Aruze Gaming, one of the slot manufacturers that started the trend of bigger illuminated boxes – or ‘toppers’ – above its machines to make them stand out on casino floors, hopes to launch new game titles in its Innovator series of stepper games in Macau early next year.
The Innovator series is an updated version of traditional reel-spinning slot machines that have been popular in Las Vegas and beyond for decades. In this case the product line has oversize reels backed by coloured LED lighting as well as variable reel speeds.
The company is held by Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Okada, who first made his fortune from pachinko machine manufacturing via his Universal Entertainment Corp business. Mr Okada is also developing a US$2 billion casino resort in the Philippines called Manila Bay Resorts which is projected to open in late 2015.
Aruze showed the updated Innovator slot product at the Aruze Gaming America Inc stand at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2014 in Las Vegas.
The Innovator Deluxe offer includes games called Hot Hearts and Crazy Stars.
“We’ve added more spice to the game, with a bigger top box and more features,” Albert Yu (pictured), assistant general manager for Aruze Gaming Macau Ltd, told GGRAsia during the event.
“The Innovator games are very popular in Macau,” he added.
“We hope to have these new games – that we are showing here – in Macau early next year.”
Mr Yu said the company’s focus was on creating game themes in-house rather than licensing themes from films and television in the manner of some of its competitors.
“We try not to get licensed product. We try to develop everything from our R&D [research and development] team. So you don’t see movie themes from us. A lot of [casino] operators appreciate that, because it’s authentic – it’s genuine.
“Around 90 to 95 percent of our R&D is done in Japan,” he added.
“The R&D processes for slots and pachinko are separate, because they are separate businesses. But with the stepper [slot] product we can link a lot of things [to the pachinko components], including the [game] motor, the sound and the music. Pachinko and pachislot [another form of pachinko] has a lot of sounds and lights as part of the game,” explained Mr Yu.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau