(Exclusive interview).- ICE 2019 is only a few weeks away, and Steve Walther, Senior Director, Marketing & Product Management at Konami Gaming Inc, talked with Focus Gaming News about the show.
The upcoming edition of ICE Totally Gaming is just around the corner, as it will take place on February 5-7 at ExCel London. The event, which is the biggest of its kind in the industry, will feature the presence of the biggest companies of the world. Naturally, Konami will be part of the exhibitors, once again becoming one of the highlights of the show. Steve Walther, Senior Director, Marketing & Product Management at Konami Gaming Inc, talked with Focus Gaming News about the company’s plans for this year’s event and gave us a preview of its booth.
The company has set its foot in Latin America in recent years, and with the opening of new markets in the region it seems like the perfect opportunity for Konami to reach the next level. Are you hoping to further develop that part of your business during 2019?
Konami is encouraged by recent momentum across Latin America. When the Podium family was introduced abroad, it played a key role in Konami’s international expansion, and now the Concerto collection has taken that growth to the next level with proven content including Smash Smash Festival, Star Watch, and of course, Concerto SeleXion multi-game. Looking ahead, Konami’s aim is maintaining strong international support by ensuring operators abroad have access to the latest top gaming products, with flexible configuration options to meet unique local needs.
Konami’s curved Concerto Crescent cabinet is quickly gaining an international presence. Its 43-inch HD screen can feature the latest top-performing Strike Zone games, such as Agent: Magnifying Jackpots and Inspector: Sign of the Jackpots. Both are SeleXion multi-game compatible, allowing them to be combined on Crescent with a mix of other game theme options for players to enjoy. Konami’s new Color Bloom series is also arriving to ICE 2019 for the first time. Based on the popularity of Sparkling Roses, Sparkling Roses: Color Bloom and Classy Roses: Color Bloom both feature the popular Multiple Lines 15 Reels mechanic that players enjoy, now with an added symbol-driven linked progressive for even greater excitement.
Konami’s drive has always been centered on research & development to help deliver the best products and performance to casinos worldwide.
Dual-screen Concerto upright and Slant will showcase new progressive jackpot options as well. One of the most exciting new additions to Konami’s Concerto game library is a symbol-driven linked progressive game called Money Galaxy. This year at ICE London, the series features three custom base game themes: Radiant Witch, Dragon’s Return, and Pharaoh’s Power. All themes are unique multi-denom releases—with original math and mechanics—but share the same Money Galaxy progressive feature. Guests at ICE 2019 will also discover SeleXion-compatible linked progressives Magician’s Charm and Power Boost Inferno. Similar to Smash Smash Festival, these jackpot games can combine with a mix of popular Konami base games, including Chili Chili Fire, Dragon’s Law Twin Fever, and Lion Carnival.
Konami has established itself as a referent in the industry. Besides the feedback obtained at events like ICE, what other steps do you take into consideration to keep improving your products?
For as long as we’ve been in business, Konami’s drive has always been centered on research & development to help deliver the best products and performance to casinos worldwide. In addition to close collaborations between R&D teams at our headquarters in the U.S. and Australia, we also have the opportunity to draw elements from the various organizations within KONAMI HOLDINGS CORPORATION. We have access to demonstrated creative technology in amusement and arcade that has endured for decades, with incredible opportunities for application in the casino sector.
Your award-winning SYNKROS has been praised for its capability to optimize the growth and profitability of gaming operations. What’s in store for your casino management system this year? What goals have you set for SYNKROS in 2019?
Konami is always pushing the envelope to bring SYNKROS customers the latest technology. In addition to the expansion of industry-leading tools like Konami’s SynkConnect cardless player loyalty solution and MarkerTrax electronic slot marker management, this year will mark a milestone version release, available to all users and featuring the latest top technology.
Konami has recently unveiled the Big Screen Opus Machine. What can we expect from your booth at ICE 2019? Are you going to unveil new products at the show?
Konami’s first 4K Ultra HD resolution slots will be premiering at ICE 2019 on big screen Concerto Opus and the all-new KX 43. Concerto Opus features an extra-large 65-inch display, and during ICE will showcase a one-of-a-kind linked progressive game called Treasure Ball, which can with most any KP3+ base game. Inspired by retro coin-operated toy capsule machines, Treasure Ball can be recognized by its large globe of round mystery prize balls, which players can redeem and reveal during the bonus. Konami’s new KX 43 features a 43-inch 4K display, slant top, dual cup holders, dual classic bash buttons, and a standard base width. Among the debut launch series on Konami’s new KX 43 is a 4-level linked progressive called Ba Fang Jin Bao. Available Ba Fang Jin Bao base games, including Abundant Fortune and Fortune Totems, feature a progressive chance anytime a gold ingot symbol lands on the reels.
Konami is always pushing the envelope to bring SYNKROS customers the latest technology.
How big is ICE London when setting your strategy for the first quarter of the year? Does it have immediate effect in your operations?
Every year we look forward to sharing our latest developments with casino professionals from around the world during ICE London. It helps set the tone for the new year and provides insight to the key needs, concerns, and considerations of our customers abroad. This in turn helps inform business decisions and strategic planning, so we can ensure our game developments are in accord with market shifts—whether observed or anticipated.