trials or by the colocation of small units, they make bigger orders.
How has the global crisis affected the company?
Well, despite everything that went on with economy last year, Konami had a record year in 2008, and a lot of that had to do with the product strength, both in video and stepper. Our market share also grew in the installation in more than 100%. The only difference is that now expectations are higher, so obviously, we had a great year and now we expect to have a greater year, but I think we are positioned very well for the economy. We are very aggressive on doing a flexible financial model for our customers when appropriate, so if customers are financially constrained, they have different ways to finance products that are comfortable. We are sure our market share will keep on growing during 2009.
How was the show for Konami?
It’s been a good show, with a solid traffic in Konami booth, The most important thing is that we have had meetings with key customers from Macau, Singapore, Korea and Philippines.
What is the next show in which you will be present?
The next international show for us is SAGSE Buenos Aires. We are very much looking forward to it. Domestically, we are going to assist to G2E in November and other two smaller events during the summer. We are also doing what we call a “road show”, it is when we take machines to our customers. We bring the machines to the center of US, in the Chicago area; that’s where we demonstrate our products.
Why do customers have to choose Konami machines?
Ultimately, we think that, our industry puts the focus too much on technology only. Konami is obviously concerned about technological innovations, but we are more focused on entertaining players with our slots. We boost the strength of our Konami Digital Entertainment group in Japan, to bring attractive entertainment concepts to the casinos. It makes Konami a very attractive option for our customers.