lease give us your overall impressions of ICE 2011
David Orrick: We predicted and expected an excellent show in London and I have to say that the overall impression has been extremely positive. The reaction of our visitors and guests to our new products gives us great confidence that we are already on track to make positive progress in 2011
Novomatic decided to change its stand this year for ICE 2011. Tell me about it…
David Orrick: We traditionally create a trade show stand to be used for three years. This was the year that a redesign was scheduled and we went for a new look. Our designers gave the booth a very ‘space age’ feel and we have been extremely pleased with the result. The overall comment was that it seems bigger but, actually, it is exactly the same dimension as previously. But the positive benefits of the new design and layout have made the stand seem to look bigger. It’s a great environment in which to receive our guests and customers, and also to work in.
The Novomatic booth is always a key meeting point of the show…
DO: Absolutely! The reputation of the Novomatic presence, as traditionally the largest exhibitor here at ICE, is that sooner or later everybody comes by our stand to catch up, meet with colleagues and enjoy our traditional hospitality. We wanted to provide the best environment for that to happen and you could definitely see that we succeeded.
Traditionally, this show is the one Novomatic chooses for the release of its latest developments. What did you decide to show for the first time here in London this year?
Max Lindenberg: As always, ICE is the most important time of the year for us to present new products and innovations. And that’s why we brought a selection of new games for the very well-known and internationally successful Coolfire II platform. We have here 15 new games which have already been integrated into new Super V+ Gaminator multi-game mixes, as well. They are presented in our NOVOSTAR SL cabinets, as well as in the Super-V+ Gaminator.
Also, we have brought along new Mystery Progressive jackpot themes for the show. Two of them run on the system of one of our youngest divisions, Octavian. It is named P-Box, and allows operators to connect up to 264 machines with the WILD NIGHTS jackpot theme and the THUNDERGOD jackpot theme. Another innovation was developed by ATSI - the new and gripping community gaming theme BANKBLASTER.
Now that you mention Octavian, how is the integration of that brand with Novomatic working?
ML: We have to say that the integration of Octavian within the Novomatic group developed very well. We have a strong commitment to support the Octavian brand, and that commitment will continue. There is a clear purpose to move on together.
Novomatic also leads in the SBG field. What are you showing for the server based gaming sector?
ML: Another focus of our product display this year is, of course, server-based gaming. This is why we present here our new redesigned NOVO LINE Novo Unity II with a great range of electronic live games, all interconnected in one big system, so that the player can select which type of game to play: Roulette, Black Jack, Baccarat, Poker, Bingo, Sic-Bo, in different versions: automated, semi-automated or virtual. And now, as a great new feature and a unique combination we can also offer video slot games on the same terminals.
What has been the response from operators? Has the time for server-based gaming arrived?
DO: Certainly! Server-based gaming is the “buzz” of the industry at the moment, and if you ask me to define the reaction from our visitors and our customers, I can do it in one easy word: “Wow!” When we talk about the ‘wow factor’, this product absolutely has it.
ML: Another key product offering in the server-based gaming area are our VLT terminals, with the NOVO LINE VLT System, which is already in operation in the Italian market. We must mention that the Italian market is very important for us and for the whole European industry, because it is a kind of sample market that will clearly be followed by other countries. And, as another great product innovation, we have brought the Novo Line GDS (Games Download System). We are thus able to offer products for the whole range of sever-based gaming applications.
Have all these games been presented here for the first time?
ML: The VLT system was initially presented here at ICE 2010. In fact it is already very well positioned in the Italian market, where we made agreements with nine out of ten Italian concessionaires. We have introduced a wide range of games for these systems as well, offering now a total of 15 new games for server-based gaming applications.
Talking now about Latin America, last year Novomatic opened new facilities in Mexico and Paraguay, and also defined good deals in Argentina. How is the situation of the company there?
DO: The best way to describe it is “rapidly expanding.” We have an excellent team at AGI Argentina. They have been able to secure some very interesting and exciting contacts here in London, which is very encouraging and underlines once again the international nature of ICE as a show. Our development focus into the South American markets continues. We will further expand during the coming year, and we are obviously very excited about that.
Novomatic always has the biggest stand at ICE, which just shows how important the company is for the event. There was a pre-show meeting held with other manufacturers as a sort of continuation of a reunion organized in Las Vegas to discuss the future of ICE. What was the final balance of those meetings?
DO: The purpose of that original meeting was to openly discuss between the interested companies the location, the timing and the organization of what we regard as the most important show of the year: ICE in London.
It is already recorded, but it’s worth mentioning again here our appreciation of the fact that the whole industry, in terms of manufacturers, came together as a result of an initiative in which Novomatic was very heavily involved; together with others. We came together in Las Vegas; we discussed the situation, specifically talked about London and its future, but that conversation also spread out to other trade shows around the world. The conclusion of the meeting in Las Vegas was that the show will stay here, as we know in 2011 and 2012. There are some suggestions that the Earls Court site could be possibly redeveloped, and according to the show’s organization contract with the land owners here, the site owners must give 18 months of notice of any changes. If there were to be any change for 2013, which is after the Olympic Games to be held here in London in 2012, that notice of 18 months would have to be given in June of this year.
So, in June this year we are all together once again in Macau, at G2E Asia, and that is an ideal time to come together for another meeting. If there is any news about the site development, we will know it one and a half years ahead of time, which gives us the possibility to plan for an alternative, if necessary. However, Novomatic believes, and indeed hopes, that for 2013 Earls Court will still be available for the ICE show. If that is to be the case, we will know it for sure in June, and Novomatic will commit to be here, where our customers want us to be, in 2013 and hopefully beyond.