As innovation was a huge focus of this year’s G2E Vegas, AGS was showcasing all of its new products to prove their moving forward on all fronts. David Lopez, CEO and President of the company, joined our Becky Liggero Fontana to discuss the evolution of their gaming offerings, and what aspect he thinks is most important for game developers today.
While much of the focus has been on slot game innovation, Lopez noted that there is another category of product that is seeing new features. “On table tames, we probably have just a new version of bonus spin, we’ve got our stacks progressive,” he said. “In the table game space, we’re really trying to bring what we see in the slot floor into the pit, where historically there hasn’t been that kind of excitement. It’s now you can win multi-level progressives, you can spin a wheel, win various prizes. Sometimes they’re not cash prizes, they can be events, sort of catering to a younger generation too. So if we set up a cash prize, it could be watches, it could be a nightclub experience, can be a concert, anything of the like.”
But of course, plenty is happening on the slot side, and Lopez was happy to talk about that too. “On the slots side, what we’ve really done, and you’ll see it as an industry trend, what we’ve done is sort of try to fully integrate our assigned packages with our new games and our new cabinets,” he said. “We also have a curved cabinet, 49C. We’ve got a lot of new stuff, we’ve got a rise, Orion Rise, the Orion family is sort of really rounding out for us, but in the end it’s all about content, it’s all about our guides, our developers, and who we hire to make all that stuff happen obviously.”
The developer industry can be crowded at times, and Liggero Fontana asked what AGS does right to stand out. “I want to make jokes and say we don’t have to do anything, right, but we have to do a lot,” he replied. “It really comes down to culture, it comes down to who we hire, it comes down to the environment that we create for our employees. I mean, we have to be nimble. Where something might take one of the larger companies maybe weeks or months to make a decision, if it takes them weeks we have to make it in a day, if it takes them months we need to make it in a week.”
G2E has seen plenty of changes over the years, and Liggero Fontana asked what Lopez thinks the biggest changes have been. “If you were here 10 years ago even, the focus on hardware, just the cabinetry itself wasn’t there,” he responded. “You can credit really, through the years, a number of vendors, but I credit Aristocrat with really changing the game. And now as you go through G2E and you look at all the booths, you can see that every vendor, even the smallest vendors, have really invested invest in hardware, meaning the cabinet itself. Now it’s signage. I think things have changed a lot, but at the same time, if you were here 10 years ago, you’d say everything’s just prettier and bigger. There’s some innovation, right? There’s some great innovation, but it’s still gambling, it’s still entertainment, it’s what we were doing 10 years ago, it’s what we were doing 100 years ago. Things have just changed from the aspect of what it all looks like.”
AGS is also involved in the online space, and Lopez was happy to talk about how that will marry with brick-and-mortar experiences long term “We participate in the online space, we have a real money gaming business that we participate in, very small business right now,” he noted. “Where it is approved in the U.S., it’s been approved in a few states. It’s going to probably be more like Europe, it’s going to sweep across the States. It won’t be all 50 states, obviously, but where there is gaming that’s approved in brick and mortar, you’ll end up seeing online gaming come into play. What does it do, I think it gives our customers, the casino themselves, an opportunity to tie in what they’re doing on property and stay in touch with their player while they’re at home. So if they want to play while they’re at home, they can do that, but they can also give incentives that bring them into the casino, send them on sort of more trip and oriented type vents. What will it do? I don’t think it will hurt our industry, I think it will actually help the industry grow over time.”