ow do you evaluate WMS’s participation in ICE?
I’m very pleased with the reaction to our newest products that were on display at ICE. Over a little more than a decade, WMS has built its floor share in casinos around the globe, successfully leveraging our sixty-year history of creating innovative, interactive entertainment products. Today, there are more WMS products on international casino floors than at any other time, and as such, ICE is more important to our international business each year.
How did operators respond to the firm’s portfolio of new products and innovations?
There were many highlights for WMS. There was great interest in the business-to-business capabilities of our Jackpot Party.com online casino and continued attention in our portal applications like Ultra Hit Progressive (UHP); our WAGE-NET networked gaming system featuring Player’s Life Web Services – our award-winning cloud-based application – and Remote Configuration and Download (“RCD”) functionality. In fact, WMS' first Networked Gaming Portal application family, the Ultra Hit Progressive (UHP) series, and RCD are in operation in Europe, Asia and Latin America and offer our customers increased floor flexibility through the availability of secondary integrated bonus applications that can be paired with WMS base game themes.
Importantly, we were also able to bring feedback from last year’s show, our conversations over the last year and our market research to bear in the new products we had available this year. Our product line-up at ICE 2012 reflected a stronger focus on addressing local-market preferences. In addition to our networked gaming and online casino demonstrations, we introduced many new games featuring differentiated game play mechanics and more diverse math models. These products are aimed at addressing our customers’ near-term needs as well as keeping them on an evolutionary path that will engage current players and attract new players to their casinos.
What importance did cloud based management software and applications have at this 2012 edition of the show? What is the potential of the cloud?
Certainly, there was interest in the cloud this year. Our focus is to use technology to further the game content we bring to the casino floor. Our increasingly popular Player’s Life Web Services features award-winning cloud-based applications. We introduced new games, including Super Team, at ICE featuring this application which, to date, has more than 800,000 unique global login users.
It is not just the WMS cloud-based solutions that are capturing the attention of our customers. This year we showed the commercial version of our WAGE-NET networked gaming system featuring RCD functionality. Designed from the ground-up, our WAGE-NET applications leverage computer industry and GSA standards-based architecture to enable cross-vendor interoperability. These solutions provide customers with the freedom of choice and flexibility to utilize systems and applications best suited to their own needs. As a result, many of our international customers in Europe, Asia and Latin America are embracing the power of our WAGE-NET solutions as they offer significant operational efficiencies and can help deliver a significant return on investment along with an unmatched gaming experience for their casino guest.
What was the business climate that you could perceive in Earls Court halls?
The ICE show draws higher levels of interest and engagement from global casino operators every year; therefore, it is more impactful for WMS and our peers. When you consider how rapidly international casino markets are maturing and with that, the new opportunities – including the Italy VLT market and expansion in Greece – it is easy to see why ICE is such an important event each year. For WMS, this year’s show was tremendous. Our booth was very active, and customers were engaged more than ever before. The WMS felt there was a higher level of optimism for the near-term than we have heard in recent years.
What was the feedback that you received on behalf of the operators that visited your stand?
As I noted, we are very pleased with the customer reaction and feedback to the more than 80 games we had on display this year. I think our customers understand and appreciate our commitment to address their specific market concerns and know that we are focused on creating new, dynamic gaming experiences that engage current players and attract new ones, while enhancing loyalty and driving performance at their casinos.
What are the next shows that you will attend to as exhibitors?
We will have a big presence at the April FADJA 2012 in Colombia and G2E Asia in May; we will also participate at 2012 ELA in Mexico.
What do you expect for the next ICE in ExCel?
We are excited about the move to ExCel. There have been huge improvements made to the facility, it’s close to the London airport, public transportation; and carries the legacy of international events such as the Olympics. Clarion Events always does a superb job on event promotion and management. In our opinion, Excel is the catalyst for growing ICE and its international audience, and we look forward to 2013.