hat are your expectations and objectives for G2E Asia?
Aristocrat is the leading supplier of games in the Asia Pacific region, and we are absolutely committed to continuous innovation to maintain our market-leading position in Macau. It’s an increasingly competitive market and there’s no room for complacency. Better leveraging technology to add value to operators and players is one critical element in our approach.
So as far as G2E Asia is concerned, the show and the Macau market in general provide Aristocrat an exciting platform for us to showcase our products. Our products have performed well in the greater Asia market and in Macau to date and this market is an important growth opportunity for us. We have been very deliberate in working closely with local operators to ensure our games appeal to local tastes and are tailored to suit this market. Visitors to our stand at G2E Asia will find the results of the continuous innovation and improvements we have made to help us maintain our market-leading position.
Will the firm launch new products focused on the Asian market? Which are their main features?
In our stand number 201, Aristocrat will show an amazing collection of Asian-themed games, both standalone and link products in our new Widescreen Viridian Cabinet. New titles include 100 Dragons,Dragon Empire, Dragon Emperor, Peeking Duck, Tiger Garden, Choy Sun Doa and Fortune Fantasy.
Aristocrat has been producing winning Asian-themed products, and the readers of Inside Asian Gaming recently voted Aristocrat’s 50 Dragons the “Best Stand Alone Slot for 2011” and FA FAFA as the “Best Progressive Slot in 2011.”
We will also reveal four exciting new game categories: Mega Pay, Remix, Win Your Way and Drag ‘N’ Drop Wild. Aristocrat will also be showing fun new linked games, including Yellow Dragon, a new Hyperlink game; a new dedicated Asian Xtreme Mystery Dragon Riches; and a Bonus Bet feature found only on the new Cashman Fever with the entertainment based games Top Croc and Amazon.
Powered by the GEN7 platform, all new games feature on the VIRIDIAN WS that provides players with 24 per cent more graphics area, high resolution graphics, enhanced stereo sound and is an example of how Aristocrat is leveraging the latest technology to deliver a more dynamic player experience.
Aristocrat will also unveil a wealth of innovations at G2E Asia, showcasing new Nteractiv LCD programmable button technology, which will be utilised with the company’s future product range and Wealth Capital Bonanza, Aristocrat’s first new community and tournament game. Asian themed games also get a new and innovative spin with Aristocrat’s exclusive Xtreme Mystery and the newest product in the category, Dragon Riches.
Which trends do you expect to see this year at the show?
I won’t speak for other exhibitors, but visitors to Aristocrat’s stand can expect to see a wealth of products and technologies that were developed specifically for the Asia Pacific region, based on important feedback from operators and players.
Each year the products being offered to the Casinos and Asian players at the G2E raise the bar with the Graphic Quality, Cabinets and Button technology, Enhanced link offerings and entertainment style games, so I expect to see more continuation of development in these areas.
How important is Macau's market for your company?
Aristocrat has long considered Macau to be an important growth opportunity. We already had a foothold in Asia (outside Japan) given our EGM footprint in the Philippines, Singapore’s slot clubs and the Genting Highlands facility in Malaysia. We were confident that we could build on this and create a real presence in Macau if we worked with experienced local operators and developed a compelling game portfolio that suited local player tastes.
Aristocrat has grown our market share in Macau to over 50 per cent nearly 60%. Our product occupies the majority of floor space in the major casinos and our share is much higher in the well established gaming floors. We have been very fortunate being an Australian based company coming to this marketplace. People identify with the Australian culture, we are very well accepted by the Asian people. There is no other market in the world like Macau and we intend to focus on developing dedicated products for this region.
Macau is currently considered the leading international gaming market surpassing Las Vegas. Do you think that it is a market with options to keep on growing?
I think there is a lot of growth potential in the area of slots because the market has seen an adoption to slot play. Many visitors to Macau come across from China for the first time and find slots quite attractive, entertaining and interactive and they get some time on those machines- it is not often a quick win or a quick loss like table games can be. What we have seen over the years is a growing interest in slot play as well as table play. For example, when we first came to Macau, slots were the second to baccarat and to table games, they were less than one percent of our total revenue and now it runs at six to seven percent of the total volume. So putting those figures into perspective, it is clear there is room for growth.
As operators from different Asian countries visit G2E in Macau, which is your strategy for the Asian market in general?
We are very fortunate in that we are very close to the Asian Pacific ring being an Australian based organisation. Basically all the other competitors bring their products from overseas, from America and other jurisdictions. Our competitors operate in a different environment and produce high entertainment, not high reward, and Operators in Macau like to have both. We have a long way to go to be the best in this marketplace. We are in a reasonably solid position, but if our customers don't make more money off of our games than they do off our competitors they are not going to buy. So our challenge is to continue to build net win per day. We are very fortunate we have a good footprint here but we can’t be too complacent about that.
Additionally, we will continue to focus on the various regions. What we deliver to Singapore and what we deliver to Malaysia and Philippines and Macau are all closely related, but tailored to meet the individual market. You have got to have the right product strategy that complements the regional strategies. We are very conscious of the need to appeal to local player tastes and meet the needs of local operators in the market. Whether we’re talking about Aristocrat’s business in Macau, or Japan, this is a critical element in our turnaround strategy and will be integral to our success in the future.
We don’t claim to have perfected this – there is always room to improve. However, we will continue to build our dialogue with operators, our understanding of the market and our ability to absorb these insights and turn them into market-leading products. We often bring games designers and engineers to Macau, including a number of employees with Chinese cultural and language skills. We strive to ensure all parts of the business, including the critical product development process, is as informed and engaged as possible around the needs of this market.