The second day of G2E Asia 2015 has just wrapped up in the Venetian Macau, one of the largest events of the year dedicated to the Asian gambling industry and beyond.
Today’s turnout was similar to day one, with a bustling expo floor and conference hall, tonight with a promise of numerous networking events and gatherings at the Venetian’s hotspots, followed by Club Cubic for the diehards.
This year we’ve noticed a strong presence of the American Gaming Association at G2E Asia, co-organizers of the event with Reed Exhibitions. Geoff Freeman, President of the AGA, delivered over twenty interviews just today and has been in high demand since his arrival.
Freeman told CalvinAyre.com he is delighted with the growth of G2E Asia and confirmed the AGA is also sharing their knowledge with developing jurisdictions in Asia such as Japan, where he was prior to his arrival in Macau, in fact. Freeman is not alarmed by the revenue decline in Macau and is confident things will start picking up again – the gambling industry often experiences ebbs and flows, he said.
Over on the expo floor, we had a chat with Mathias Larsson, Founder of xingaming.com and expert on the online slots market in Asia. Larsson said online slots are the hottest topic in Asia gaming at the moment and confirmed the opportunity for growth in this area is simply enormous.
The key to success with online slots in Asia is to build trust with the customer as Asians are used to live dealer software where they can literally watch the outcome. However, if the slots are custom-built to identify with each individual market in Asia, such as using familiar sounds, graphics, icons, etc, customers will trust the product and the revenue opportunities are endless, he said.
Larsson also emphasized the important of perfecting a mobile product and ensuring the product will work well and load quickly across all platforms and networks. Asians are huge into mobile, using such devices constantly has become a way of life and its essential to reach them via these devices, he said.
Also on the expo floor we literally stumbled across a scene at the Asia Gaming booth, dozens of men eager awaiting the arrival of Akiho Yoshizawa, a famous Japanese porn star. As soon as Ms. Yoshizawa arrived the mobile phones came out and she was showered with photos, videos and admiration from her many, many fans.
The star was on-site to promote Asia Gaming’s “Six Plus Hold’em”, a game allowing customers to play a unique version of poker in a 3D atmosphere.
Other products on display that caught our attention included Topgame’s Virtual Reality offering, an experience available to G2E Asia delegates for trying out, but soon-to-be released into the greater gambling marketplace.
Over at the brand new “Macau International Clubbing Show” within the expo hall we checked out the Alpha Sphere, an eye-catching electronic musical instrument designed to boost the expression of electronic musicians.
This afternoon’s conference included a “Supply Side Economics: How Games Drive Asian Markets” session featuring CEO panellists Gavin Isaacs of Scientific Games, Walter Bugno of IGT, Jamie O’dell of Aristocrat and moderated by Andrew Zarnett, Managing Director of Deutsche Bank Securities.
It was clear the panellists are familiar with each other due to the friendly banter on stage and their streamlined views on the concept of engagement, namely how essential it is today for continued success in the gambling industry.
“We don’t look at the concept of young or old, we look at the concept of entertainment. We want engagement value beyond the simple tapping of the button”, said Bugno. He confirmed a lot of IGT’s efforts these days are going towards further engagement of customers, something echoed by his two peers on stage.
O’dell agreed and added the younger generation are already used to multitasking, they are watching TV, Facebooking and Skyping at the same time, they are social in everything they do, something to keep in mind when developing new games.
Social gaming was another area covered and Isaacs explained his organization uses social gaming as a “test bed” for games they are thinking of implementing on the casino floor. His team can bring out a new game every two weeks in the social gaming market, its a platform on which they can quickly innovate, unlike the land based side of the business.
“Social slots are a good way to test games”, Isaacs said. “We must look at ways to entertain different customers in different ways. I think social is a great way to start. Our goal is to start things in social and take them back to the land based”.